Art & Photography

Contact details:
Name : Mr A Graham
Position : Curriculum Area Leader
Email address :



Art Curriculum Overview

art overview.pdf


Curriculum Intent
Art is a very popular subject at Selby High School where our learners enjoy a rich, varied and exciting curriculum. Our curriculum enables pupils to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding, exploring and experimenting across a range of different media and techniques.  Vibrant, creative and engaging projects allow pupils to explore and develop their own ideas allowing pupils to develop their confidence and ability to work independently. All projects link to Historical and Contemporary Artists, designers and craftspeople supporting pupil’s knowledge and appreciation of art across time. Our projects are designed to allow students to build on skills through a wide range of opportunities and experiences.

We aim to share and celebrate the wide range of possibilities within art, in order that pupils will foster a lifelong appreciation, through which pupils will also recognise the benefits for personal enjoyment and wellbeing which they may draw on in the future.

On completion of their KS3 study pupils are able to progress to qualifications such as GCSE Fine Art or GCSE Art Photography.

We are immensely proud of our thriving, exciting and well equipped department. We continue to celebrate the work of our learners and the commitment that they show as they develop in to confident, independent and imaginative young people.

We strive for excellence in all that we do and work hard to maintain our departmental ethos to ensure that we...

  • create a truly student-centred Art Department;
  • place teaching and learning at its heart;
  • have the highest expectations of our students;
  • celebrate the unique talents of all our students;
  • offer a wide and varied curriculum and opportunities;
  • listen to students’ views
  • ensure our students are safe and secure and have an atmosphere of support and respect;

The department consists of two well qualified, dedicated and enthusiastic full time Art teachers who both practise a variety of artistic techniques in their own time. We are also fortunate to be able to draw on the artistic skills of additional teachers and specialist staff including a dedicated Art Technician.

Mrs Nicola Whattam (Curriculum Area Leader specialising in Fine Art, Art Photography and Graphic Design.)

Mr David Breen (Teacher of Art specialising in 3-D Techniques and Fine Art)


Year 7
We focus initially on the formal elements of art and ensuring that all pupils are able to develop and refine their formal skills, before developing them further across the key stage. Pupils are introduced to theme based work and a wider range of materials and techniques using both 2D and 3D media. Sketchbooks support the development of work and ideas leading to larger studies and final outcomes.

September - December (Sweets and Packaging - The formal Elements of Art ) Pupils explore the areas of Line, tone, shape and form, pattern, texture and colour. Skills across drawing, painting and compositional aspects are a key focus. A wider range of media and media application is introduced.

January – March (Everyday objects – Cubism and Still Life)  Our second project introduces pupils to the work, styles and techniques of Cubism and a range of associated artists. Pupils will continue to develop formal skills whilst exploring their own ideas, creativity and composition in greater detail. Pupils will use a range of media to develop and produce a creative cubist outcome.

April – July ( Cultural Art – Shape, pattern and design) During this project pupils will explore patterns and designs in cultural art. Pupils will also be introduced to 3D materials -card relief and clay. Pupils will respond independently to produce a range of designs which they will select from to create a card and clay relief outcome.

Year 8
In Year 8 we continue to build further on the formal skills but with greater emphasis being placed on challenge and independence, through broader projects and schemes. The sketchbook is a key aspects to support pupil’s depth of research, exploration and ideas leading to well considered and more refined outcomes. Once again we cover both 2D and 3D media and techniques and pupils produce a wider range of independent work. Our projects and the skills and techniques developed prepare students for Art based qualifications.

September - January (Pop Art - Lifestyle ) Gaining a good understanding of Pop Art Style, Artists, media and techniques through initial research and investigation; pupils are then able to apply concepts to their own work exploring Lifestyle and imagery of today. Pupils are encouraged to creatively explore and produce designs inspired by appropriate sources. Pupils will select and develop design ideas using card construction methods and surface graphics to produce a creative 3D outcome.

February – March (Surrealism – Distortion, Drawing and colour)  Historical and contemporary aspects of Surrealism will inspire the development of creative ideas in a number of ways across the final two interlinking projects. The first stage will cover surreal style and techniques and give pupils the opportunity to develop their creative drawing skills exploring distortion. Pupils will select a focused object as their start point and will experiment with a range of effects and techniques leading to a refined colour final outcome.

April - July (Surrealism – Composition and Perspective)  .During this final project pupils will both draw on, and build further on all skills and techniques developed over KS3. Pupils will initially focus on structuring using 1pt and 2pt perspective before being given a brief to explore their own ideas for a creative Surreal room inspired outcome. Pupils will be challenged through research, exploration and development tasks leading to a larger scale mixed media outcome. A range of Artists and work will be used to further support knowledge and understanding.

We offer our students a range of options that all aim to give students a wide range of experiences and work ready skills such as independence, creativity, time management and self evaluation. Our GCSE courses run over three years, with the initial year working as a solid foundation year to support all skill sets and develop confidence across wider media, techniques and assessment criteria in preparation for Coursework.

GCSE Fine Art

Our Fine Art Course is a creative and varied course which gives pupils the opportunity to challenge themselves, their work, ideas and develop and explore in depth. Pupils have the opportunity to work with a wider range of media and techniques as well as working larger scale. Projects and themes allow for greater independent research and the ability to make links with a wide range of sources. Sketchbooks are used to document the creative journey, and are works of art in their own right.

Themes/Projects and skills covered include:
Natural Forms- Drawing and painting skills. -  Lino printing designs and techniques. – 3D Card relief and ceramics
Horror – Refined painting, mixed media, composition and collage. – 3D Card construction, mixed media and recycled materials.
Still Life – Artist focus – range of media and techniques including photography and photoshop.
*Unit 2 – Externally Set Task (Exam)

GCSE Art Photography

Our Art photography course gives pupils the opportunity to explore and develop their creativity through the use of digital technology. Working to the same Assessment Criteria as Fine Art; this course supports the development of a range of formal skills whilst learning and employing key photographic and image manipulation techniques. The same processes of research, exploration and development of work and ideas is followed, which leads to the production of focused final outcomes. Sketchbooks are used to record the creative journey and development of work, ideas, shots and outcomes. Independent study and the taking of own photography is actively encouraged.

Foundation Project – The camera - settings, dials and controls. Exposure triangle, aperture and shutter speed. – Composition Rules and Photoshop.
Location – Photo-joiners and Double/Multiple Exposure. – Urban Photography – Photomontage and Image manipulation.
Light and Movement – Natural and Artificial Lighting – Still Life and studio shots – Light Painting – ‘Capture’ Personal Investigation developing pupils own focused projects.
*Unit 2 – Externally Set Task (Exam)

Clubs / Extra Curricular Activities / Enrichment
Our classrooms are always busy and we are open most lunch times for student who wishes to use our facilities, work on their GCSE coursework or attend one of our KS3 clubs.

For our GCSE students we offer a Session 6 practical support lesson on a Tuesday and a Thursday after school where pupils can gain support and advice with their coursework, or work independently on practical work and outcomes.

For KS3 pupils we offer a lunch club which gives students the opportunity to develop their skills further or experience wider media and techniques including clay, 3D, printing, photography and digital art.

As part of our Y9 Enrichment offer there are numerous creative experiences available to pupils. We aim to give pupils the opportunity to explore a medium or technique they would not normally be able to access by covering more varied and specialist creative media and skills such as: Sculpture techniques with clay and concrete, and Oil Painting with pallet knife. Such projects allow pupils to try something new and immerse themselves within a project enjoying greater creative risks.