Art and Design at Cowling Primary School

Subject Curriculum Lead: Mrs Richmal Symonds


 Intent: Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should 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. 

By the end of year 6 our children should be able:

  • To produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences.
  • To become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques.
  • To evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design.
  • To know about great artists, craft makers and designers and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

At Cowling School, we believe: 

  • The strength and belief in one’s ability to find creative solutions is a life skill that is fostered in the Access Art curriculum.
  • Pupils are always encouraged not to give up when faced with a challenge. Resilience is a very important aspect of the Access Art curriculum; to explore and find ways to come to a solution….and understand that your solution is just as valid as your friend’s.
  •  Art is very individual, and throughout their time at Cowling School, children will learn that everyone has their own opinions, but everyone’s opinion counts. Similarly, everyone has their own style and our Art work should reflect this.
  •  Through discussion and feedback, throughout topics and at the end, we look for the positives in our own and each other’s work, giving gentle, respectful feedback. We recognise that Art and creativity can be a fragile thing, but we are all Artists and everyone’s abilities are fostered and cherished. “Happy accidents” are enjoyed!
  • Due to its personal nature, anyone can excel at Art if they embrace the experiences offered through Access Art.

Implementation: The Art and Design curriculum is implemented through AccessArt’s ‘mixed age’ curriculum. 

AccessArt provides teachers with critical concepts, teaching notes, video prompts and a wealth of ideas to practise and embed Art skills and knowledge within their classes. Through their planned schemes of work pupils will: 

  • Be exposed to the works of a wide variety of artists, designers and craftspeople from across the world, with a mix of contemporary and traditional artists. 
  • Focus on Pathways based around: ‘drawing and sketchbook’, ‘surface and colour’ and ‘working in 3 dimensions’.

The skills and knowledge that children will develop throughout each art topic are mapped across each year group and are progressive throughout the school.  

Our curriculum map has been created based on the resources and lesson ideas from AccessArt. It has been designed to ensure full coverage of the National Curriculum, to ensure learning is sequential throughout EYFS – Year 6 and to ensure the art skills learnt are progressive and build upon prior knowledge throughout each year group. 

Children have opportunity to develop their skills within the following art forms, across different scales, independently and collaboratively:

Sketchbook work


Painting and collage

Printing making and collage 

3D sculptures

They also have opportunities to explore artwork created by famous artists, craftspeople, architects and designers from all cultures and times. This helps to generate discussions and questions to inform their own ideas and preferences.

At Cowling,  our curriculum allows for children to be an integral part of the assessment process. Children are given time to reflect upon their own work and the work of their peers. Children evaluate their work and engage in dialogue and decision making about the quality of their outcomes and may suggest improvements that could be made. Furthermore, regular discussions with the teacher and peers allows for decision- making along the way. Children will not only know about key facts and information about art but will be able to talk confidently about their own learning journey whilst having a growing understanding of how to progress further.

Gentle and discreet assessment about knowledge, understanding and skill takes place through verbal dialogue and feedback. Teachers use this information to inform future lessons, ensuring children are supported and challenged appropriately. Children are encouraged to self and peer assess within the subject in a respectful manner.

Each child has complete ownership of a sketchbook to record and revise thoughts and ideas. The sketchbook is a way to record the creative journey each block and also to show progression through the year groups.

Where applicable links to art will be made to develop the children’s learning experiences.

  • A cycle of lessons for each subject, which carefully plans for progression and depth;
  • A low stakes quiz which is tested regularly to support learners’ ability to block learning and increase space in the working memory;
  • Challenge questions for pupils to apply their learning in a philosophical/open manner;
  • Trips and visiting experts who will enhance the learning experience;
  • A means to display and celebrate the pupils’ artwork in their class.

Impact: Pupils at our school look forward to Art lessons. They thoroughly enjoy being creative and exploring their artistic capabilities. Children are proud of their work and because they build upon their creative confidence year on year, they enjoy discussing their work. 

Our pupils relish learning about new art media, putting it to use and finding out what visual wonders they can create. As pupils progress, they become increasingly able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design, which means that they can step into KS3 and continue their learning with confidence

The structure of the art curriculum ensures that children are able to develop their knowledge and understanding of the work of artists, craftspeople and designers from a range of times and cultures and apply this knowledge to their own work.  The consistent use of children’s sketchbooks means that children are able to review, modify and develop their initial ideas in order to achieve high quality outcomes.  Children learn to understand and apply the key principles of art: line, tone, texture, shape, form, space, pattern, colour, contrast, composition, proportion and perspective.  The opportunity for children to refine and develop their techniques over time is supported by effective lesson sequencing and progression between year groups.  This also supports children in achieving age related expectations.

Displays throughout school reflect the children’s sense of pride in their artwork and this is also demonstrated by creative outcomes across the wider curriculum. 

The Art and Design curriculum at Cowling contributes to children’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement and self-reflection.

EYFS: Within each area we have provided activities which enable an open-ended, playful exploration of materials, processes and ideas, which in turn nurture dexterity skills, promote an early understanding of visual literacy skills, and begin to build the child’s confidence in their ability to make a personal, creative response to a stimuli. 

Together these opportunities provide a foundation for pupils to develop skills further through the AccessArt Primary Art Curriculum.

The AccessArt Primary Art Curriculum promotes open-ended creative learning, placing emphasis on the creative journey and nurturing children to become confidence and independent creators. 

In order to prepare children for the pathways in the Primary Art Curriculum, we recommend using resources in this section suitable for EYFS and SEND.

The aim of these resources is to help give pupils opportunities and  experiences which enable pupils to:

  • Build dexterity skills 
  • Explore materials and mark making in a playful way
  • Use bodies and imaginations to inspire making
  • Explore how they can reflect and share their views about what they have seen or made
  • Explore how art enriches our lives

Send: At Cowling school, we fully endorse AccessArt’s aims and values:

  • At AccessArt we remind everyone that we teach art because it is one way we can enable children to reach their creative potential. Every child is entitled to develop their critical and creative thinking skills, and to build their knowledge and understanding of materials and techniques, developing their experience of how they can make a creative response to a variety of stimuli, and our role as teachers is to facilitate this journey. 
  • So for AccessArt, remembering our core aim is to enable creativity, we place an emphasis on encouraging exploratory journeys, working towards varied and individual outcomes.