Alton School

Art

The Art Department is a lively and creative place to be. At Key Stage Three, students have the opportunity to learn skills in a broad range of 2D and 3D media. Projects vary in length and theme, allowing everyone to experience a variety of different ways of working. Drawing, painting, print and sculpture are introduced and are supported by the work of artists and designers in each field to enrich students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject.

At GCSE level students are able to choose to study Art and Design, Photography, or Textiles. These different disciplines are taught as broad-based specialisms and there is often crossover which can lead to exciting results.

In Art and Design our staff are committed to helping students to develop their skills and understanding in a range of working practices including drawing, painting, print, mixed media, research and critical thinking. Students are encouraged to use photography to support their work and to make imagery which relates to their own experience and surroundings. The size of teaching groups is such that projects can be honed to suit the individual strengths and interests and the formal elements of the creative process are delivered through a stimulating curriculum.

In Photography, students are able to experiment with traditional photographic techniques and processes as well as more modern digital and creative manipulation of imagery. The department is well equipped with a variety of cameras and accessories available to students, a small darkroom, and Photoshop packages in the media suite. Students can use conventional cameras or phone cameras to gather imagery and will explore a variety of different ways to develop these images into exciting and personal responses to the range of stimuli they are given. Staff have the expertise and knowledge to guide students as they manipulate their photographs on computers or with physical processes. There are opportunities to use the art equipment and materials to produce unique pieces of work.  Some students even venture into the field of textiles, stitching into their photos or printing them onto fabrics and other unusual surfaces!

In Textiles, there are many ways to develop ideas through creative experimentation. Sewing machines, weaving, batik, digital print, dyeing and print are fairly conventional, but in addition to some of these areas of production, students use more unexpected materials and processes. Paper and plastics, metals and Plaster of Paris all feature in the department’s resources and students explore many ways to work with these using modern and traditional techniques to produce decorative work, installations, garments and accessories. It is not unusual to see our textiles students using workshop tools or paint-brushes! Projects are designed to stretch and inform the minds of students and to encourage broad ranging responses.

At A Level we offer Art and Design, Photography, Textiles and History of Art. The department is able to support pupils working in 2D and 3D, crossing disciplines or choosing a more pure approach to their chosen specialism. Projects are explored in depth, developing practical skills, improving technique, knowledge and understanding of the subject, as well as teaching research and critical thinking at a higher level.  In History of Art the syllabus focuses on gaining a sound understanding of the themes and movements in painting, sculpture and architecture during the first year of study, before specialising on two historical periods in the second.