Key Stage 3

At Tabor, Key Stage 3 provides a very broad range of creative options and encourages students to become independent creative artists. We believe that to realise the full potential of our students, they need to be introduced to diverse disciplines as soon as possible whether it is basic mark-making on paper, the flexibility of constructing with cardboard, wire or clay, or simply producing pieces of art at a huge and challenging scale. Each year will include a multitude of options, based on selected themes, designed to give each student a clear idea of their own creative strength.

Students experience Art for 1 hour per week during Key Stage 3 and we regularly assess throughout each project, providing feedback to facilitate further development and progress. Challenging observational drawing assessments are carried out at the beginning of each term.

Throughout Key Stage 3 there will be opportunities to visit museums and galleries to see art work first hand, such as The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and The Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire.

Year 7

Year 7 starts with a drawing project, developing an awareness of the formal elements of texture, tone, form, line, shape and composition. Students focus on the use of mark-making to show surface texture and the use of contour lines and tonal shading to describe the 3D form of an object, developing a detailed and realistic observational study of a toy.

The second project focuses on the element of colour in order to understand colour theory, including primary, secondary, complementary and harmonious colours. Painting skills are developed, including painting to music inspired by the artist Wassily Kandinsky. This is then taken into the creation of an abstract relief clay tile.

The third project begins with research into the artists William Morris and Angie Lewin, detailing how they have been inspired by natural forms. The use of pattern, repetition and symmetry is explored further using a variety of printmaking techniques such as monoprinting, before moving on to exploring the ephemeral creations of Andy Goldsworthy and collaborating to create their own sculptural forms.

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Year 8

Year 8 begins with a portrait project, researching Expressionist artists such as Henri Matisse and their exciting use of colour to depict emotion and feeling. Students learn about the proportions of the face and paint their own self-portrait with accurate observation of features which is then creatively developed into an Expressionist lino print.

Following on from portraits, students have the opportunity to study African masks, learning about how they are made and why. They will experiment with media towards developing ideas for an African inspired clay mask, including strong elements of pattern and earthy warm colour, using hand building techniques to skilfully construct the form.

The summer term allows students to focus on British Values and British artists, including Grayson Perry, Damien Hirst, Bridget Riley and Peter Blake. Iconic British imagery will be combined, manipulated and transformed into abstract art inspired by British artists’ work.

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Year 9

To complete KS3, year 9 includes study of the depiction of the human figure. The students will look at artists such as Henry Moore and Alberto Giacometti, experimenting with a range of mixed media techniques, such as wax resist, linking to Moore’s shelter drawings. This will then be developed into impressive 3D outcomes using materials such as wire and clay, extending skills in construction and modelling.

Comparisons will then be made to more contemporary Pop and Street Art figures, including those created by Julian Opie and Banksy, with a focus on taking and editing photographs using editing software. This then leads to the study of a broad range of landscape styles, from urban graffiti to the vivid rural paintings of David Hockney. Students will be expected to show their learning and understanding confidently and independently using a variety of creative pathways.

Towards the end of the year there will be the opportunity to examine a slightly more illustrative approach to outcomes, with students studying the graphic work of illustrators such as Sara Fanelli and Quentin Blake. Responses to this can be made using inks, paints, pencils, pastels and collage.

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Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 students currently follow the AQA exam board specification for GCSE Art. We follow a course that allows students to work in any materials/style they wish. GCSE Art is a creative course that allows students to explore the formal elements within Art through themes and the creative responses of historical and contemporary artist/designers.

Strong observational drawing skills underpin each project and act as a foundation for the successful development of further skills and experimentation. All students will be expected to complete in-depth analysis of the work of artists and designers using the CoProFoMo structure (Content, Process, Form and Mood) as well as independent learning tasks.

We encourage our students to visit galleries, exhibitions and arts events that will inform their learning; a visit to the Tate in London will be incorporated into the course.

Students experience Art for 2 or 3 hours per week during Key Stage 4 and we regularly assess throughout each project, providing feedback and one to one tutorials to facilitate further development and progress. Students will be expected to undertake regular independent learning at home and Year 11 will feature a mock examination toward the latter part of the autumn term.

Two subjects are currently offered as options for students who wish to continue their study of Art to GCSE; Art and Photography.


In year 10 we immerse our students within the creative process, exploring in depth themes and topics through personal, creative exploration of media, processes and techniques. The recording and development of these processes is sketchbook based, making them invaluable and sophisticated documents showing the routes taken to final outcomes.

Students begin by studying and analysing the work of artists and designers linked to the theme of food, such as Sarah Graham, Wayne Theibaud, Emma Dibben and Claes Oldenburg. Responses to their work are created using a wide variety of approaches and techniques including clay, sculpture, printmaking, acrylic and watercolour painting, mixed media and collage.

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In year 11 our students will complete a self-led project that showcases their understanding of processes and techniques on the theme of portraits and the figure. The research and analysis of various figurative artists will further inspire ideas towards expressive and possibly abstract outcomes using lino printing, and media and approaches of their choice.

The externally set examination will begin in the Spring term of year 11.

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How is it assessed/examined?

  • Unit 1: Personal Portfolio: (Coursework unit) – 60% of the final grade.

This will comprise of a sketchbook and other supporting studies leading to one or more final outcomes on the themes of food and texture.

  • Unit 2: Externally set Assignment: (Controlled test) – 40% of the final grade.

The theme of this unit is set by the exam board. Students have a minimum of 20 hours preparation time followed by an unaided 10 hour exam on a final piece. This follows a similar format to coursework but over a considerably shorter time.

In both cases, work will be assessed against four assessment objectives as follows:

  • Assessment Objective 1: Developing ideas;
  • Assessment Objective 2: Using resources, media and materials;
  • Assessment Objective 3: Recording ideas and observations;
  • Assessment Objective 4: Making a personal, informed, and meaningful response.

Students’ work will be internally assessed by teachers in the art department. A sample will then be selected by the exam board which will be assessed by an external moderator.