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At St. James’ we believe that art is a vital part of children’s education that will develop their critical abilities, as well as an understanding of their own and others’ cultural heritages through the study of a diverse range of artists. Children are provided with a wide variety of materials and are taught a range of different techniques. They are taught to be aware of the 7 different elements of art in two-dimensional and three-dimensional form. They learn about the work of different artists, past and present and from a variety of different cultures.


Our intent is to deliver the National Curriculum in an engaging, exciting way. We understand that the purpose of Art education is to give pupils the skills, concepts and knowledge necessary for them to express their responses to ideas and experiences in a visual or tactile form. We believe strongly that an engaging and ambitious art curriculum can help to raise cultural capital and help children to develop an appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts that will enrich their lives. 

Art teaching at St James' instils an appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts.  Art  stimulates imagination and creativity; involving children in a range of visual, tactile and sensory experiences, which enable them to communicate what they see, think and feel through the use of the elements of colour, form, line, shape, space, texture and tone. Art promotes careful observation and an appreciation of the world around us. Children explore ideas and meanings through studying the work of artists and designers. Through learning about the roles and functions of art, they can explore the impact it has had on contemporary life and on different periods and cultures. 

The key aims of teaching art in our school are:

  • To engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.
  • As pupils progress through school, they should begin to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art has both reflected and shaped our history, and contributes to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.
  • To produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences.
  • To become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques.
  • To evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design.
  • To know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.


To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in art, we implement a bespoke art curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Art is taught focusing on knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. Children will be given many opportunities to produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences. Skills (drawing, painting, etc) will be taught and developed each year, showing clear progression. These will then be applied when children design their own piece of artwork. They will use knowledge they have learnt from evaluating and analysing creative works using the language of art, craft and design and will study artists to understand their background and influences for their style of art. The Art progression document ensures the curriculum is covered and the skills/knowledge taught is progressive from year group to year group. Our knowledge-based curriculum helps to focus learning and ensures art is taught to be remembered, stored in long-term memory and built on. 

Art in the Early Years

Art is an essential part of learning in the early years at St. James as it is incorporated in everyday learning, e.g. Fine Motor skills as well as through the areas of learning; Physical Development and Expressive Art and Design. The artistic aspects of the children’s work relate to the objectives set out in the early learning goals (ELGs) and the Development Matters age ranges. We ensure that the key foundational knowledge required for our KS1 art curriculum is fed into our Early Years environment and learning activities. 

Art in Key Stage 1

In KS1, the children will begin by mastering the use of essential art equipment, materials and techniques. They will start to learn about the work of a range of significant artists and be able to share their opinions about different pieces of artwork. Children will be introduced to using a sketch book and start using them to record their ideas and observations.

Art in Key Stage 2

In KS2, children will create their own sketchbooks and use them to record their developing grasp of more complex artistic concepts such as texture, form and space. Throughout KS2 children will master using a growing range of art materials and equipment as well as learning about an increasing number of great artists from around the world, past and present.


Within art, we strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by providing investigative and enquiry based learning opportunities. Emphasis is placed on investigative learning opportunities to help children gain a coherent knowledge of understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school.  As children progress through St James’ they will know more and remember more about art, they will also be more confident when expressing themselves in visual form. They will understand artistic concepts and have an understanding of the benefit and influence that art can have over the environment and people around the world. Children will have developed skills such as decision making, inventiveness, creativity and attention to detail as well as developing a sense of intrigue, skills that can be used across the curriculum. We will focus on progression of knowledge and skills and discreet vocabulary progression will also form part of the units of work.

We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

  • Assessing children’s understanding of topic linked vocabulary.
  • Summative assessment of pupil discussions about their learning.
  • Images and videos of the children’s practical learning.
  • Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).
  • Learning walks and observations where pupil’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.
  • Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum.


Please click here to view our Art subject overview.