Art & Design

Head of Department: Miss A M Healy BA (Hons), PGCE (Luton)
Subject Lead in Art: Mrs S Applegate BA (Hons), MA, PGCE (Herts)

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso

Making art is fundamental to human existence; it is natural to express our creativity as we grow and develop. Studying art enables students to reflect on and interpret the world around them, and to gain insights that develop their sense of personal identity and their understanding of themselves and others. Making art allows young people the opportunity to explore and express their creativity and growing independence in a positive manner. As they acquire new skills and knowledge, the tangible progress they make enhances their self-confidence and supports their ability to engage and learn across the wider curriculum.

The philosophy of the art department is that children learn best when they feel supported and are having fun. The department offers an exciting programme of study for years 7 to 9, enabling students of all abilities to create artwork of which they are proud, whilst acquiring and developing practical skills and extending their subject knowledge. In each year, students work in a variety of two and three-dimensional media, informed by investigating artworks spanning diverse cultures and centuries. Across our two large, bright art studios, a ceramics studio and dedicated sixth-form studio, the department has facilities for students to work with acrylic and oil painting, drypoint, lino block and silk-screen print-making, silk painting and batik textiles and sculpture in clay, metal and plaster. Our extensive art library and dedicated computers facilitate students’ research. Art scholarships are offered at 11+, 13+ and sixth form.

Examinations and Key Skills

At GCSE and A level, students follow the AQA Fine Art syllabus. (GCSE: 8202 and A Level 7202)
The GCSE and A level courses focus on developing visual language skills and mastering processes and techniques with which to express visual ideas. Students produce a body of work over two years, which is exhibited at the end of the course for assessment and to celebrate their achievements. As an integral part of their courses, students are taken to visit galleries in London and Cambridge. In addition to the practical skills they gain, art students develop a number of invaluable analytical and study skills. They learn to conduct independent research, undertake analysis and evaluation of their own and others’ work, and to make independent critical judgements. The individual nature of the work encourages independence and self-motivation in students, and also supports the development of their time-management and organisational skills.


All students have the opportunity to attend a variety of art activities during period 7 each day, during which they can experiment with media and processes in addition to those they have experienced in class. Sixth form students are offered the opportunity to work from life models. In year 9, students may participate in an art and design trip to the Warner Brothers Studio, in order to gain a greater insight into the diverse range of creative careers open to them. The department also runs an art trip to a major London gallery on St Edmund’s day and a three-day practical project with a visiting artist during activities week. In preparation for the 450th anniversary in 2018 of the founding of St Edmund’s College, every student joining the College in year 7 will make a commemorative terracotta tile reflecting the design of those in our Pugin Chapel. The tiles will be mounted in panels each year and thereafter, will be on permanent display in the College.

Higher education and careers in Art and Design

There are estimated to be 1.5 million jobs in the creative sector in Britain today and this sector is one of the fastest-growing in our economy. The skills and expertise of this sector are now sought world-wide and qualifications in Art and Design are considered essential preparation for many of these exciting roles. On completion of an A level in Art and Design, students might progress to further study in higher education. Post-18 courses include: Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Higher National Diploma in Art and Design and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art and Design. Further study at Masters Level is also possible. The study skills and personal attributes acquired on an A Level art and design course are well-recognised by universities and employers and are fully transferable to most other areas of study and employment.

Courses Offered
  • GCSE Art
  • A Level Art