CCHSG understands the importance of delivering a broad and balanced curriculum and has an established and highly successful Art and Design department supported by specialist Art and Design teachers and local visiting artists. As well as the importance of cultivating a love of the arts, there is a growing body of educational research to highlight the wider benefits of studying this subject which the department embraces and uses to enrich the curriculum offer. We aim to provide a range of opportunities for students to express and share their individual creativity and artistic style, whilst learning about and making links with different types of visual art and design, and a range of artists and designers. Students also learn about the important cultural and economic role that art and design plays in our society. Engaging directly with the visual arts through regular visits to art galleries, participation in artist workshops and other cultural activities, helps to generate a genuine engagement with, and understanding of, the subject. Students are encouraged to work experimentally, take calculated risks, foster their creativity, develop a thirst for knowledge and refine their practical skills.

The development of cultural capital that engagement with visual arts related activities fosters, supports personal growth and wellbeing and builds social relationships which can also improve students’ attainment and social mobility.

  • Year 7 & 8 – the aim of our Art and Design curriculum is to develop proficiency in the language of art, through mastering key skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, colour theory and three dimensional work, alongside new creative and digital technologies which are being actively used to enhance the creative process. We aim to provide a clear and comprehensive scheme of work that builds on and shows progression in, development of core skills within the subject and explores how these skills transfer beyond the classroom.
  • Year 9 to 11 – Art and Design, and the recently introduced Graphics, are popular subjects at GCSE. We teach a personalised skills-based curriculum, with an intellectual approach to the development of creative ideas.  This allows our students to express their individual creativity as well as providing them with opportunities to practise and develop mastery in the key processes of producing art: drawing, painting, printing, textiles, digital media and sculpture. This work is supported through the study of key artists and art  movements.  Students develop knowledge and understanding of a broad range of artwork and the context in which it was produced. Students are encouraged to be artists in their own right and think deeply about their work and how their practice can have a positive impact on the world around them.  The contribution of Art and Design to the enrichment of our Year 9 blended curriculum ensures there are many different opportunities for further progression and experience in the visual arts for all students.
  • Year 12 to 13 – at A Level an individual and independent approach is taken by students, who follow a bespoke personalised learning plan, guided by staff. Students are actively encouraged to engage directly and regularly with the work of other creative practitioners, craftspeople, artists and designers.

We believe that art has enormous power to contribute to a student’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement and self-reflection. This is why the department offers all students within the school regardless of age or ability the opportunity to participate in our lunchtime ‘Open Workshops’.

Subject mastery extension (SME) workshops are also run weekly at lunchtime and students are invited to attend.  Opportunities are also available for students to continue practical work outside timetabled lessons, at lunchtime and after school.  We have also introduced a costume-making workshop which is being led by the Mercury Theatre.

Our talented and proactive Sixth Form Art Ambassadors run a very successful and popular Year 7 art club and we also have a student-led fashion design club. The Art and Design teachers offer specialist workshops to our examination groups including a creative drawing workshop for all students opting to take the subject at GCSE and an optional Life Drawing course for our A Level Art students.

High quality displays in the department and around the school building, and annual exhibitions allow us to celebrate the success and creativity of our students. Students also have a long tradition of exhibiting their work outside the school, including venues such as Firstsite, Colchester, The Mall Galleries, London and Essex Showcase for the Arts. Competitions are also a regular feature of the Department in order to encourage students to extend and explore their creative skills beyond the curriculum.

The Department understands the importance of our students viewing the work of other artists first hand and we run regular trips to art galleries, including First Site, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Visits aim to enhance and support the thematic work being covered in the lessons. In addition, the opportunity to see an artist at work through a residential visit or a visiting artist workshop forms an important part of the courses offered.

The Art department is housed in a new teaching block and consists of two purpose built studios that contain a range of specialist facilities and equipment. This includes a kiln, printing presses, digital stencil cutters and a wide variety of materials and resources.

Many students are preparing for a career within the Arts and progress on to prestigious Art Colleges and Foundation Courses but many others combine Art with A Levels in subjects such as English Literature, Humanities or even Sciences. Art students can pursue courses and careers in a wide range of areas such as advertising, architecture, art history, animation, interior design, product design, fashion design, public art, jewellery making, graphic design, games design, textile design and photography.  The creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK economy.  Art A Level can provide a gateway into a structured commercial career. The traditional progression route is to the one-year Foundation Course in Art and Design, but many of our students are accepted at leading universities directly on to BA Degree Courses.