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. 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

Art at GCSE is a two-year course that comprises a unit of coursework and an externally set controlled test. Assessment is internally based with external moderation. The pupils are expected to show evidence of good drawing skills to support the development of their ideas. Research into the work of other artists forms an important part of the course as it helps to inform and enrich ideas. Candidates need to show clear evidence of the development of skills and understanding as they evolve towards a final piece. There are no restrictions on scale or media.

Course content Fine Art 

Board: OCR
60% portfolio
40% externally set task allowing pupils to work on one of five themes.

A Level Art 

Currently, we follow the OCR syllabus: A Level candidates will be required to produce one extended coursework unit set by the department and an examination unit set by OCR.

The coursework unit, worth 60% of the total marks, will follow a theme and candidates are required to show evidence of strong visual and verbal recording, research, development of ideas and use of a variety of media. To access top grades a candidate will be expected to produce a coursework portfolio of sophisticated developmental work which leads to a final piece, as well as a sketchbook which shows clear evidence of research and analysis both practical and written.
There is a 1,000 - 3,000 word written component (related study) that students are required to complete as part of the coursework unit.
The examination unit requires candidates to respond to a topic from an examination paper and build a portfolio of work which culminates in a final piece. The work will be supported by a sketchbook showing research and development of themes and ideas.

A Level Photography

Many students are attracted to the combination of technical instruction and creative freedom that photography offers. Students who choose to study Photography, will have considerable scope in selecting and pursuing their own projects. As a result, the work of our students – and the department’s expertise – is diverse.

During the course, students will begin by focusing on the development of photography from simple beginnings to the pervasive activity that it is today. The workings of the camera will be explained, together with the processes that allow photographers to realise the images that they have in their mind’s eye. Students will work in a traditional darkroom before moving on to work with digital cameras and computers. Students work in a studio environment where they learn to work with controlled lighting, as well as carrying out some experimental assignments.
Students will build up a portfolio of work that combines their own art together with investigations into the work of established photographers. As the course progresses, there will be an increasing emphasis on the quality of your final prints in anticipation of an exhibition at the end of the Summer Term.

Board: OCR
60% Personal investigation
40% Externally set assignment

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.

Art Exhibition 2021

Click on the link below to view the 2021 Art exhibitions.

GCSE and Level Art and Photography Virtual Exhibition 2021

Art Exhibition 2020

Click on the links below to view the 2020 Art exhibitions.

GCSE Art and Photography Virtual Exhibition 2020

AS and A Level Art Virtual Exhibition 2020

A Level Photography Virtual Exhibition 2020

Art Competition Virtual Exhibition - 'Endangered Species' 2020

Contact Us

Sutton Valence School

North Street, Sutton Valence, Kent, ME17 3HL


Tel: 01622 845200


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