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Lessons within the REMAT art curriculum have two components: exposure to artworks (from a wide range of artists) and exposure to artistic experiences. The latter takes precedence, but discussion of artworks linked to projects being undertaken is an important means of building cultural capital and informing pupils’ wider understanding and development of their creativity. 

Pedagogy in art is based on developing pupils’ tacit knowledge, this being the kind of knowledge that is difficult to transfer by means of writing or verbal explanations. Pupils need to experience materials (media) in order to understand how they perform, react and inter-relate. They also need to discover ways to approach a ‘blank canvas’ and the creative options that are available. Creativity needs to be nurtured, but it is preceded by the cultural and practical knowledge of art that many pupils lack experience of. Therefore, pupils need a balance of instruction, guidance and experiential learning, with self-reflection and self-evaluation being key to their personal development. 

In respect to the above, progression within our curriculum is seen in two ways: the repeated use of materials and techniques over time in order to build tacit knowledge in line with different stages of the pupils’ development, and the degree of complexity within the projects themselves. To exemplify these points, pupils charcoal images at the start of Year 1 will be executed with far less precision than the chiaroscuro drawings they create in Year 5; likewise, their first experience of direct printing in Year 2 will be far more simplistic than the mono-prints or linocuts they will do in Year 6.

To ensure key teaching points are made and expertise in the subject is addressed, we have developed plans for all units of work that include step-by-step guidance for teachers, PowerPoints to aid delivery and build pupil understanding, and subject knowledge guidance to help teachers convey relevant points. Performance Leads support and monitor teaching in respect to a series of performance indicators that set out expectations in regard to the following overarching themes: generating ideas; applying skills, knowledge and understanding; evaluating. (These are general statements that are applied within an understanding of age-related limitations.)

We believe that the on-going exploration of materials will provide all pupils with an accessible and effective starting point to build an interest in art. This exploration – linked to different artistic disciplines (drawing, sculpture, painting, printmaking, etc) – will help them grow in confidence and gain understanding of the broad range of traditions that the subject contains. In addition, class discussions will build their knowledge over time as will the practice of supportively evaluating their own work and that of others.  

Fundamental drawing exercises will be experienced and repeated over time e.g. continuous line drawing and diverse mark making. The artistic projects that pupils do across the years will build progression, with this developed through repeated access to the range of materials, processes and concepts that the projects provide.

Sketchbooks will be an integral part of lessons. These will allow pupils to develop ideas and basic skills that they will apply to their work. Work in sketchbooks will link to the final pieces, with pupils’ development seen through the practice and experimentation.