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Art & Design Technology

Please explore the interactive digital tour of our student's artwork exhibition titled 'Tabletops'. This artwork is also proudly displayed in the Apex, Bury St Edmunds, until Sunday 20th November.

APEX Art Exhibition

Art Curriculum

At South Lee, we hold the belief that Art should be accessible to all. Our vision revolves around fostering widespread enjoyment in a nurturing and supportive environment, underpinned by expert guidance. We strive to provide individuals with a platform for their ideas to flourish. From this foundation, we aim to cultivate and refine skills rapidly while instilling a lasting appreciation for Art and Design.


Key Stage 1 (KS1):

In Reception, children spend the year exploring how art can serve as a means to express their feelings, personalities, and interests. They engage in both individual and collaborative efforts to understand the properties of various materials, learning to manipulate them for desired effects. Through this creative experimentation, pupils document their experiences and are encouraged to critically reflect on their outcomes. Each project commences with the introduction of a key artist, facilitating the acquisition of artistic language and basic analytical skills.

In Year 1, pupils embark on a series of small projects centred around the theme of 'Structures.' They explore two- and three-dimensional concepts, considering the characteristics and emotional symbolism of structures ranging from their own front doors to iconic architectural designs. As work becomes increasingly individualised, pupils are encouraged to pursue their own ideas while drawing from personal experiences. This year also introduces the importance of observation in drawing, alongside discussions of key visual elements such as shape and form.

Year 2 projects revolve around 'The Natural World,' starting with the recording of flora and fauna found in the nearby Nowton Park. Pupils employ drawing, painting, and relief work, focusing on the concept of negative space as they explore the shift from a local understanding of nature to a broader appreciation of species from around the world. As their artistic journey continues, students delve deeper into drawing, painting, and sculpture, progressing to the study of landscape painting. They experiment with color mixing, various paint application techniques, and collaging to construct scenes, taking into account composition and perspective.

Key Stage 2 (KS2):

Year 3 serves as a year of 'Experimentation,' where classes not only experiment with materials but also tackle thought-provoking ideas. This might involve transforming micro pocket drawings into macro abstract paintings or exploring alternative viewpoints, such as aerial perspectives. Pupils begin using sketchbooks to record personal visual and written responses to ideas and artists' work. They are encouraged to work more independently and reflectively. Proficiency in handling and understanding materials rapidly develops as students study artists who push the boundaries. Despite the experimentation, the fundamentals of recording from direct observation, including shape, color matching, composition, and space, remain integral to every project.

Year 4 delves into the magic of printmaking while focusing on the various qualities of 'Line' across diverse subject matter. Initially, a natural landscape is distilled into hard, soft, and broken lines as students learn to select appropriate drawing materials to depict different textures in a landscape. This progresses to the creation of textured collagraph plates, from which pupils take prints using an etching press. The theme of 'Line' then shifts towards architectural drawing projects, where urban structures become the subjects, allowing pupils to further develop their drawing and printmaking skills. The analysis of artists' work becomes evident in practical work, and students begin to employ a structured approach to written image analysis, a skill that will continue to develop in the coming years.

'The Effect of Light' is the overarching theme for Year 5, exploring nearly all visual elements. Students tackle structural still lifes, drawing inspiration from Phyllida Barlow's drawings, which require them to study shape, pattern, and line through a series of drawings and monoprints. A sense of place is introduced through Monet's sketches and en plein air paintings, emphasizing color and the use of grounds in painting. This theme highlights atmosphere and realistic representation in students' work, fostering critical thinking and depth of analysis.

In Year 6, pupils explore the themes of 'Looking In' and 'Looking Out.' They begin by examining the lighting conditions created by windows through direct observation and artist connections, culminating in personal paintings that capture scenes meaningful to each individual. The design process emphasizes foreground, middle ground, and background planning, allowing self-evaluation skills to flourish. 'Looking In' focuses on textiles, commencing with the direct observation and deconstruction of a cardboard box. This year grants pupils the opportunity to create highly personal and original artwork as they explore their own ideas related to these themes, enjoying increased independence in project development.

