Art & Design

Art and Design studies focus initially on the importance of observational drawing as an investigative tool and foundation for further study.

In parallel to this approach to drawing, it is also essential that all pupils gain an understanding of 'visual thinking' and acquire a knowledge and understanding of 'visual vocabulary.' All of these aspects are vigorously pursued through both the written and practical work.

Second and Third Form

In the junior school, pupils are introduced to painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and photography, partly through a focus on the work of relevant artists and designers. Pupils assimilate a greater understanding of artistic language through practical studio work and written responses. They are also encouraged to discuss art in class which encourages a more mature insight and greater artistic awareness. Specific course content is formulated by individual teachers, with prep being set fortnightly.


At GCSE, pupils follow the OCR general Art and Design course. Coursework consists of more than one unit, exploring different ideas, various media and the work of relevant artists. Their portfolio must encompass at least two artistic disciplines, from a selection which includes Fine Art and Design. The Controlled Test comprises of a short project, culminating in a ten hour final resolution. Throughout the course, pupils work closely with an art tutor. There are frequent group and individual consultations and tutorials. When the whole unit is complete, it is marked to the full GCSE standard using the published mark scheme and assessment objectives. At the end of the course, an external moderator from the examination board, Edexcel, visits the assessment exhibition.

Sixth Form

In the Sixth Form, up to forty pupils each year take the AS and A2 Level courses (OCR UNENDORSED). Our Upper 6th students achieve excellent results at A Level, with many candidates regularly gaining entry to leading Colleges of Art and Design for Foundation Courses, and direct entry to art related degree courses. Pupils are required to work from direct observation of primary sources, explore the work of relevant artists and to further refine media handling skills gained at GCSE level. Employing numerous choices of media, processes and techniques, they must develop preparatory work into a portfolio of resolved pieces. At AS Level the Controlled Assignment is a short project with a 5-hour examination.

At A2 Level, pupils should have enough experience and judgement to undertake independent creative work, specialising in an area of study which includes Fine Art or Design. Students are also expected to complete a 3,000 word related study. The Controlled Test is a short project with a final 15 hour piece.

At both GCSE and A-level, all practical work is underpinned by contextual study through the form of Log/ Diary to develop to the highest standard, their individual creative talents, and their critical and academic interests in the pursuit of excellence in Art and Design.

Art Activities

Over the last few years the Department has presented a very successful series of Art and Design Master Classes featuring prominent Artists and Designers. These have proved to be excellent catalysts for further study and individual project development.

The department offers activities and extra tuition on some weekday afternoons to encourage and foster a commitment in our pupils to art and to ensure a foundation upon which they may build for the rest of their lives. Life drawing classes are offered regularly as part of portfolio preparation for art school entry. 

University Entry

Each year a number of students proceed to Art Foundation Courses or for direct entry to University degree courses in Fine Art, History of Art, Architecture and Design. The department has an outstanding record of pupils gaining direct entry to prestigious fine-art degree courses, without the need for a foundation course. In the last few years, students have gain entry into some of the most prestigious Art College such as Central St Martin, UCL, Edinburgh College of Art and Glasgow School of Art.

Head of Department - Mr Bing Wang

Clodagh Norton - Part-time teacher of Art

Nicci Beaumont - Part-time teacher of Art, Housemistress of Cairnies