Art and Design

Many of the skills our pupils develop through the study of art and design are transferable to other subjects and will be beneficial for most career paths. These include thinking, investigation, research, analysis, evaluation, organisation, presentation, communication and working to deadlines.

As well as developing personal creative expression, the study of art and design promotes problem-solving and higher level thinking skills; the ability to ‘think outside the box’. Pupils will develop a willingness to take risks with a wide variety of media and techniques but also to refine their work as it progresses. We encourage our pupils to develop their observational and fine motor skills and to gain a greater awareness of the visual world around them. Pupils will benefit from an increased knowledge of cultural influences, art and design from the past as well as the work of more contemporary artists.

We have four spacious art rooms including a paint studio, ceramics studio and print room which enable us to offer an exciting and broad range of media and techniques, including printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and painting.

Pupils are given the opportunity to exhibit and even sell work at Monmouth Joint Schools Exhibition, Art in Penallt, Haberdashers’ Hall in London, and the summer show held in our beautiful pavilion.

Study days, out of the studio, are an important aspect of pupils’ learning. This year they will have the chance to be part of a Bristol Street Art workshop.

The study of Art and Design is usually enjoyable; it boosts confidence and self-esteem and develops creative thinking alongside many other key skills which are essential to aid pupils on their journey to further education and employment.



Themes taken from the National Curriculum are used for the teaching of Art & Design in Key Stage 3.  However, staff draw upon their personal experience and strengths to interpret these in a flexible, individual and inspiring way.  With a balance of design and expressive outcomes, pupils in each year group are given the opportunity to complete a 3D/Ceramics, print and paint/draw experience.

Overall Aims and objectives:
  • To appreciate and understand the visual elements: line, shape, form, colour, tone, texture, pattern, composition.
  • To foster creativity and imagination.
  • To develop and improve observational skills, particularly from primary source material.
  • To introduction to new practical, technical and critical skills.
  • To experiment with techniques and a variety of traditional and new media.
  • To encourage independent research of artists / designers and art movements.
  • To develop skills in order to research, explore, develop and evaluate personal work.
  • To build up an ‘Art’ vocabulary
  • To develop an awareness of art, craft and design from different times and cultures.
  • To encourage an understanding and appreciation of Art and Design and its role within our lives and the lives of others.
Year 7

In Year 7 the focus is on building confidence in and experimentation with materials and techniques. With inspiration from appropriate artists, a greater understanding and creative use of the visual elements is developed. Pupils are encouraged to improve their observational skills through a range of tasks, media and techniques. Variety is essential in order to foster imagination, a sense of fun and an inquisitive approach, helping pupils to question the role of art and design within their lives.

Year 8

In Year 8 pupils build on existing skills and experiences and gain a wider knowledge of artists, designers and crafts people. There is greater expectation for pupils to adapt and refine their work in order to reach a more personal and thoughtful realization. More advanced techniques and media are introduced and pupils are encouraged to improve further their observational skills.

Year 9

In Year 9 pupils are introduced to a wider variety of techniques and art movements.  In preparation for GCSE, greater emphasis is placed upon independent research and development of ideas, leading to more personal and sophisticated final outcomes. Observational work from primary sources is further encouraged with a more academic approach to concepts such as ellipses, foreshortening and perspective. As a pupil’s art vocabulary increases, evaluating work is expected to be more considered and refined.


Pupils follow the ‘OCR Fine Art’ course for GCSE studies. This involves completing two units of work:

Personal Portfolio – for which the majority of work is completed in Year 10, which accounts for 60%
This Personal Portfolio should represent around 45 hours’ work, and should be completed during normal timetable periods and prep time.

Set Task – for which pupils start to prepare in early February, worth 40%.
This requires pupils to give a personal response to a selected starting point. They are expected to include approximately 20 hours of personal preparation time, with no direct teacher input, before sitting a 10 hour period of sustained focus in which they produce their ‘realizations’ (final outcome). All preparatory work is marked along with the work produced in the exam.

For both units, pupils are expected to show evidence of research, observations, experimentation and sustained development of ideas leading to the presentation of a meaningful and personal final outcome/s. They are also required to demonstrate their acquisition of techniques and skills.

A level
Why study Art & Design?

A level Art & Design will give you the opportunity to develop observational skills, organisational ability, and good communication and research skills. It also fosters a willingness to experiment and ‘think outside the box’ as well as an ability to evaluate and analyse.

The Art & Design (Fine Art) course encourages a broad approach which allows students to develop experience in a number of areas while still exploring the subject in depth. It is a rigorous and challenging A level, which fits well both as a complement to other arts and humanities subjects, and also as a contrast to science subjects. This course provides an excellent grounding which can lead to further study at foundation diploma or degree level. Related career paths may include architecture, museum curation, photography, film making, television, graphic design, illustration, theatre design, interior design, fashion, textile design, art education, art therapy, to name just a few…

Throughout the course, students will develop their intellectual, imaginative, creative, communicative and intuitive powers. They will engage in sustained areas of study gaining an understanding of the inter-relationships between art, craft and design processes and an awareness of the contexts in which they operate.   Through so doing, they will gain independence of mind in relation to developing their own ideas and realising their own intentions. These transferable skills, which are encouraged and developed during A level Art & Design, apply to virtually all subjects and career paths.

If you have thoroughly enjoyed Art & Design at GCSE level and are keen to extend your knowledge, skills and creativity, we would recommend this subject.

Head of Department: Mr M Peake

Course content

Board: OCR   A level Syllabus Code: (Fine Art) H601

Personal investigation
Students will be able to study in depth an aspect of the visual arts that is of particular interest to them. This study can be presented in a number of  different forms but must relate to the skills and knowledge acquired during term 1. It will also include a related study: an extended response of a guided minimum of 1000 words. This unit comprises 60% of the full A level qualification.

Extended set task

Students will respond to a question set by OCR. An early release paper will be sent to the centre and pupils will conduct visual research over a set period of time (approximately 8 weeks) leading to a 15-hour practical examination. This unit comprises 40% of the full A level qualification.

Method of assessment

As studio coursework progresses, it will be informally marked by Art and Design department teachers to provide guidance and direction for students.

Units 1 and 2 will be internally marked by Art and Design department teachers and moderated by a visiting OCR moderator.

Beyond Monmouth School for Boys

Many candidates progress onto a one year Art & Design Foundation Course before studying subjects which require a level of creativity at university. These including fine-art, architecture, film, animation, literature and graphic design.