Head of Department - Mr N Tomlinson
The main aim of the Art Department at Thorpe House is to provide the best possible Art education for all pupils. The most dynamic and successful schools need a strongly vibrant, innovative and inspirational Art and Design Department.
At Thorpe House, we endeavour to make Art relevant to the needs and interests of the pupils, and constantly strive to provide an invigorating experience for all pupils, promoting differences in ability, gender, and cultural background as enrichment to the community. Pupils experience considerations of an aesthetic nature and develop their creative skills. Art engages the processes of making, composing and inventing and calls for personal, imaginative, and practical responses from the pupils. We provide a professional artist/teacher approach that is relevant and challenges the pupils to engage positively and productively.
The Art Department takes a role in cross-curricular fertilisation, wider school and community issues and the appearance and environment of the school. Art is used academically to underpin intellectual pursuits and also as a much needed expressive outlet. The Art department operates an open door policy and the department’s facilities are used for a wide range of extracurricular activities.
Exhibitions and Displays
We encourage pupils to enter competitions both locally and nationally. Recently a pupil won first prize in a national Christmas card competition. In August a selected number of pupils from every year group won a place to show their Art at the Eden Centre in Wycombe.
Displaying pupils' work is extremely important. We put up changing displays around the school throughout the year and have a large exhibition at the end of the school year to display all the work of GCSE pupils. As well as being an opportunity for parents to see the wonderful work that the pupils produce, it is an inspiring experience for the younger pupils.
Accommodation and Resources
In September 2009 we extended the Art Department and it now consists of a large open-plan studio with a linked Art IT suite. Within the studio we have a resources area, seniors’ area with easels and canvases, paper store and class desk area equipped with smart board, a visualiser and light box. There is also a separate kiln room and some space for ceramics drying.
The computer digital suite contains a mixture of Apple Macs, PCs and peripherals such as cameras linked to a colour laser printer.
Teaching and Learning strategies
In the junior department the teaching of Art is an integrated programme taught by class teachers up to and including year 4. From year 5 - 11 the teaching of Art is carried out by the Art specialist within the main Art studio. Classes are mixed ability groups and teaching is differentiated according to the need. The numbers are limited to a maximum of 16 up to Year 8 and 12 from Year 9 upwards.
From Year 5 through to Year 11 Art is taught through thematic based work. Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics and Printmaking are all experienced in this period. In addition pupils often have opportunities to try out digital media. All the work has a historical/contextual element, pupils are taught how to research and write about artists' and designers' work. Sculpture methods – modelling, carving, constructing – are all encouraged, and the techniques available allow boys the opportunity of developing a very personal approach to their work.
From Year 10 onwards those pupils who choose the subject work towards their GCSE in Art. Assessment is carried out by means of individual reviews, internal/controlled assessment activities and externally set assignments. The internal assessment activities take place in the classroom environment and related to specific outcomes or sketchbook work. These are marked based on criteria from the exam board by the teacher and are moderated externally by Edexcel.
The course is structured in year 10 and 11 to allow pupils to develop skills and ideas. We encourage pupils to visit art galleries and museums and to develop personal interests.
Use of ICT / Technology
The dedicated computer suite has become an integral and fundamental resource to the department. Computers and digital photography are used to facilitate and develop ideas throughout all disciplines. There are two distinct approaches to using this technology: the first is in picture-making, through manipulation and invention. The second is to assist research in the context of Journal and History of Art studies. This is an important aspect of the examination curriculum.
Thorpe House actively encourages pupils to attend trips to galleries and museums on a regular basis as it is important for the balance of the curriculum.
Many of our pupils go on to study Art and Design courses at Sixth Form Colleges and are encouraged to continue their pursuits eventually at Universities and Art Colleges.