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Art Curriculum Intent


At Essa, we want to inspire, engage and challenge children by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to become passionate and confident artists. Our curriculum is ambitious and engaging and allows children to develop a deep understanding of art and design as they progress through the school. We ensure that the children learn skills and processes (disciplinary knowledge) and also learn key facts about artists and craftspeople (substantive knowledge. Our children learn to appreciate and evaluate the work of a range of artists from different backgrounds, faiths, cultures and ethnicities, which allows them to see how art can be a medium for self expression.  This also allows them to see how art can reflect the local context in which they live but also provide them with a window into a more diverse world. 

The curriculum allows our children to develop their technical skills, using a wide variety of techniques and these are progressive from EYFS to Year 6.  To ensure that this progression is embedded, we use 'Big Ideas' as 'golden threads'.


The 'Big Ideas' for Art are:

  • Colour

  • Form

  • Line

  • Pattern

  • Shape

  • Space

  • Texture

These golden threads run through our curriculum planning from Reception to Year 6 and allow children to explore common themes across different units of work. Careful consideration is given to building a schema of art knowledge and following a well-sequenced curriculum to allow children to make links over time and between themes. Our art curriculum is not about reproducing the work of artists and craftspeople, but is about providing them with the opportunity to develop their understanding of artists, art movements, techniques and methods. It allows them to develop their own critical thinking, creativity and imagination when exploring and producing art.

Art Curriculum Implementation

The curriculum is built on the foundation of three 'Es':

Entitlement or core curriculum offer

The development of art skills begins in EYFS through physical development and expressive arts and design. The children have the opportunity to begin to build their knowledge and skills through daily continuous provision, completing weekly challenges and other enhanced provision. In KS1 and KS2, art is delivered in units of work across the year and children are given the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills using a range of different media such as fine art, mixed media, sculpture, pastel, paint and charcoal. All children have an art sketchbook to celebrate their artistic journey and development as they move through the school. This allows them to record their creative learning and show their understanding of how artists and craftspeople have shaped history and influenced our world. To develop our children's cultural capital, all children experience an art visit or visitor at least once in each phase of their learning.


Children who demonstrate a love of art have the opportunity to develop this in a number of ways:

  • Art clubs in KS1 and KS2 that allow children to explore their passions

  • Termly art competitions

  • Educational visits

  • Whole school art theme week

  • Visits to the school art gallery 


Children who excel in art have the opportunity to pursue their talents in a number of ways:

  • Projects with other local schools

  • Specific clubs focusing on the wider arts

  • Arts department forms part of the pupil leadership team

  • The opportunity to have your work featured in the school art gallery

Our Art curriculum overview can be found below:

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