Art & DesignSUB MENU
The Art department is housed in the Rugg Centre. The department is based around a large, purpose built, light filled studio on the top floor. Pupils have access to a ceramics room, printmaking studio, specialist library and the Upper Sixth enjoy their own studio spaces on the mezzanine level.
Art and Design is integral to a young person’s development. We place emphasis on the acquisition of technical skill, drawing from direct observation, investigation and personal expression. Pupils are encouraged to analyse, solve and evaluate visual and intellectual problems. We aim to help pupils be self motivated, gain confidence and develop initiative through working in a stimulating studio environment.
Pupils work in both 2D and 3D, including painting, drawing, printmaking, mixed media, pottery, ceramics and sculpture. GCSE students follow the OCR syllabus which aims to stimulate imagination, sensitivity, conceptual thinking and powers of observation. In the Sixth Form, pupils are given increasing freedom to make choices and to take responsibility for the direction of their learning.
The outstanding achievements of our examination groups are celebrated in June at our annual GCSE and A Level exhibitions. We also have established a successful programme of exhibitions held annually in central Cambridge for our Sixth Form artists to celebrate their work in public. Many of our Upper Sixth artists choose to continue their studies in Art and Design at major Art schools and universities.
Over the two years, pupils will cover two units of coursework (60% of marks). The final examination is an early release paper allowing the pupils to have plenty of time to develop extensive preparatory work before the timed examination session of ten hours (40% of marks).
Each unit consists of, and is assessed within, the following areas:
- Develop - Investigation, research, development of ideas and analysis of contextual sources.
- Refine - Experimentation and use of a wide range of media and techniques.
- Record - Observational drawing and recording.
- Present - To bring together 1, 2 and 3 into a finished piece.
Working from a single starting point, pupils develop their own direction of study with increasing freedom and variety, resulting in an impressive body of work displayed in an exhibition at the end of the course. Drawing, painting and printmaking form the backbone of the course. Within this, pupils are introduced to a wide variety of techniques including drypoint etching, collography, relief printing, transfer printing, screen printing, textile printing, ceramics, sculpture and mixed media.
A Level (OCR)
A Level Art prepares pupils who wish to go on to Higher Education, to follow an Art Foundation course or to work in the wider field of Art and related Art and Design practice. It also complements many other subjects from the Humanities to the Sciences. The course builds on, but is not dependent upon, the knowledge, understanding and skills acquired at GCSE Art and Design. However the most important requirement is a high level of self motivation and enjoyment of the subject.
The new OCR Art A Level has two components of work spread over two years which comprise the full course. The first is a personal investigation (60% of marks) comprising one major project and a related personal study (1000-3000 words). The second is an externally set task (40% of marks) which follows a period of about six weeks of preparation and is 15 hours in length.
There is scope for a high degree of personal experimentation with an emphasis on exploration of technique and materials leading to the final examination. The pupils will work from given starting points and subject matter, with the emphasis on process, the acquisition of practical skills and contextual study. Pupils are expected to produce a body of work that is specialised in nature. They may select the area in which they wish to work. The emphasis at A Level is product rather than process.
Two main specialisms are available: Art, Craft & Design or Fine Art.
Pupils' Prize Winning Work
In the last few years we have enjoyed wider success with our pupils entered into regional and national art competitions, including prize-winning work being exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London, and The Leys Art Department being shortlisted in the Saatchi Gallery/Sunday Telegraph Art Prize for Schools 2010 from an international field of 18,000 entries.
Gallery of Pupil Work
All projects start with drawing, discussion and usually a demonstration. Pupils are expected to show how they can explore ideas imaginatively, be inspired by the work of other artists, and to experiment with materials and techniques. Pupils start learning clay work early on by coiling pots and experimenting with slab building.
At GCSE, pupils work towards a more sophisticated final piece as part of their work. These tend to fall into two categories that become either functional or non-functional, and naturally lead into discussions about ceramics or sculpture. At this level, techniques become more advanced and pupils experiment with surface texture, pattern and colour. When designing a final piece a student will need to show their understanding of space and form, and the materials and its properties. We often have discussions about structure, tension and weight when designing three-dimensional works.
Processes are more highly developed at A Level; methods include casting, subtractive (when material is removed by carving and cutting) and additive (where materials are added).
Our specialist studio for printmaking houses an etching press, fabric printing table and a range of professional printmaking tools and inks. The Print Studio is used by pupils doing GCSE and A Level Art. The print facilities allow a diversity of techniques, including dry-point etching, screen printing, relief printing, collography, waterless lithography and monotype.
Pupils are encouraged to experiment with new media; digital imaging, glass engraving and printing onto alternative surfaces such as fine plaster, glass, canvas and fabrics. Technical help is provided to ensure processes are taught safely and correctly.
Printmaking is encouraged as an avenue of research, experimentation and refinement of ideas for all pupils. Many of our pupils translate ideas into print editions and this affords further variety to their achievements in this subject area.
The Art department runs a very busy programme of visits to galleries and museums in London and around the UK throughout the school year.
Recent visits have included the Victoria and Albert Museum, the UEA Sainsbury Centre Collection, Tate Britain and Tate Modern.
In addition, we make a regular trip to a European city of culture and interest. The last few trips have been to Paris. These trips usually take place in the Autumn/Lent half-term break, allowing the pupils a wonderful opportunity to see works of art first hand in a new and exciting environment.
The Trumpington Gallery is our newest art gallery space, situated on the first floor of Great Hall.
The gallery is named after Baroness Trumpington, who was at The Leys from 1958 to 1975 as wife of the Headmaster, Alan Barker.
- Ms Jessica Hebden MA - Head of Art
- Miss Clare Battison BA - Art & Ceramics Teacher
- Ms Monika Keeble BA - Art Teacher
- Miss Damaris Dresser - Art Technician