Key Stage 3 (KS3):

All of Year 7's projects are centered on the theme of 'Contrast.' The first project challenges pupils to rethink how they draw, encouraging them to record negative space when observing shapes created by contrasting organic and geometric objects. This work evolves into pattern-making and patterned still-life paintings, akin to arrangements seen in Matisse's work. Mixed media and collage skills are honed, and more complex printmaking techniques, such as etching, are introduced.

In the final year, Year 8 pupils explore the theme of 'Reflections' and what it means to them. They commence with an examination of how personality and identity can be conveyed through self-portraiture. This project delves into sophisticated color theory through the mixing of skin tones, along with painting their own facial features with guidance from master portrait painters. Following this, students design a pattern reflecting their unique selves, which is incorporated into their clothing or the background of their self-portrait. The projects in Year 8 encourage students to contemplate how art can reflect the world around them as they prepare for the transition into Year 9 at a different school.

South Lee takes great pride in offering a Design Technology curriculum that extends and enhances the learning pupils gain in STEM whenever possible. Pupils are introduced to key concepts before receiving a group design task along with a specific design criteria to guide their efforts. During their Thursday afternoon enrichment sessions, pupils will follow a development structure that consists of five age-appropriate steps:

  1. Introduction of Design Brief and Specification; Research and Information Gathering

  2. Design Ideas

  3. Prototype and Problem Solving

  4. Planning

  5. Making and Evaluating

Year 1 & 2 Design Brief:

Design Technology projects for Year 1 & 2 are inspired by a variety of stories that introduce different ideas and challenges. For instance, after exploring the tale of Rapunzel using her hair as a ladder, pupils delve into the concept of weaving fibers together to create fabric. They then create their own fibers from recycled materials and weave them into pieces of fabric using large looms. Design Technology projects for Reception are integrated into their scheduled art lessons, focusing on a specific theme.

Year 3 Design Brief:

Following the creation of an Herbarium that samples flowering plants from around the school campus, pupils are tasked with designing and constructing a structure that promotes wildlife biodiversity within the school environment. Whenever possible, they are encouraged to utilise materials sourced locally or found on-site.

Year 4 Design Brief:

After crafting a model chair with a small cushion in STEM, pupils are challenged to design and screen print a pattern for a life-sized cushion that demonstrates their grasp of technical drawing and typography. Their design should incorporate two different colours and include the initials of their favourite teddy or toy for which the chair was designed.

Year 5 Design Brief:

Considering the necessity of a 'Make Do and Mend' approach to preserving belongings during World War II and having already created a 'Fab Fix' repair kit, students are tasked with designing and creating a work overall that will protect their clothes from wear and tear. The overall must feature a fastening, a pocket for keeping their tool kit handy, and, of course, be durable.

Year 6 Design Brief:

Pupils are presented with a scenario: "You have survived a plane crash; what would be the first three things you would do, and how would you do them?" They are then challenged to design and build a prototype for a shelter that would provide sufficient protection for them. They must consider available materials and ensure the structure's strength, incorporating at least one feature that uses a pulley.

Year 7 Design Brief:

After contemplating the life cycle of a T-shirt and recognising the environmental impact of disposable textiles contributing to growing landfill issues, pupils are tasked with selecting a pre-loved textiles item and repurposing it for a different use. They are encouraged to recycle as much of the garment as possible and use minimal new materials.

Year 8 Design Brief:

The LEGO® Braille Bricks concept serves as an inspiration, offering a play-based approach to teach braille to children who are blind or visually impaired. Students are challenged to design a block-based educational tool for blind or visually impaired children that incorporates both braille and printed letters. The goal is to enable all children to play and learn together on equal terms.

Design Technology Curriculum

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