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The Art department at Wymondham High Academy is a lively, forward looking and dynamic centre of creativity. We aim to nurture and support students in a stimulating, thought provoking and innovative learning environment which will assist and develop students’ artistic experiences.
“ …Art develops spiritual values and contributes a wider understanding to the experience of life, which helps to build a balanced personality”.
About the Department
The Art department at Wymondham High Academy currently consists of 6 dedicated and enthusiastic members of teaching staff, supported by an extremely skilled technician. All staff in the department are highly trained experts in their own creative field with the flexibility to teach across all disciplines. This allows us to offer a broad, innovative and exciting curriculum from KS3 to KS5. The curriculum provides a visual, tactile and sensory experience and a unique way of understanding and responding to the world we live in.
Students at Wymondham High Academy learn how the formal elements of line, shape, form, tone, colour and texture of different materials and processes communicate what they see, feel and think. Students are encouraged to verbally communicate and explore ideas and meaning in the work of a wide range of contemporary artists and designers. They learn about the diverse roles and functions of art, craft and design and how crucial the creative industry is to everyday life.
The department’s objectives are to make art meaningful, enjoyable and accessible to all students through carefully planned projects. We provide a unique means of self-expression whilst promoting and nurturing the confidence and desire in the students to produce work of real quality, ingenuity and skill. Practical demonstrations and specialised workshops are central to the teaching ethos of the department providing an effective means of introducing new skills and techniques whilst nurturing confidence and creativity. Teaching and Learning is a key focus of the department. The subjects are very popular, with a very high uptake at GCSE and A level year upon year. Results at GCSE and A Level are very impressive, and we believe all students can achieve in the subject.
We teach a wide range of Art related disciplines to students at KS3 including drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media, photography, Photoshop editing and 3D relief work. Skills, knowledge, understanding and reflection are integral to our teaching.
With our 3 Year GCSE course (following the creative Pearson specification), Year 8 students can select from Fine Art, Textiles or Photography at GCSE. In Year 11 GCSE, students have the choice of continuing their studies at A Level in Fine Art, Art Textiles and Art Multimedia with the flexible Pearson A Level specification. The contemporary and unique Art Multimedia course which started in September 2009 has been very popular and successful and has embraced contemporary digital media such as digital photography / manipulation, digital illustration, graphic design, computer game design, 3D modelling, digital animation, film making and web site design. This course is unlike any other found in local 6th Form curriculums and we encourage students to visit us to look at the work that students produce.
The Art department at Wymondham High Academy is extremely well respected locally and nationally not only because of the excellent exam results but also because of its success in many local and national Art competitions. Examples include the East Anglian Schools Portrait prize, having A Level work selected for the RBA annual show in the Mall Galleries, London, and GCSE and A Level work exhibited and awarded at Norwich Rotary and Norwich University of the Arts for their collaborative Beyond The Frame photography competition. The Art Department has regular success in the Royal Norfolk Show Art Competition and we continue to be very successful in the Norfolk Art and Design KS5 competition which has been annually hosted by Norwich University of the Arts over the last 3 years. We are fortunate to have many students shortlisted and highly commended.
Back in February 2013, the Pearson exam board used all our 2012 GCSE work as examples of good practice in their UK moderator’s standardisation meeting at Warwick University. This was a special and notable accolade for the department and for Wymondham High Academy.
In October half term 2013, the Department moved into a brand new £3 million two storey teaching block. The Art department is located on the second floor, in a semi open plan configuration. This provides the Art department with an environment and facilities that are truly state of the art. This has acknowledged the department as a flagship of excellence in the Eastern region. We have four main art studios which are ideal for drawing (including termly life drawing at A-Level and GCSE for selected students), painting, printing and Art textile work due to an abundance of space and natural light. We are currently in the process of modernising our two kilns so we can once again offer a ceramic provision to selected students. We have a photography darkroom and studio light equipment for our Photography and Art Multimedia students. The department also benefits from a comprehensive computer suite with the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, graphic tablets, colour printing, photocopying and scanning facilities.
Extra-Curricular / Educational Visits
The Art department really values the importance of educational visits to enrich and enhance students’ learning. Every year the department organises two study trips to Cambridge / Norwich / Gt. Yarmouth (for Photography and Year 12 Art Multimedia students) and either Cromer or Wells-next-the-Sea (for Year 10 Fine Art, Photography and Textile students). Textiles students in Year 12 and Year 13 visit the Knitting and Stitching Show in London every October. Year 12 and Year 13 students annually visit the print making workshops at the prestigious Curwen Print Studios in Cambridgeshire. The department has very strong links with the Curwen staff which has resulted in a 2-day in reach visit with Year 9 Fine Art students every November since 2013. This is always a superb experience as the students really benefit and learn from working alongside practising printmakers.
The department also arranges gallery visits such as the A Level visit to the Norwich University of the Arts Degree Show and to local and national collections for all GCSE and A Level students at the beginning of the externally set assignment in February/March. Year 8 students visit the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA) and/or Norwich Castle every February since 2012. Students are always encouraged by Department staff to visit local and national exhibitions such as the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition in London as part of their commitment to learning outside the classroom and immersing themselves in contemporary and exciting artistic practice.
The department undertakes a biennial international residential visit to provide A Level students with an opportunity to visit galleries of international distinction and to experience the local culture. In 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 we visited Paris. This year, 2020 we were due to visit Berlin but has been rescheduled for 2022.
Further and Higher Education
Many students have left the Art Department at Wymondham High Academy and progressed to further and higher education in art related subjects at prestigious art institutions such as Central St. Martins (UAL) and UCL for Architecture. Students have also progressed to degree courses at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Wimbledon, Bournemouth College of Art, Leeds College of Art, Loughborough College of Art, Falmouth College of Art and more locally, Norwich University of the Arts, to name but a few.
Over the 2 years at A Level, students generate a large and substantial body of quality work which will support a portfolio of work in preparation for face to face and remote interviews for foundation courses, BA (Hons) and future MA courses in art related subjects at Art Colleges across the country.
-Key Stage 3 students receive one piece of homework every half term. Students are expected to work on their homework for at least an hour. On occasions, staff will set an extended piece of homework called a DIRT task (dedicated improvement and refinement task) which provides students with the opportunity to improve their homework based on teacher feedback. This work is then peer assessed in class.
-Key Stage 4 students receive between two and three hours’ homework each week (variable depending on the task).
-Key Stage 5 students receive between three and four hours’ homework each week (variable depending on the task and matched to the number of lessons they have.)
*Books, equipment, materials and resources recommended for Key Stage 3 students are provided by the Department with good quality A4 sketchbooks for their lessons in Year 7 and 8.
*Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 students are expected to purchase their A3 and A2 sketchbooks, through the online ParentMail shop. A3 sketchbooks are priced at £4.00 for GCSE; at A Level there are A3 and A2 sketchbook options (white and black paper) from £4.00 to £10.00.
All students are expected to arrive at every lesson with the basic stationery/equipment as stated in the Academy expectations.