Art at Widewell

Art is taught in 6-lesson units, once a term (Art alternates with D&T). At Widewell we follow The United Learning Curriculum for Art and Design.

The United Curriculum is sequenced so that meaningful links are made between subjects, and the order of units allows these connections to be made. For example, in Year 3 Spring pupils have the opportunity to create individual clay tiles which form part of collaborative storyboard illustrating a fairy tale. This unit links explicitly with the English curriculum unit Fairy Tale Crimes, in which pupils consider alternative readings of fairy tale characters and their intentions. 

The United Curriculum for Art & Design has been adapted for Widewell by considering the context of our pupils and the community.





Regardless of their starting point, the curriculum allows pupils to produce creative work, to explore ideas and develop the confidence to excel in a broad range of artistic techniques. All pupils will learn about artists and cultures from across history and across the world.  


Taking the National Curriculum as its starting point, the curriculum is sequenced from Early Years to Key Stage 3 and beyond so that pupils gradually develop and build their practical knowledge, including the formal elements, the use of a range of materials in two and three dimensions, and the techniques required to produce artwork. Theoretical and disciplinary knowledge is sequenced so that pupils build a deeper understanding across key stages.


All pupils will be explicitly taught about the formal elements – colour, form, line, pattern, shape, texture and tone – and other aspects of art knowledge in small steps. Pupils will revisit, develop and apply their skills with increasing technical proficiency.


Our art curriculum is designed to give teachers flexibility, allowing them to select and adapt resources for their specific context. Schools are encouraged to bring it to life for their pupils by supplementing it with artists from their local area. In Key Stage 3, schools should select outcomes, materials and skills focus for units based on local context and teacher expertise.


The Art curriculum provides children with the opportunity to explore historical and contemporary artists and artworks, who represent their own and others’ cultures, values and beliefs. We will explore the context in which the art was produced, and consider the full breadth of human experience and expression through art. 

•Education with Character

We aim to build and maintain pupils’ confidence in their ability as artists to create. The curriculum will develop aspects of character such as resilience, confidence and risk taking. Through the curriculum, pupils are given opportunities to share, reflect and learn about each other’s experiences whilst recognising the things we have in common. 




 The implementation of the United Curriculum for Art & Design reflects our broader teaching and learning principles:

For Art & Design in particular:

  • Content is always carefully situated within existing schemas. Every unit considers the prior knowledge that is prerequisite for that unit and builds on that knowledge to develop a deeper understanding of that concept. For example, pupils are not expected to be able to produce a representational drawing until after they have explored a range of drawing materials and have had the opportunity to experiment and create using a range of materials, techniques and processes. 

  • Vertical concepts are used within lessons to connect aspects of learning. In Art and Design, this is most clearly evidenced in the progression of knowledge and skills linked through the formal elements (line, tone, space, shape, form, colour, pattern and texture). These building blocks of the subject offer opportunities for pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding as well as their practical skills.

  • Disciplinary knowledge is explicitly taught to pupils and carefully sequenced to ensure pupils are provided with opportunities to practice these skills throughout the curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to engage with big questions about the meaning and purpose of art, as well as exploring the concept of creativity in both a theoretical and very practical way. Our purpose is to allow our pupils to see themselves as artists by developing their innate creativity through building their confidence in knowledge, understanding and skill.




The careful sequencing of the curriculum – and how concepts are gradually built over time – is the progression model. If pupils are keeping up with the curriculum, they are making progress. Formative assessment is prioritised and is focused on whether pupils are keeping up with the curriculum.

In general, this is done through:

Use of sketchbooks and pupil-conferencing

Unless it is unavoidable, pupils use the same sketchbook over multiple years, until it is complete. Sketchbooks contain a record of pupils’ progress over a significant period of time. Talking to pupils about their sketchbooks allows us to assess how much of the curriculum content is secure. These conversations are used to determine whether pupils have a good understanding of the vertical concepts (practical knowledge), and if they can link recently taught content to learning from previous units. 

Formative assessment in lessons

There are opportunities for formative assessment in the lessons, and teachers continually adapt their lesson delivery to address misconceptions and ensure that pupils are keeping up with the content.