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Mrs F Ward (Leader of Learning)
Mr R Cahoon
Miss A Magee
Mrs K Porter
Mrs B Lavery
Mr A Gregory (Art Technician)

The Creative Industries are the fastest growing area of the economy and are vital to economic success. Studying Art, Craft and Design creates a pathway to a career in a creative industries-related field, and encourages students to value materials, aesthetics and craftsmanship.

Art helps students to develop key transferrable skills such as creativity, innovation, higher level thinking skills and problem solving. It encourages students to find alternative approaches and take risks within their work. It also develops in depth knowledge of Art and Design through research and practical activities, intellectual capabilities and independent approaches to learning. In Contemporary Crafts at KS4, students learn practical skills in the areas of Textiles and Ceramics, researching local craftspeople and craft industries. Students learn transferrable skills through designing, producing, promoting and marketing their own craft items.


The Art & Design Department is equipped with three large teaching class rooms, a Sixth Form work area and computer suite as well as sewing machines, two kilns, specialist ceramic areas and printing presses in each classroom.

Key Stage 3

Students explore a range of media and have the opportunity to use many Art and Design techniques. The Key Stage 3 program is as follows:

Year 8

  • All About Me collaborative project on theme of personal identity, creating their own Picture Names and digital photography using Photoshop and Photo booth.
  • Drawing: introduction to Drawing skills, mark-making and how to observe and record shape and tone.
  • Colour: introduction to Colour Theory and how to mix and apply paint.
  • Researching Pop Art through the work of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Year 9

  • Drawing with a variety of media including, pen, pencil, and chalk pastel.
  • Printmaking on paper and fabric.
  • Textiles: Introduction to hand-sewing techniques and stitches.
  • Fashion Illustration: designing and creating a paper dress.
  • Ceramics: introduction to using clay – creating texture, designing and making a hybrid animal pot.
  • Researching Contemporary Ceramic Artists- Kate Malone and Anne Marie Robinson.

Year 10

Unit 1: Portrait Project (examination project)

  • Drawing and painting: tonal and colour studies of faces.
  • Portrait of students’ choice selected and split into 4 sections.
  • Research on 3 contemporary portrait artists- Francoise Neilly, Ani Cinski and Colin Davidson- students will create a small version of each artist’s work in pen, pencil or paint.
  • 4-part portrait created using different portrait styles and media.

Unit 2: Shoe Design Project and 3D Construction.

  • Students will explore the work of shoe illustrators Manola Blahnik and Andy Warhol and their different styles of illustration.
  • Students will employ a variety of 2D techniques including oil pastel, collage and printmaking to create shoe illustrations.
  • Students research shoe designers and design a fantasy shoe on their chosen theme.
  • Using 3D construction techniques, students build a basic shoe.
  • Shoes will be adapted, embellished and decorated to reflect original design.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 we offer two different options: CCEA GCSE Art & Design and CCEA GCSE Contemporary Crafts. Both courses can continue on to Key Stage 5 Art, Craft & Design, however they differ considerably in the content which is covered.

Year 11 & 12           CCEA GCSE Art and Design

This is a two-year course. Students are encouraged to develop a range of skills both 2D and 3D through a variety of workshops following four main assessment criteria in response to a theme. Some of the materials and techniques which may be used are: drawing, painting, pastels, ceramics, textiles, photography, printmaking as well as Photoshop, sculpture, fashion, etc. It is essential that students research the work of other artists and wherever possible we encourage input from local artists and visits to galleries to experience Art first hand.

Component 1:             60%         Coursework Portfolio consisting of two parts:

Part A: Exploratory Portfolio.

Part B: Investigating the Creative and Cultural Industries

Component 2:            40%           Externally Set Assignment (examination project released January 2nd year).

Students will choose a theme from a variety of starting points and complete their final piece during a controlled assessment of 10 hours.

Year 11 & 12            CCEA GCSE Contemporary Crafts

This is a two-year course. Students will learn the conventions of art, craft and design and develop their visual language and technical skills in Textiles and Ceramics. This helps them to communicate ideas, feelings and personal viewpoints using both traditional and contemporary craft methods. The study of art, craft and design encourages students to value materials, aesthetics and craftsmanship.

Component 1: 60%      Making, exploring materials, techniques and                                      processes.

  • Research on designers.
  • Careers in the Creative Industries.
  • Knowledge of Health & Safety in the workplace.
  • Portfolio of practical work and learning

Component 2:     40%        Working to a brief. (January 2nd year)

Students will work to a design brief in their choice of either Ceramics or Textiles, designing and making a craft piece, completing it within 10 hours and give a written evaluation.

Key Stage 5

Year 13                     AQA   GCE A level Art and Design

This is a 2 year course comprising of

Component 1:       60%  of A2        Personal Investigation
Component 2:       40%  of A2        Externally Set Assignment (February 2nd year)

Students will continue to develop their skills, working in an increasingly personal manner, exploring aspects of art they find interesting. Students will be encouraged to work independently, researching contextual work to influence the development of their own ideas and focus. Students are expected to critically analyze and interpret the development of their research through a written response and demonstrate their ability to sustain work from an initial starting point to a realisation, evident in their practical work.

Students will develop a strong portfolio of work suitable for application to advanced study of Art and Design at Higher Education.

Art and Design Excursions

Whenever possible we endeavor to engage students through gallery visits and exhibitions as there is no substitute for physical encounters with Artworks. We have several major artworks on loan throughout the school from the Arts Council Permanent Exhibition. Each year, prior to COVID restrictions, we visit the Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition and attend the True Colours exhibition in the Ulster Museum, and we will resume these when possible.

These exhibitions showcase a selection of the best art work at GCSE, AS and A2 examinations from young people across Northern Ireland, and also contemporary Irish Artists. We are part of the North Belfast Art Learning Collaborative and our students’ work has been part of several NBALC exhibitions, helping us to forge good connections with local artists.

The department has a strong record of students who progress further within their studies onto Higher Education.

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