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Art at Gainsborough


Children attending Gainsborough Primary School often have very few experiences of life outside of their local area due to being located in an area of high deprivation meaning that families are not able to visit areas outside of the local area and high mobility rates.  We value art as an important part of the children’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum. Art provides the children with the opportunities to develop and extend skills and an opportunity to express their individual interests, thoughts and ideas.

Art embodies some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art.  As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art. They should also know how art both reflects and shapes our history and contributes to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.

The art curriculum starts when the children begin their learning journey in the Early Years. Therefore, we allow children to explore art techniques and artists through the ‘Expressive arts and design’ strand of the EYFS curriculum.

The importance of art is evident through several the trip and experiences children get to participate in. All of our children will visit an art gallery and local art/sculptures too, linked to their chosen artist, including  Tate Modern, Tate Britain and National Gallery. Our curriculum celebrates artists of all colours, cultural and geographic backgrounds, ages and genders. BAME artists are studied as part of our art curriculum, with multi-ethnic and multicultural experiences for children.

Vocabulary development is a key aspect of our whole school curriculum as a result of the high proportion of children who start Gainsborough Primary School with lower levels of vocabulary than is typical for their age. In drawing the children in EYFS learn vocabulary including lines and space. This is developed further in Key Stage 1 with vocabulary including thick, thin, soft, hard and pattern. In Key Stage Two the children use this vocabulary and in addition to new words including viewpoint, distance, direction, angle and perspective.



Art is taught in blocks throughout the year to ensure that children achieve depth in their learning. At Gainsborough, we split the terms between D&T and Art outcomes, with subjects alternating each half term. The termly blocks are planned using medium term plans that have been created by the art leader. These follow the national curriculum ensuring that there is a well-structured approach to this creative subject. Progression in art has been carefully mapped across the curriculum. Learning is revised frequently to ensure that teachers are clear about what has been remembered and children are then able to build upon the knowledge previously learned.

Each year group learns about the work of a range of artists (BAME artists and two other well-known artists) that reflect the diversity of the school communities. The children are taught to describe the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines and make links to their own work.

We teach a skills-based art curriculum, which allows children to express their creative imagination as well as providing them with opportunities to practise and develop mastery in the key processes of art: drawing, painting and sculpture. This is supported through the studying of key artists and the development of knowledge of their work. Lessons involve studying existing pieces of art, sketching aspects of these, with a particular focus on the necessary skills, before completing a final piece. Key knowledge is identified by the art leader and given to teachers to ensure that there is a progression of knowledge throughout the school.

At Gainsborough, we believe that all learners should primarily access the first quality teaching and be immersed in class discussions during art lessons. Therefore, SEND learners access the same learning as all other children but will be given further support, adapted outcomes and a tailored approach to suit each individual’s needs. Strategies used to support our SEND learners include:

  • A pre-teach of topic specific vocabulary
  • Reading support when researching using a range of sources
  • Printouts of work/presentations to scaffold with independent tasks
  • Instructions broken down into manageable chunks and more time given to process the information

Children with high levels of need have a broad curriculum offer, linking into National Curriculum themes, but with scaffolded learning which meets their needs, ensuring they are also making good progress from their initial starting points. The themes are planned to ensure that art skills and knowledge can be embedded and built upon.

We also provide a variety of opportunities for art learning to take place inside and outside the classroom. Apart from an art week in Forest school, there is a Friday ongoing art station in the playground all year round for the children to freely access during their lunch breaks. Art clubs take place throughout the year after school.

Knowing that many of the children in our school do not leave the local area, educational visits to art galleries and museums take place throughout the year in order to open their eyes to different ideas and perspectives. These are planned in advance and ensure that all children are able to visit an art gallery by the time they leave school.

Supportive materials are in place to ensure staff have online CPD opportunities to develop their own skills and knowledge about artistic skills as well as developing knowledge about key significant artists. The work of famous national and international artists are explored to enhance the children's learning further.


Our art curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills and discreet vocabulary progression also form part of the units of work.

In order to measure the impact of the art curriculum:

  • teachers assess children’s understanding of each unit before and after the unit is taught,
  • summative assessments take place throughout the year and teachers record the progress and attainment against the National Curriculum expectations of attainment,
  • there is a recollection of images and videos of the children’s practical learning,
  • in Key Stage 1 & 2 their learning is recorded in sketch books so children can use them to review and revisit ideas,
  • pupils are asked to fill in questionnaires about their learning after each unit is taught (pupil voice).

The impact of our art curriculum at Gainsborough ensures that children are equipped with art skills and knowledge that will enable them to be ready to continue their learning journey in KS3 and for life as an adult in the wider world.