Art & Design


At St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Voluntary Academy, the intent of the Art and Design curriculum is to provide children with the knowledge and understanding that creativity is everywhere in their lives and that it reflects our own, and others, past and present heritage and culture.

We recognise and value all children’s perspective of the world around them.

We aim for children to have acquired the essential characteristics of artists:

  • The ability to use visual language skillfully and convincingly (for example, line, shape, pattern, colour, texture, form) to express emotions, interpret observations, convey insights and accentuate their individuality.
  • The ability to communicate fluently in visual and tactile form.
  • The ability to draw confidently and adventurously from observation, memory and imagination
  • The ability to explore and invent marks, develop and deconstruct ideas and communicate perceptively and powerfully through purposeful drawing in 2D, 3D or digital media.
  • An impressive knowledge and understanding of other artists, craftmakers and designers.
  • The ability to think and act like creative practitioners by using their knowledge and understanding to inform, inspire and interpret ideas, observations and feelings.
  • Independence, initiative and originality which they can use to develop their creativity.
  • The ability to select and use materials, processes and techniques skillfully and inventively to realise intentions and capitalise on the unexpected.
  • The ability to reflect on, analyse and critically evaluate their own work and that of others.
  • A passion for and a commitment to the subject.


Curriculum drivers shape our curriculum breadth in Art and Design. They are derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our students, our beliefs about high quality education and our Franciscan Values. They are used to ensure we give our students appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities. Our curriculum drivers are community, spirituality, culture, democracy and possibilities.

Cultural capital gives our students the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British values.

Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum drivers. cultural capital, subject topics and our ambition for students to study the best of what has been thought, created, designed and said by many generations of artists, designers, craftmakers, academics and scholars.

Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and ‘curriculum themes’. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied.

Curriculum Themes

Curriculum Themes tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema. The same themes are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, students return to the same themes over and over and gradually build understanding of them.

In Art and Design, these curriculum themes are:

  • Develop ideas (Understanding how ideas develop through an artistic process)
  • Master Techniques (Developing a skill set so that ideas may be communicated)
  • Take inspiration from the greats(Learning from both the artistic process and techniques of great artists and artisans throughout history).

Golden Threads

These golden threads help students to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema.

In Art and Design these golden threads include:

  • Media and Materials
  • Colour Theory
  • Effects; Techniques
  • Emotions
  • Visual Language
  • Process
  • Artists and Artisans
  • Styles and Periods.

Cognitive science tells us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if students are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long-term memory. Cognitive science also tells us that in order for students to become creative thinkers,or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, which takes time.


For each of the curriculum themes, there are three Milestones, each of which includes the procedural knowledge and golden threads in each subject to give students a way of expressing their understanding of the curriculum themes. Milestone 1 is to taught across Years 1 and 2, milestone 2 is taught across Year 3 and 4 and milestone 3 is taught across Year 5 and Year 6

Cognitive Domains

Within each Milestone, students gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. The goal for students is to display sustained mastery at the ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the end of each milestone and for the most able to have a greater depth of understanding at the ‘deep’ stage.