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Click here for an overview of our progressive art curriculum. 

Art vocabulary - click here for our 77 words

Click on the following links for the key art learning that we have identified for each year group:

Art in Nursery and Reception

Art in Year 1 and Year 2

Art in Year 3 and Year 4

Art in Year 5 and Year 6


At South Failsworth School, we believe that art is a vital and integral part of children’s education.  Art contributes to children’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement and self-reflection.  It provides themwith opportunities to develop a range of ways in which they can share and express their individual creativity, whilst learning about and making links with a wide spectrum of different types of art in our society. 

Our progressive art curriculum teaches skills and techniques within the historical context of a diverse range of artists and works of art. This is through the seven formal elements of art: line, tone, colour, texture, shape, pattern and form.

There is also a focus on the art and design skills: drawing, painting, printing, designing and crafting, whilst developing a knowledge of artists who specialise in these skills.

The skills and knowledge that children will develop throughout each art topic are mapped across each year group and are progressive throughout the school.  The emphasis on knowledge ensures that children understand the context of the artwork, as well as the artists that they are learning about and being inspired by.   This enables links to other curriculum areas with children developing a considerable knowledge of individual artists, as well as individual works and art movement.

With effective teaching and carefully thought out sequences of lessons and experiences, children will develop their understanding of the visual language of art, becoming critically aware of their own work and the work of others. 

The aims of teaching art and design in our school are:

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
to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation
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, craftspeople and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.


To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in art and design, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Art and design is taught as part of a half-termly topic, focusing on knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. Key skills of communication, mathematics, ICT, problem solving, improving own performance and working with others are promoted through our teaching of art.

Art and design lessons are planned systematically and progression builds by introducing year group expectations within each of the separate areas of media that children should work with.  Pupil progress will be tracked through the use of a sketchbook which will follow the children through school.

Drawing is a key skill which will run throughout all activities, and it is all about understanding drawing for purpose.  So, not just about skill in observation/perception, but being able to communicate ideas visually (a mind map, a plan, a diagram, an expression of thought).  The formal elements are taught from Year 1 and revisited as pupils progress through school - they are summarised as line, tone, colour, texture, shape, pattern, and form.   Similarly, in EYFS children will have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, they too will develop a knowledge of artists enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials through directed teaching time and continuous provision.

At South Failsworth, the design of the art curriculum uses a balance of the formal elements, a balance of art, craft and design.  It also develops visual literacy through a focused approach to looking at art.  All pupils will be encouraged to ‘read’ the stories that paintings tell, learn how to be ‘painting detectives’ and use the ‘clues’ in the details of the artwork.

We deliver an art curriculum within a meaningful context and where possible cross curricular links are explored.  However, we make our art learning explicit to the children and encourage them to think as confident, independent artists who can articulate and value their own creative journeys.

In addition, coordinated whole-school project work and regular competitions ensure that art is given high status in the curriculum.  This includes whole school collaborative art projects with a focus artist.  Competition entries and projects are shared with families by means of our unique Gallery ‘South Failsworth Art Gallery’ using Padlet.


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, colour, texture, shape, pattern and form. 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 at the end of each key stage.

Moreover, the art curriculum at South Failsworth contributes to children’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement, critical thinking and self-reflection,   with an ultimate goal of ‘Inspiring and creating lifelong learners.’