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Thomas Harding Junior School

Achievement Through Aspiration


Our Art and Design Curriculum at Thomas Harding Junior School


Our Art Intent 

At Thomas Harding School, aspiration is at the heart of our ambitious curriculum and through rich and exciting opportunities, all children can reach their full potential. We believe that art engages, inspires and challenges children and gives them the skills, concepts and knowledge necessary for them to express responses to ideas and experiences. Art enables children to develop their imagination and creativity and we respect and value equally all learning and achievements in art, regardless of starting points and backgrounds.


Individual well-being and happiness are key to the school vision and are embedded in art teaching. Children build confidence and resilience when experimenting and making decisions about their ideas, their use of colour, texture, line, form, shape, space, pattern and different materials and processes. Children are given opportunities to design and make products through drawing, painting and sculpture amongst other art, craft and design skills. Sketchbooks are key to our vision for art, as they record the children’s experiences and imagination, helping them to develop their ideas and to show progression in their artistic ability. Our cross-curricular approach values art, embeds knowledge and transfers skills across a broad range of subjects. Children are proud of their achievements, wherever they start on their art journey and we are proud to celebrate with them.


Our children are given the opportunity to understand how art and design reflects and shapes our history whilst contributing to our culture, creativity and wealth of our nation. Raising the level of cultural capital of our children improves their opportunities to succeed academically and engage in wider society.  Art teaching at Thomas Harding encourages children to aspire to a successful future in the knowledge that an educational or career path in the creative arts is open to all. The annual whole school Art Fortnight sees local artists, secondary students and their teachers bring their skills and passion for their subject to us, inspiring our children, forging community links and enriching learning through the collaborative process.


  • The Art and Design curriculum engages, inspires and challenges children to increase their knowledge and ability to experiment with different media to create their own works of art.
  • Art and Design activities are taught using a cross-curricular approach, embedding knowledge and transferring skills to ensure that learning is embedded in the long term memory.
  • Technical vocabulary is embedded through oracy activities in order to compare and analyse the work of different artists.
  • To overcome low aspiration, poor reading skills and low resilience (key barriers to success for Thomas Harding pupils), ASPIRE is embedded into all lessons/learning. Reading skills are applied in analysis and critique of art.
  • The Art curriculum develops cultural capital by building upon the knowledge and skills of our varied cohort and seeks to address the range of gaps, particularly those who are disadvantaged and SEND who typically do not have access to opportunities and experiences such as art galleries. A range of artists’ work is appraised in lessons.
  • The art curriculum at Thomas Harding is underpinned by the National Curriculum and the school’s ASPIRE values. Lesson objectives and assessment objectives are provided for consistency and progression in learning.
  • We are a socio-economic diverse school – all religious and cultural backgrounds have been taken into account in the planning of our art curriculum.


Thomas Harding Art Implementation 

  • Expectations are high for all learners, to build independence, self-efficacy and resilience through demanding, concept-rich, complex work in practical lessons.
  • Work is recorded in Art sketchbooks to show a range of different learning styles – planning, experimentation, annotated pictures, photos of own work and other artists’ work, extended writing in evaluation of own work and that of other artists.
  • High quality tasks encourage mastery and require effortful thinking.
  • Links are made with prior content and how the lesson is placed in the progression of future learning.
  • Modelling by the teacher provides examples for children to learn from.
  • Local visits and the school grounds are used for LotC (e.g. Chesham town centre to sketch buildings and to draw trees).
  • Source material is high quality from reputable providers, for example, National Gallery.
  • High quality scaffolded talk prioritises thinking.
  • There is a focus on technical language accuracy within each art topic area.
  • Word banks and scaffolds are used to support learning.
  • Art topic vocabulary is displayed in classrooms.
  • Pre-teaching of art vocabulary.
  • Skills and knowledge-based Learning Questions are used.
  • Knowledge is retained through the Thomas Harding memory hacks, including regular spaced retrieval practice.
  • Links between art and other curriculum areas are made explicit.
  • Art is used to develop reading/inference skills and to inspire writing across the curriculum
  • There is scaffolded support to allow all pupils to access the curriculum effectively to maximise their learning.
  • Art homework opportunities are given in tic-tac-toe grids with cross-curricular links.
  • Children’s work is assessed and will be recorded using Target Tracker.
  • The annual Art Fortnight develops cultural capital of all children through knowledge of artists and artworks. Visiting artists broaden children’s experiences.
  • Links with Chiltern Hills Academy mean that our Art curriculum supports transition to secondary school, children ready and prepared for their next steps in learning.


  • Pupils can be clearly seen building on prior learning  to extend and apply skills and knowledge  e.g. during Art Fortnight.

  • Retained, ‘sticky’ learning is embedded into the long term memory (through enrichment experiences in Art Fortnight, e.g. visiting artists, performers, GCSE/A level students).

  • Pupil interviews show high levels of  engagement and a genuine love of Art. Pupils also report how resilience and perseverance, alongside their growth mindset, help them to see the progress they make over their time at Thomas Harding.

  • Work scrutiny shows progression of skills over time.

  • Increase in learning resilience through a culture of experimentation.

  • Building cultural capital through Art Fortnight (e.g. Japanese Haiku theme 2019)

  • Assessment of pupils is done using Target Tracker.