Art is more than just learning how to draw and paint. It has long been used as a political and cultural tool, a way of disseminating and sharing ideas, beliefs and experiences. Today, it provides a window into the culture, society and history of generations gone by, and those to come.

At Thomas Jones art is a popular subject, and we aim for a balanced and rich curriculum that will inspire pupils to express themselves creatively, and develop a natural sense of curiosity about the world around them. Art is taught discretely each term, and although our units of learning are usually ‘stand-alone’ topics in their own right, some do connect with other subject topics across the curriculum. For example, Year 6’s exploration of William Morris’ wallpaper prints links closely with their learning on the Victorian period in Britain. Visits to world-class art galleries and museums, as well as workshops run by visitors to the school, aim to ignite interest and encourage engagement with particular units of learning, and the wider subject as a whole. Our weekly ‘Art Club’ for Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils throughout the year allows children to explore artistic media outside of the curriculum. Working in smaller, more intimate learning groups, children take part in activities such as marble painting, screen-printing and sewing.

We ensure that our art lessons follow both a skills-based and knowledge-rich curriculum. We incorporate both the history of art and the practical aspects of the subject through each unit of learning, giving equal attention to the development of skills across these two areas.

Children at Thomas Jones have the opportunity to explore major artistic movements and cultural styles from around the world. They study a diverse range of male and female artists and designers throughout history, and learn to understand the visual language of art through regular discussion, comparison and critical visual analysis. Children are taught subject specific vocabulary and are encouraged to use this language when evaluating or discussing an artist, movement or work of art.

Effective teaching and carefully planned and resourced lessons allow children to develop proficiency and confidence in drawing, painting, printing and sculpture. Progression of these core skills is made year on year, with greater emphasis being placed on accuracy and quality by upper Key Stage 2. As well as the development of artistic skill, children develop an understanding of colour, line, form and the other visual elements of art through the practical aspects of their lessons.

At Thomas Jones, children are encouraged to be reflective and to evaluate their work throughout the creative process, and in particular, following the completion of their final outcome. Art works are displayed around the classroom, and children are allowed to explore the work of their peers, offering supportive or constructive comments. We see this as a crucial part of the learning cycle, and a meaningful way to conclude each unit of learning.

Evidence of learning is collected and displayed within the children’s art sketchbooks. Evidence of verbal or written reflection and annotation is included within the sketchbook, where possible. The sketchbook also contains photographs of larger works of art, those produced as a group, and any sculptural outcomes.