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Brynmawr Foundation School

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    At Brynmawr Foundation School we strive to develop each pupil’s artistic potential. Art is taught three lessons a fortnight throughout KS3, where pupils are encouraged to fulfil project work based upon the national curriculum content of understanding the work of existing artists, investigating ideas and making their own artwork as a result of their study. Pupils will learn skills in a wide range of materials, disciplines and techniques enabling them to express themselves in exciting and original ways. Within the department we actively encourage pupils to focus on the artwork from local welsh artists. 

    Key Stage 3

    At Key Stage 3, through a balanced programme of art, craft and design activities, pupils are encouraged to develop their creativity and imagination and they are shown how to improve their practical skills. Pupils will explore drawing, painting and printing techniques and complete work in three dimensional. They will use ICT for research and also as a creative tool. Artists and their work will be examined within the context of project work. Examples from a typical programme of study are set out below.

    In Year 7, a range of drawing techniques in different media are explored through projects based upon fish and tree landscape themes. Pupils experiment with mono printing, relief print, exploration of painting and ceramics, to investigate new techniques to encompass the project themes.

    In Year 8, portraiture is explored in depth through a variety of media. Pupils are inspired by the Mexican festival of Day of the Dead to create paintings and ceramic outcomes based upon their own self portrait.  A Welsh Coal mining project is explored within the spring and summer terms where pupils explore drawing techniques, collograph printing and painting based upon Local Welsh Historical images and artists, Dewi Bowen and Paul Peter Piech.

    In Year 9, the work of contemporary YBA artist Damien Hirst is explored.  His use of pattern and mathematical symmetry with Butterflies is an inspiration for pupils to create observational studies using a variety of media and techniques, symmetrical patterns and screen printing. Bristol street artist Banksy encourages pupils to create their own stencils designs. Ceramic outcomes based upon Kate Malone’s pot conclude the project. Local welsh landscape artists are used to encourage the pupils to appreciate the local beauty. Goff Danter Brynmawr based artist is used alongside Martyn Evans to create textured painted outcomes to represent Brynmawr. 

    Throughout Key Stage 3 pupils will engage in the following activities:

    1. Pupils will often work from direct experience, gathering resources to explore, develop and refine their ideas. Pupils should be prepared to take some creative risks in the process of developing their work.
    2. Pupils will learn new skills, techniques and processes, using both two and three dimensional materials.
    3. Pupils will study and evaluate the work of artists, craftspeople and designers which will extend and develop the pupil’s own work.


    The three activities outlined above, represent the criteria by which the pupil’s work is assessed.

    Constructive comments are written in the pupil’s sketchbook as the project work progresses and a NC Level is determined at the end of each half term.

    At Key Stage 4 the pupils study the WJEC Art and Design syllabus and pupils are offered the opportunity to study Fine Art.

    What is studied during the course?

    WJEC endorsed course made up of 60% Candidate Portfolio and 40% Externally Set Task.

    Candidate Portfolio

    The Candidate Portfolio course is devised into two sections. Initially pupils undertake an induction which introduces new methods, techniques and materials which the pupils are expected to use within the whole course. Pupils will explore photography, computer photo manipulation, drawing media, painting techniques, colour theory and printing. The pupils will be directed and encouraged to develop their understanding of artists, craft persons and designers through Welsh artists who cover drawing and painting techniques. Pupils are encouraged to attend an annual trip to London to experience two galleries exhibiting contemporary and traditional pieces and artefacts.

    Pupils are then encouraged to complete individual journeys of exploration into the work of others and compile their own personal response to the work, through developing ideas and adopting various techniques, observational drawings and photographs. The Candidate portfolio will be made up of four sections

    • Induction
    • Painting project based upon chosen theme
    • Printing project continuing the same theme
    • 3D/ sculpture project again continuing the same theme.

    Externally Set Task

    In February an examination paper is given out, where pupils select one theme from a wide range of questions/ tasks.  Pupils have approximately three months to prepare for a controlled test of 10 hours. They complete a final piece that develops from their preparation studies. The examination component is worth 40% of the final mark.

    In both the Candidates’ Portfolio and the Externally Set Task, pupils need to show that they can:

    • Research a theme of their own choice, taking photos and producing studies from them.
    • Study artists who share the same theme as their own.
    • Explore ideas by experimenting with different media and techniques, modifying and refining their work as it progresses.
    • Bring all their ideas to a conclusion in a final piece of work.

    How is the course assessed?

    Candidates’ Portfolio: All of the pupils work from June to January which forms a portfolio which is worth 60% of the final mark.

    Externally Set Task: All of the pupils work which is in response to the chosen them/ question. Preparatory project work, and 10 hour exam outcome combined together to be worth 40% of the final mark.

    We end each academic year with an exhibition of pupils work at Ks4. Pupils, parents and local community are invited and the event is always well appreciated by all. This year the exhibition will take place alongside the Open Evening in October.