Art and design

What art means at St Thomas…

Art is a way of expressing feelings through creativity. It develops the skill of observation and mark making. It is learning skills and applying different media in 2D and 3D.

Art and design at St Thomas

We love art!

We are always looking to engage, inspire and challenge our pupils creatively.  Through our teaching we equip pupils with the knowledge and skills to invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.  Pupils learn to be reflective and critical of their work.  An understanding of how art and design has influenced history and culture in our nation and in others around the world will be developed through studying various artists and art forms as part of the National Curriculum.  Children have access to a wide range of media and the use of specialist equipment, such as desk top easels to encourage good practice.

Key Stage 1

Children are introduced to a wide range of materials and how they can be used.  They develop skills in drawing, painting and sculpture and develop techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space.  The children will learn about famous artists and their techniques and apply these to their own work.

Key Stage 2

The children will improve and develop the skills they have learnt in Key Stage 1 and be introduced to a wider range of materials.  They will be encouraged to expand on their knowledge of artists and designers and to critically evaluate their own and others work.

Art Club

We are proud to offer a thriving after school Art Club where children can study an artist in depth and explore a wide range of techniques and processes from painting, printing and sculpture to outdoor land art.  Children are encouraged to experiment and challenge their ideas within a supportive small group setting.

Art Gallery

‘The Canvas’ is our dedicated art gallery for two dimensional and sculptural work.  Art club has their own space within the gallery and every class in school has a frame to display children’s work.  Artwork is regularly refreshed to encourage children to celebrate their own efforts and critically evaluate the work of others.  The gallery celebrates the importance and enjoyment of art and reflects the value we put on art as a subject at St. Thomas’s.

Class Sketchbooks

Every child has the opportunity to take the class sketchbook home over the weekend to produce an artwork of any chosen media to talk about and share with the class the following week. The artist can describe their methods and the other children can practise the skill of critical evaluation


Useful Links:


The main intent in Art and Design is to provide purposeful activities which allow children to produce individual and independent artwork within the framework of the learning challenge or question.  Opportunity is given to learn a range of skills using a wide variety of media, and a stimulating environment is provided, both indoor and outdoor with reference to art practitioners working in this field.

Children are encouraged to explore, experiment, practice, rediscover and consolidate skills within a discreet art lesson but also make connections in subsequent art lessons and in cross curricular learning.  Care is taken that skills are built on and different approaches are explored when subjects overlap, for example portraiture and still life.  Both contemporary and more traditional artists are studied which ensures that children are exposed to a range of styles and skills.  While there is a varied but structured curriculum and children learn specific skills, children recognise that they can also have their own interpretation which works well with the school improvement priority of celebrating children’s achievements and individuality through S=P+A+C+E  for Me.

Expectations are high but Art is accessible to all and the process as well as the product is celebrated and areas where children have had opportunities to ‘Go Deeper’ can be identified through how they approach a task, their language and ability to articulate their intent.  Children may be disappointed with ‘final results’ but are encouraged to celebrate what went well and to recognise how to improve next time making S=P+A+C+E for their learning.


There is an increasingly wide variety of different media being used in Art and remote learning has provided an opportunity for teachers to research artists, techniques and skills to explore and widen their own knowledge to confidently support children in Art and Design.  Subsequently, there has been a noticeable range of traditional and contemporary artists informing the artwork.

Links are made to topics and children understand the relevance and purpose of learning in Art and how these relate to potential career opportunities later in life.  Where possible, local links are made, for example Year 1 study the work of the ‘artist gardener’ Gertrude Jeykll.  Year 2 illustrate in the style of E.H. Shepard and design and make tiles influenced by Mary Watts.  There have been opportunities for children to see artists in action, for example when questioning our mural artist at work, and looking forward, we hope to welcome art practitioners to school again and for children to visit galleries and museums once more.

Children have their own central gallery – The Gallery – and art club which are popular features of the school admired by all.  Art is assessed through process to final piece through specific criteria and codes, learning reflections, peer and self-evaluation and whether the artwork has succeeded in meeting the learning challenge.  Assessment can be written and verbal with care taken to respect the subjectivity of the subject.


Art has a high profile in school, evidenced by work produced in class, in sketchbooks, displayed in our school gallery named ‘The Canvas’ and in the classroom and in children’s comments during Art learning walks.  While teachers choose work to display in The Canvas, children are motivated to have their artwork displayed and it is a popular feature and talking point of the school.  Experience organisers are being trialled to give context to a new topic, artist or art movement with the children’s involvement.  Story books and biographies have also been provided to give children a deeper understanding and teachers are encouraged to create a focus in their classroom to display this, alongside appropriate vocabulary.

Children are starting to be more confident and to become more critical when assessing their own and other’s art.  It is important to learn the art of constructive criticism in order to progress and to recognise why something hasn’t worked and how to improve.  Children are moving away from a vague response to starting to have the vocabulary to articulate what worked well and what skill they need to improve.  One aspect of greater depth is that ability to articulate and act on constructive criticism and advice.  Children are also beginning to respond to the marking codes in their sketchbooks and verbal feedback to see where they need to improve and identify their next steps.