Crispin School


Art & Photography

Crispin Art and Photography Department prides itself on educating individuals to open their eyes to the wide range of artistic opportunities available to them; as well as allowing students to focus on their particular areas of interest if desired at GCSE. We are a popular GCSE option choice, with around half the cohort choosing either Fine Art or Photography; some students choose to do both.

GCSE results are among the highest nationally and have been over 90% Grades 4 - 9 for the last ten years. In 2016 the department was named the 'Area of Excellence' for the school Challenge Partners review. Extra-curricular opportunities include prefect run art and photography clubs every lunchtimes, Photography club for KS3, Printmaking GCSE club and Year 7 mixed media Art club. After school sessions are available every day for GCSE students to continue their work in the Art rooms. We have close links with Strode College and each year we take our GCSE students to visit their End of Year Art Show. The department is well equipped and resourced; we have two art rooms, one photography/art room, a photography studio, and we are located in a purpose-built Innovation Hub with large airy rooms and inspiring views.

We have our own Creativity & Innovation exhibition every year to show off the wide range of GCSE Art, Photography and Graphics work. This is normally held in July.

We have our own Art exhibition every year to show off the wide range of GCSE Art, Photography and Graphics work. This is normally held in July. 

art pg v1 jdm.pdf

artpg curriculumjourney.pdf

Key Stage 3

We run a structured programme at Key Stage 3 which allows for significant progress as the students develop from year 7 up to year 9. Each project is structured to allow for formal elements to be taught alongside development of their creativity. Extended Learning is set via a “Connect 4” style homework sheet. From this sheet students can choose four or five tasks to complete based on their interests, skills, and experience. These may include: a piece of artist research/analysis, a painting, photography, digital editing skills and 3D homework.  In Year 9, students begin to have more freedom; they try out photography and are given projects which help them to become more independent. All projects are informed by a wide range of cultural sources including: fine artists, cultures, designers and photographers.

Below are the projects we currently study. All projects allow for a wide range of skills to be developed and students are introduced to a wide variety of artists ranging from Cave Art to the present day.

Year group Autumn Spring Summer
Year 7 Natural Forms Illustration Project Bugs "En Plein Air" Landscape project
Year 8 Portrait Project Abstraction - 2D and 3D Architecture
Year 9 "Art & Words" Sketchbook Project Surrealism Still Life

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 students can opt to study either GCSE Photography, Graphics or Fine Art. 

The beginning of the Fine Art course is based on identity. Students follow a structured programme until Easter in Year 10 when they start a Natural Forms project which is kicked off by a visit to a Zoo or Eden Project.  This project continues to teach skills but also allows for students to identify and work toward their strengths. The idea being that by the end of Year 10, many students are working independently with tutorial help from their teacher.  We encourage more freedom and the structure allows all students the opportunity to develop skills and experience which help them to become successful in their GCSEs and develop as artists. They finish their coursework unit by the end of December in Year 11 and then start their externally set task in January before the practical ten-hour exam in April.

In Graphics students acquire the skills and experience needed for Graphic Communication and Illustration. Students start with a Foundation course where they develop the hand based and digital based skills they need to be successful. The Sustained project starts after Easter and is inspired by a visit to the Zoo or Eden Project. The rest of the timeline of the course is similar to Fine Art GCSE. 

In Photography we start with a foundation course which allows for students to learn the main skills and techniques they need to acquire in this course. In March we start their main sustained project based on Natural forms, this is kick started by a visit to Bristol Zoo or the Eden Project. The rest of the timeline of the course is similar to that of the Fine Art GCSE. 

AQA Art and Design, Photography, and Graphics GCSE

art progress ladder y7 crisped simple.pdf

art progress ladder y8 crisped simple.pdf

art progress ladder y9 crisped simple.pdf

Topics Covered this Academic Year

Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Year 7

Observational drawing of natural forms, pattern and illustration.

Observational drawing of Insects. Drawing using a wide range of media.

Landscape drawing and painting. Impressionism and Post-impressionism.

Year 8

Self-portraiture collage, including structural portrait drawing. Looking at Portraits throughout Art history.

Abstract Art project - 2D and 3D. Starting with Kandinsky.

Architecture project. Looking at temples and places of worship, moving on to John Piper.

Year 9 Art

Sketchbook project based on Text and Image. Using a choice of topics as a starting point. 


Surrealism – students are introduced to Photography and may choose to produce work in drawing, painting or photography.

Still life project. Techniques and skills, looking at still life throughout Art history.

Year 10 Art

Identity project which will lead towards an A2 pencil portrait and  A1 size acrylic painting.

Natural Forms Project - March onwards

Looking at plants, flowers and animals. Students are able to develop their project independently. 

Year 10 Photography

Foundation skills based Identity project.


Natural forms project - plants, animals, fruit which leads to an independent Natural Forms topic.

Year 11 Art and Photography

Natural forms project - 

Students in both subjects work independently towards a final piece based on natural forms. Fine Art students have the option to go back and develop their Identity project.

Externally set task -

Students get an exam paper which is set by the exam board in January. They may choose one of the titles to develop and explore in a new sketchbook. This concludes with a 10 hour controlled test where students produce a final piece and complete their GCSE.

Video art exhibition


Artwork of the Week

Each week, we select an outstanding piece of art or photography by one of our students to display. This gallery will display the current Artwork of the Week as well as all previous pieces.

Artwork of the Week


To see more of our students' artwork and photography pieces, like our Art Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!

Last Updated: January 2024

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