Curriculum Leaders

  • Mrs A Shotton
  • Second in Department: Mr W Pym


The aim of our art department at HMS is to give every opportunity to our pupils to experience the joy and excitement of being a young artist.  Art and design is a means of investigating, recording and communicating experiences and feelings.  The ability to see clearly and to draw, paint, model and handle the associated technical problems is essential in a world that relies increasingly on direct visual communication. The foundations are put in place for our pupils to access further study and long-term careers as artists and designers. 

At Hexham Middle School we strive to achieve this in the following ways: 

    1. Develop pupils’ abilities to create original artworks, valuing their individual approaches while equipping them with the skills and knowledge to plan, create and refine their work.  our aim is to help students to find enjoyment and pleasure from looking, responding and creating. 
    2. Provide the opportunity for pupils to develop drawing skills.  This will be done through learning how to look and observe, experimenting with drawing materials, building up fine motor skills and concentration to control drawing media. Pupils need opportunities in different types and purposes of drawing, from sketching and drawing for plans, to copying and scaling and creating finished observed drawings.
    3. Develop pupils ‘visual literacy’. This gives confidence in looking at and evaluating visual images. Pupils will also develop their ability to communicate ideas, opinions and feelings about their own work and that of others. Through key stage 2 and 3 pupils will learn to respond thoughtfully, critically and imaginatively to ideas, images and objects of many kinds and from many cultures. 
    4. Build a thriving, dynamic art room where creative ideas can grow. Pupils will gain confidence in handling materials, learning new art processes and applying this to make their own work. Pupils will have opportunities to revisit and refine their work.
    5. Pupils with disadvantages and Special educational needs can achieve at a very high level in art, using the opportunities for extended work, reflection and personal expression to develop personal outcomes. 


The art department at HMS and QEHS uses 6 themes to define the key knowledge and skills that our young artists need to experience, refine and perfect, appropriate to expectations of their age range. These key themes give opportunities for students to understand their own and other cultures (CT1) and to develop visual literacy through the analysis of key works of art (CT2).  The foundation skill for all our year groups is drawing (CT3), we interpret this in many ways from accurate observation to large scale experimental drawing and including digital drawing for students at QEHS in Keystage 4 and 5.  Our young artists will explore different media in each project (CT4) with opportunities to experience for example in Key stage 3: textile techniques, printmaking and card construction. There are regular opportunities to revisit student’s developing skills in watercolour, acrylic painting, oil pastel and other art materials. The sketchbook is the key record of an artist’s thought process, our young artists learn to record and annotate and to present their research and their own art work (CT5) with care and in an increasingly personal way. Young artists are motivated by the opportunity to create outcomes (CT6) based on their own creative ideas and they show their mastery of their art skills and knowledge in these final pieces. This platform of Art knowledge and experience is revisited in each year creating a cycle of creative growth for our young people to be ready for completing Key stage 3 and ready to start examination courses in Key stage 4 and 5 and onward to careers in the arts. 

  • CT1 – Understanding Cultures
  • CT2- Art Analysis  
  • CT3- Drawing   
  • CT4- Media, Materials and Processes 
  • CT5- Developing Ideas and Sketchbooks  
  • CT6- Creating Art Ideas and Outcomes 


Pupils will build their confidence and competence in keeping a well presented and creative sketchbook to record ideas and display their artwork.  The sketchbook will be the main item for assessment , showing the Pupil’s progress and development over time. Pupils will have opportunities in most projects  to create a ‘final outcome’, this will often have an element of choice and personal development of the idea. 


The art teacher visually monitors student work continuously in lessons to adapt the learning and give individualized support. Formal Assessments also include:

    • Assessment grid sheets – these are used to record student progress for each project
    • TLF: Students record teacher feedback, make their own peer and self-assessments in the assessment grid sheet.
    • Assessment Aims and Objectives – these are presented in the sketchbooks relevant to each project and are used by pupils to identify what they are learning and how they are assessed and what they need to do to succeed.
    • Summative Assessments – Teachers moderate all sketchbooks in the year group with colleagues from Queen Elizabeth High School ensuring a rigorous approach to grading.
    • Recall and memory tasks – students are assessed through quizzes or early lesson direct questioning to clarify understanding, helping pupils to articulate their art knowledge.

Art Project Map KS2 & KS3


Pupils will have opportunities to develop their reading for knowledge and understanding by reading texts about the artists and art movements they study.  Pupils in key stage 3 will become adept at analysing and connecting the information with their own artwork. Pupils will develop their writing about art with guided tasks that allow them to express their own opinion. Pupils will also start to annotate their artwork, recording the processes they learn, describing their outcomes and reflecting on their achievements, gathering this writing into their sketchbooks. 

Personal Development and Careers

Personal development features throughout our art projects in every year.  All pupils will develop their independence in organising and planning their practical work, learning to work safely and carefully.  They will learn to act creatively and independently – valuing their own approach. Pupils will learn the value of resilience, determination and application to deliver outcomes that require sustained periods of work.  

