Art at Sutton Valence School

‘The Art department at Sutton Valence School achieves outstanding exam results at GCSE and A Level’

Art at Sutton Valence aims to develop both core skills in areas such as drawing, painting, printing, photography and sculpture, whilst engaging pupils to think about personal expression through developing a sophisticated visual language.


Every step of the way, the pupils are challenged and enriched by a positive and lively environment created in the Gulland Hall Art Centre. The teaching staff Mr Martin Thompson, Mrs Ngaere Sutton and Technician, Mr James Allen, all continue to be practising artists in their own right, offer a wealth of experience and unrivalled enthusiasm for the subject. Achievements are high; 100% of Sixth Form pupils who have applied for higher education courses in art have been accepted by their first choice art college.


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 students’ 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 the Gulland Hall creates a place where pupils react creatively to the world around them. We encourage individuals to find areas of the subject that interest them and to work with confidence and ambition, through a wide range of exciting projects, workshops, lectures, exhibitions and trips.

Junior curriculum

In the First and Second Forms 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’.

The Third Form is seen as a build-up year to GCSE.  Pupils will start to learn to investigate the subject more deeply and begin to understand how to inform their work by linking their ideas with the work of other artists. Drawing underpins each project set in this year.

GCSE curriculum

At GCSE we follow 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. Exam results in recent years have been amongst the strongest in the school with over 50% of pupils achieving A*-A grades.

A Level curriculum

From September 2015 we have followed the AQA 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.

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