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The intention of the Art and Design curriculum in St. Thomas’ Catholic Primary School is for each child to make excellent progress in all areas of Art and Design by being inspired, engaged and challenged alongside having fun and new creative experiences. The children will learn from a diverse range of historical and current artists. They will be taught by example and with demonstrations; in small steps to enable success and with scaffolding for those who need it.

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


We want our curriculum to be inclusive to everyone and fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum. We aim to ensure the progressive development of both knowledge and skills.


The school values of being 'Aspirational', 'Christ Centred' and 'Togetherness' are at the heart of our school so will also affect our Art and Design curriculum:


  • Aspirational: Our children will aspire to do their best.


  • Christ Centred: Creativity is important across the curriculum and plays an important part in our Religious Education lessons too. Regular displays and artwork will have a 'Christ centred' theme and religious paintings will be included in our lists of artists to study. Art is often a tool to help with well-being. Our 'Christ centred' value also focuses on well-being because Jesus was full of compassion and love for each individual with their well-being at the centre. We want to follow the example of Jesus in caring compassionately for each child in our school and one way that we can do this is by giving them therapeutic art experiences.


  • Togetherness: There will be regular opportunities for collaborative art including working with a partner, with a small group or together as a whole class. Our tile art project, which is on display, shows the 'togetherness' of the whole school through art.


We want to help our children discover more of who they are and what they can achieve both independently and as a collaborative group.

“Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.” Sydney Gurewitz Clemens

St Thomas’ Catholic School’s Art and Design curriculum will give children the opportunity to:

  • Foster enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts.
  • Grow in confidence to happily 'have a go' and learn from mistakes.
  • Observe and record from first-hand experience and from imagination.
  • Develop the children’s competence in controlling materials and tools.
  • Become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture, other art, craft and design  techniques and processes.
  • Develop understanding of the formal elements of art: colour, texture, line, tone, shape, form and space.
  • Produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences.
  • Evaluate their own creative works using the language of art and by reflecting on the process and final piece afterwards.
  • Develop a knowledge of significant artists, craftspeople and designers.
  • Improve their well-being. Art gives some children the chance to shine when they might not otherwise do so. Art is also a way to tap into the emotions and experiences of children.


“I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way; things I had no words for.” Georgia O’Keefe


As pupils progress through school, they should:

  • Increase critical awareness of the roles and purposes of art and design in different times and cultures. Exploring the impact it has had on contemporary life and on different periods and cultures. (eg Egyptian pots and cave paintings)
  • They should start to realise how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.
  • Start to develop critical thinking about art and understand that there are sometimes ideas and meanings behind an art piece.
  • Be engaged, inspired and challenged.
  • Progressively use learning skills such as 'perseverance' and 'becoming absorbed' in what they are doing.
  • Experiment, invent and create their own works of art because art inspires imagination and creativity.
  • Have experiences that are visual, tactile and sensory so that they can communicate what they  see, think and feel through the use of colour, texture, form, line, tone, shape and space.
  • Have a deeper appreciation of the world because of careful observation and reflection.
  • Have opportunities to engage with art and design in various ways on Educational visits. Educational visits are valued at St. Thomas’ Catholic Primary School.
  • Experience Canterbury as a world heritage site, endowed with museums and art galleries and remarkable architecture and areas of beauty.


“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.”

Mary Lou Cook



The Art and Design curriculum at St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School is based upon the 2014 Primary National Curriculum in England, which provides a broad framework of knowledge and skills to be taught in each Key Stage. The progression documents ensure the curriculum is covered and that it progresses from year to year. This ensures high standards of teaching and learning in Art and Design throughout the school.

Skills are introduced and then built upon, such as: drawing, printing, painting, collage and 3D art. These skills are then revisited and the use of ongoing sketchbook work underpins this process. At St.Thomas’, our lessons are balanced between prescriptive skills teaching, where there may be particular ways of doing things safely and successfully and more open-ended lessons. Here, the role of the teacher is to introduce key skills, materials and ideas to the pupils in such a way that they can then explore their own creativity. We recognise that by creating a safe and nurturing environment, our children can be encouraged to take creative risks and to learn from the journey, rather than always heading towards a pre-defined end-result. The process is as important as the result!

Sketchbooks are seen as important and are used from Year 1 to Year 6. These evidence each individual’s learning and progression. The sketchbooks are an opportunity for children to express themselves and keep a visual diary of their thoughts, processes and ideas throughout the academic year. They are kept close at hand when creating, sketching or developing ideas both indoors and outside. The sketchbook is not marked. The book belongs to the child and is a space for them to freely express, create and develop their ideas, sometimes with only limited guidance from the teacher. We want this book to be a key place for children to express their creativity.


We use summative assessment for children’s learning and progression. Next steps are planned accordingly. Sketchbooks and final pieces provide the evidence. Learning is discussed with the children and they sometimes have opportunities to review their peers work as well as their own.