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Our Art and Design Vision – St Nicholas CE Primary

At St Nics we believe every child is an artist. We aim for all children to explore and develop their skills and creativity using a wide range of media, realising that art isn’t about getting the right answer, or creating the perfect piece.  We value the use of sketchbooks and encourage the use of experimentation, innovation and exploration.

Using the Cornerstones curriculum, art and design is planned to ensure the progression of skills and to build upon the children’s previous knowledge through a project-based approach. We think it is important that children study a diverse range of artists, designers, architects and sculptors, both past and present, and that in particular we think it is essential they should learn about a range of diverse creatives who reflect the society and world in which we live.  We have created a whole school journey map showing the wide range of creatives that we study from foundation stage to years 5 and 6.

As our children progress through the school, they revisit media and techniques to help them to explore their own style and allow the freedom to experiment.  We also strive to ensure the children get an opportunity to be involved in wider artistic experiences, both in and out of school, using opportunities within the local academy trust to do this.

We want our children to leave us as confident, capable and respectful artists who understand that art is created for many purposes and is accessible to all.


The curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 and other experiences and opportunities which best meet the learning and developmental needs of the children in our school. 


In our school:

  • All children follow a program of progressive skills in art and design.  These take place in discrete art and design lessons and also as a means of communication in other wider curriculum subjects.  
  • Wherever possible,  first hand experiences and real things are used to stimulate art and design activities, such as our own Forest School. Teaching is done in whole class groups followed by group and individual work. New techniques and skills are modelled, and examples of work are shown to the children.   
  • In group and individual work, pupils have the opportunity to investigate, explore and develop ideas and techniques. They are also involved in evaluating their work, celebrating success and identifying areas for improvement.  
  •  Art activities are scaffolded or extended where needed, to ensure that all pupils can access the tasks and have an appropriate level of challenge. Opportunities for using and extending art skills are built into lessons in other subjects.   
  • At St Nics we ensure that children also have access to contemporary (20th and 21st century) artists as well as more traditional ones, that are perhaps more relevant to children today.  We have worked hard to include a wide range of diverse artists within our art and design curriculum, to help challenge stereotypes and celebrate the diverse world in which we live.
  • Cross curricular opportunities for further learning and development in the arts are built into planning of all subjects as a means of enhancing the children’s learning opportunities. These may be in the form of visiting performing arts groups, museums, galleries, such as the Oxford MOMA and other venues.  We regularly take children to King Alfred’s Academy yearly art exhibition to help inspire them and see their own work displayed within a gallery setting, as we submit a selection of the children’s work to the exhibition.  In addition, we have taken whole school and class opportunities to create our own art gallery exhibitions, where we have invited member of the school and wider community, such as the whole school art exhibition focussed around Traveller heritage.
  • In the early years there is continuous provision of art and design opportunities: these activities make important contributions to children’s development in the areas of Expressive Arts and Design and Communication and Language. They are also important in children’s Personal, Social and Emotional development. Art is covered in art lessons, continuous provision and as a means of communication and learning in other curriculum areas.  Focus artists have been introduced to the early years curriculum, to encourage exploration and expose the children to the work of diverse artists.



Each pupil will:


Experience a broad, balanced arts curriculum, with an emphasis on the development of understanding and skills in art and design.   


  • From KS1, build up a sketchbook with original examples and photographs of work undertaken and creative artists studied, in order to allow children to look back and build on what they have worked on and to show progression of skills and knowledge.
  • Experience the arts through other areas of the curriculum.   
  • Be given a wide range of opportunities to express themselves creatively.   
  • Begin to develop awareness of the emotional impact the arts have on themselves and on an audience.  
  • Have their progress assessed through the Cornerstones assessment programme, with reviews to assess gaps and to build in revisiting opportunities and skill progression.

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St Nicholas C of E Primary School
Sarajac Avenue
East Challow
OX12 9RY


01235 763858