There are a number of specific places where the art curriculum contributes to Personal Development for pupils at HMS. For example: 

  • Health and wellbeing
    • Year 8 identity project links to PSHE themes and is an opportunity for pupils to explore their own identity.
  • Developing character
    • Project building skills and time management come into all our projects – students are set homeworks with extended deadline to allow them to develop ambitious artwork at home.
    • Developing student creativity and imagination are key to a successful art department.  HMS offered an after school for key stage 2 and a Bronze Arts Award club for Key stage 3 – leading to 15 pupils gaining a recognised award in the arts 2023. Students experienced mask making, made giant sculptural trees and a range of other art projects.
  • Meaningful cultural experiences
    • In 2023, 120 pupils from all year groups made a gallery visit to the Baltic Art Gallery to make connections with the wider art world.
    • All pupils in year 6 visited the Queen’s Hall in Hexham to view a painting exhibition.
    • Many of the classroom projects make connections to the local environment and culture.  These connect our pupils to the place they live in painting the landscape or the architecture of their towns. 

Useful Links and Resources

There are many interesting ways to use the internet to research and appreciate art.  Some examples: offers a fantastic world view of museums and galleries 

Art and Artists | Tate  The Tate gallery in London has an excellent online directory of artists – you can search by style or individual name and gives examples of work from its own collections. The Tate’s kid section is excellent and full of fun: Tate Kids 

Art Materials and Resources

All art materials are supplied by the art department for every project.  Pupils should bring a sharp pencil and rubber to every class.  There are many additional art materials that pupils love to use and can be very helpful with homework and can support their independent creative work and inspiration. 

Optional art equipment:

  • 4B, 2B pencil or box of graded pencils (H/HB/2/4/6B) 
  • Colouring pencils – useful for other subjects too.  
  • Oil Pastels – A box of 8 or 12 oil pastels would be useful to students in all year groups  
  • Watercolour box – a junior or young artist set with 8 colour trays would be useful to students in all year groups 
  • Home sketchbook – A5 or A4.  We encourage pupils to explore and practice the techniques learned in lessons, and to follow their interests and passions for sketching, doodling, cartooning or formal drawing.  
  • PVA/white craft glue (water soluble). A standard glue excellent for 3d craft work. 
  • Coloured marker pens.  These can vary in price hugely but are very popular with students. From old fashioned felt pens to watercolour or ‘pro markers’ they add colour and control to pupil’s work. 

The ‘Great Art’ online art superstore has an incredible range and a Junior art section with good quality and value but there are many other options locally and online Artist Junior buy online ( 

Curriculum Themes


All learners with additional needs access a broad and rich classroom experience with a well-planned curriculum both within and beyond the classroom. Pupils with additional needs are enabled to achieve well by:

    • High quality planning, teaching and learning across the curriculum.
    • Adaptations made in teaching and learning to ensure all pupils succeed and learn well. 
    • Staff responding to learners’ needs and adapting teaching as a result. 
    • Teaching staff planning and delivering a wide range of high-quality interventions and support sessions. 
    • High-quality ‘Pupil Profiles’ which ensure staff know each child as an individual, including how to support their learning. 
    • Where appropriate, an ‘Individual Education Plan’ with bespoke and individualised targets is implemented, and regularly reviewed. 
    • For learners with an ‘Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)’, a wide range of individualised targets and support strategies are implemented in a multi-agency approach. 
    • Coordinating our ambitious support in school alongside a multi-agency approach to ensure that all pupils achieve their full potential. 

As part of our implementation model – the ’10 Elements of Great Teaching’ – our teaching and support staff will enable pupils with additional needs to thrive by: 

    • Planning well-sequenced lessons which build progressively in small steps. 
    • Implementing the school’s lesson design principles so that teachers gradually handover the learning through guided and independent practice. 
    • Maintaining a calm, focused, inclusive and positive environment for learning in all classrooms. 
    • Implementing a wide range of strategies to empower pupils to remember more over time and to check that this is the case. 
    • Using metacognitive strategies to encourage self-regulation and to plan, monitor and evaluate learning. 
    • Delivering expectations and instructions clearly in small steps. 
    • Teaching subject-specific vocabulary (tier 3), alongside tier 2 vocabulary, and ensuring that it is used and retained. 
    • Using a wide range of teaching resources and materials to support all learners including visual and audio resources. 
    • Using high-quality modelling in lessons through the ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach. 
    • Using a wide range of scaffolds to support learning including writing frames, planning structures, word processing. 
    • Providing high-quality worked examples which narrate the learning, steps and processes so that pupils develop their independence of learning. 
    • Using organisers such as ‘Knowledge Organisers’, diagrams, planning structures and writing frames to support pupils’ learning. 
    • Allowing pupils to record their ideas in a range of ways including, where necessary, by using online resources and visual/audio support. 
    • Providing word lists/vocabulary banks to support pupils’ access to learning. 
    • Using sentence stems to promote positive talk and discussion. 
    • Using flexible groupings in the classroom so that pupils can learn alongside and from each other. 
    • Implementing dyslexia-friendly approach to reading and writing tasks. 
    • Modelling thinking out loud strategies across the curriculum. 
    • Using a wide range of technologies including online resources, voice recording and visualisers to model worked examples.