Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

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Our Art Department is always a hive of activity and our corridors and classrooms are bright and energetic spaces. We have two specialist art rooms, each with a projector, IT and printing facilities. The Department has a kiln, a printing press and screen printing facilities. We wish to create an environment to engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. Our curriculum is designed so all pupils will know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.

The highlight of the Art Department year is the Summer Art Exhibition every July. Curated and hung by staff at the department, it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the artistic endeavours and achievements of our A-Level and GCSE pupils at the Vaughan.  

Here we share a few photos from last year's Summer Art Exhibition:




 Key Stage 3: First Form (Year 7) and Second Form (Year 8)

  • The two-year Key Stage 3 Curriculum has been designed to build upon core art skills. Drawing has been given great importance in the new curriculum and we create opportunities in each project to explore a wide range of materials, whilst learning to observe and record in a multitude of interesting ways. 
  • Pupils learn to; paint, draw, build structures with clay and cardboard, design graphics and text. Contextual studies complement pupils’ practical work and they investigate artists, designers, craftspeople and cultures to inspire their work.

Key Stage 4: Third Form (Y9), Fourth Form (Y10) and Fifth Form (Y11) 

GCSE: Exam Board AQA Fine Art

  • Art GCSE allows for us to further extend practical skills, developed at KS3. Pupils gain increased confidence in their creative abilities and ideas are more self-directed. Pupils attend two lessons each week and are provided with A4 spiral bound sketchbooks for each project.
  • Third Form is an opportunity to build upon creative skills, exploring drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Pupils learn how to develop visual sketchbooks using a variety of media and new techniques.
  • Pupils complete two coursework units (60% of the total mark available) beginning in April of Third Form through to November of Fifth Form. These projects are thematic and pupils learn to; develop their own ideas, explore new materials and techniques, find inspiration from contextual and cultural sources, review and evaluate their art work, and create a final work in response to their ideas.
  • An exam unit (40% of the total mark available) commences in January in the Fifth Form. With a range of starting points, pupils work independently for a number of weeks to prepare for a ten-hour exam in May. Two days are spent making a final outcome.

Key Stage 5: Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth Form

  • A-Level Art and Design provides pupils with opportunities to develop personal responses to ideas, observations, experiences, environments and cultures in practical, critical and contextual forms. 
  • The new specifications put forward from AQA for Art and Design require the students to put more emphasis on drawing.
  • As the course progresses, pupils will be encouraged to develop an independent, enquiring and creative approach to your studies and to express your ideas in conventional and unconventional ways through a variety of media. A commitment to hard work and meeting weekly deadlines is a prerequisite for success on this course.

A-Level Art: AQA Fine Art

Component 1:  Personal Investigation   

  • 60% of A Level. No time limit. 96 marks
  • Pupils work as independent artist, choose the direction of their work, subject matter etc.
  • Tutorials, guidance and support form staff. 
  • Further supported by written element of 1000-3000 words, set and marked by the teacher/centre and moderated by AQA

Component 2: Exam / Externally Set Assignment

  • 40% of A Level. Preparatory period + Supervised time 15 hours. 96 marks
  • Externally set Question for sustained investigation.
  • Paper distributed on Feb 1
  • Work produced will be marked by the centre and moderated by AQA

Twilight Sessions

Twilight sessions are held for GCSE and A-Level pupils to work in the department and utilise all equipment, materials available to complete their weekly tasks or homework. Guidance is also available from members of staff. This is a perfect opportunity for pupils to catch up if they have missed a lesson or have been absent. Pupils can be accommodated to work in the Art Department each evening, Monday - Thursday.

Outside the Classroom

For the last three years, a collaboration with the Royal British Society of Sculptors saw our Lower Sixth pupils work with sculptors Almuth Tebbenhoff (2014) and Julia Vance (2015). Pupils worked with the artists for two days and explored new ways of working in sculpture.

'Almuth gave me a new manner of both approaching and viewing Art' – Mia Whelan, L6

'Inspired by almost everything, she encouraged us to look beyond the literal and into the abstract. Working with Almuth was a delight!' – Bridget Chin, L6

'Almuth made me think about things in a way I never had before' – Joseph Turner Mullan, L6

Star Artist

This year the Art Department unveiled our new rewards system. Every week a pupil is selected from each art class and named as ‘Star Artist’. They are awarded house points and the most highly prized ‘Art Badge’ to wear on their lapel. Our Star Artists help to promote the Arts and we enjoy celebrating their artistic achievements.

Trips & Visits

We are a bus ride away from some of the world’s greatest art museums and galleries and we take every opportunity to avail of these treasures to inspire and inform pupils' work. GCSE Artists have availed of Art talks and workshops at the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery. A-Level Art trips have included: The Courtauld, The Royal Academy, The National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, The National Gallery.

In February 2015, an exciting Art and Design Trip to New York was organised for Art and Design Technology pupils and another trip is being planned for February 2019.

In 2018, A-Level pupils travelled with sketchbooks and pens to Paris on a very early train, braving the sub-zero temperatures and snow, to explore the Pompidou and the Musee D’Orsay.