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Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Curriculum at St. Thomas'


At St Thomas’, we deliver an ambitious, art curriculum that aims to engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.


Art and design enriches children’s learning and enables them to communicate their thoughts, ideas and observations in a practical and expressive way. In talking about art and evaluating their own and others’ work, children are encouraged to develop their visual language, ideas and feelings. Through experience of a variety of materials, tools and techniques children have the opportunity to record creatively the world around them.


As pupils progress throughout St. Thomas’, they will develop an in-depth understanding of the visual elements of art: colour, line, texture, shape, pattern, form and space, so they can apply these effectively through their own creative ideas (this is given greater important and therefore prioritised throughout the younger year groups). Basic skills are introduced and then built upon, including drawing, printmaking, sketchbooks, painting and making. Skills are revisited and the use of ongoing sketchbook work underpins this process. Drawing is a fundamental aspect of art and design and is included within every unit of study.


Art is planned and sequenced thoughtfully to consider the skills and knowledge to build on prior learning. Units are planned with a focus on the following three areas: artists/art styles (these are used to model concepts and inspire children’s ideas), concepts (is the key knowledge and ideas children will learn e.g. primary and secondary colours) and skills (these are the artistic techniques children will apply e.g. colour mixing).


Children will learn about influential artists, craftspeople, designers and architects and are taught how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the cultural richness and diversity.


How is the Visual Arts taught at St. Thomas'? 


Structure of lesson:


Children will take part in a short task where they will be required to retrieve previously gained knowledge. The children may have acquired this knowledge in a previous lesson, unit of work, a previous year group or even links across other areas of the curriculum e.g. history. This task is designed to strengthen our pupils’ memories of key knowledge, enabling them to retain knowledge in the long-term memory and make progress across the curriculum.


Children will be introduced to key vocabulary (STAR words: Select, Teach, Apply and Review) at the beginning of the lesson. There is a set sequence teachers use to introduce and explain new vocabulary. Children will be challenged to learn the meaning of these words and apply them correctly during the lesson. Teachers will provide children with actions to match each of these words, to support the children in remembering them.


The teacher will share the core knowledge for the lesson with the children (artists or art styles and concepts). This is an opportunity for children to listen to and understand the new information. Older children are encouraged to take notes.

Partner Talk:

Children will work with a partner to complete a short task or discuss new information. Children will be expected to apply their understanding of the new information taught (they are encouraged to apply the STAR words).

Read:  In every lesson, our children are expected to read and be exposed to quality texts. The reading can be incorporated into any aspect of the lesson. Children will read a range of texts, from online blogs to information texts. We believe reading is the key to all learning, so have therefore made reading a priority in every lesson.

 Demonstrate & Independent Task:

The teacher will demonstrate the techniques (skills) and share expectations e.g. scale. Children will now work independently/collaboratively on a task.


What do we expect to achieve through our Visual Arts Curriculum?

By the end of KS1, our pupils will be able:

To show control with a range of media e.g. paints, charcoal, graphite, collage materials and clay.

To use a range of art techniques such as drawing, painting, printing and collage to express their ideas and experiences creatively.

To demonstrate an understanding of the visual elements, including colour, line and shape (e.g. primary and secondary colours).

To know the name and work of at least six significant artists, designers or craftspeople e.g. Rembrandt, Klee, Picasso and Hockney. Children should be able to talk about differences and similarities and make links to their own work.

To know how to use a sketchbook to make observations and collect thoughts and ideas.


By the end of KS2, our pupils will be able:

To demonstrate more control, experimentation and refined use of a range of media e.g. acrylic paints, inks, charcoal, graphite, collage and clay.

To demonstrate a greater understanding about how to use a sketchbook to record observations and collect ideas, this may include sketches and annotations.

To become more proficient and have an increasing awareness of a range of art techniques such as printing, sculpture and painting.

To be able to exhibit work and the work of others and give sophisticated reasons for the use of particular techniques as well as likes and dislikes e.g. referring to subject specific vocabulary.

To use and apply a greater understanding of the visual elements (colour, line, texture, shape, pattern, form and space) to enhance artwork.

To confidently use and apply subject specific vocabulary e.g. visual elements, media and techniques.

To know the name and works of 12 significant artists, architects, designers or craftspeople and explain similarities and differences, such as style, technique or media. They can also talk about how these reflect and shape our history, culture and diversity.                                             

  • St Thomas Church of England Primary School,
  • Kenyons Lane, Lydiate, Liverpool, Merseyside, L31 0BP
  • E:
  • T: 0151 531 9955