Art and Photography

‘Creativity is contagious, pass it on.’  -  Albert Einstein

Exposure to Art is essential if we are to provide a rounded education for our pupils, which is why Art plays a vibrant part in School life at Sutton Valence. Our aim is to extend pupils’ opportunities and experiences and help them to find ways of expressing themselves creatively. Involvement in art not only adds to pupils’ enjoyment of School, but can help them develop both personal skills and a cultural appreciation that will enrich their adult lives.

The unique environment of Gulland Hall, a stunning converted church, encourages pupils to respond creatively to the world around them. The department nurtures simultaneously a spirit of independence (encouraging individuals to explore their own areas of interest) and community (a mutual support network that celebrates diversity) through a wide range of exciting projects, workshops, lectures, exhibitions and trips.

To be successful in Art, pupils should be:

  • Open to new experiences and ideas;
  • Interested and inspired by the world that surrounds them;
  • Supportive and respectful of diversity and culture;
  • Hard-working and reflective;
  • Able to embrace failure as an essential part of development.

Junior Curriculum

In the First and Second Form, pupils are exposed to a wide range of experiences which give them opportunity to explore the subject and discover a variety of new techniques and ways of seeing. The aim is to provide something for everyone whilst at the same time helping each individual to develop skills and learn new ways of ‘making’. There is an emphasis on teamwork and support, as well as positive encouragement.

Third Form

In the Third Form Art pupils initially undertake a ‘Problem Solving’ unit of work, which forms part of their ‘Certificate of Personal Effectiveness’ (CoPE). The Lent and Summer Terms are used to lay foundations for GCSE Art, with particular emphasis on refining the knowledge and skills gained at Junior level.  Pupils start to learn to investigate the subject more deeply and begin to understand how to inform their work by linking their ideas more explicitly with artists. Drawing underpins all Third Form projects.

GCSE Art and Design

GCSE Art at Sutton Valence follows the OCR exam board’s Fine Art syllabus. This is a two year course where pupils are encouraged to respond to project titles in a personal and informed manner. All students keep a sketchbook, in which they record their thoughts and ideas throughout the course. Exam results in recent years have been amongst the strongest in the School with over 50% of pupils achieving A*-A grades. The course structure is as follows:

  • Coursework Portfolio – 60% of total mark
  • Exam board Set Task – 40% of total mark

A Level Art and Photography

We follow the OCR exam board’s Fine Art A Level syllabus as well as offering Photography as a separate A Level. Teachers strongly encourage independent learning and research at this level. Our aim is to help the Sixth Form develop their own ideas and guide them through their own, personal projects. The course structure is as follows:

  • Personal Investigation (coursework unit) – 60% of total mark
  • Exam board Externally Set Assignment – 40% of total mark

Art Department Staff

Mr Martin Thompson holds a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the University of Wolverhampton, and has twenty years of teaching experience, having been a Head of Department for nineteen years.

Mrs Ngaere Sutton has a BA in Fine Art from Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand, and has taught Art, Art History and Photography for eighteen years. She previously taught Art for sixteen years at Cranleigh School, Surrey.

Mr James Allen holds an MA and BA in Fine Art Drawing and Printmaking from Canterbury Christ Church University. He has obtained an MA Level scholarship in drawing from the Royal Drawing School, and is a practicing artist.

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