St Edmund’s takes a pride in the creative element of its education and regular, timetabled Art lessons throughout Junior School are a key element in this. Our aim is not to make practising artists of all pupils but to make them visually literate; to make them aware of the world about them and appreciative of its beauties, so they can express themselves through Art as they do in writing.
An ability to record from direct observation and personal experience is nurtured through drawing; the core of all Art and Design activity. Pupils are introduced to the formal elements of painting; including composition, colour theory and handling of brushes. New skills and approaches are introduced each year and children are offered rich and varied learning opportunities.
In Forms 3-5 children explore Art with their own form teachers and their work is often topic-based, tying in with subjects they are studying elsewhere in the curriculum, particularly History, Geography and Science. There is an Art component on some field trips. Working in different media, children experience printing, portraiture and sculpture, including outdoor art. They learn about and emulate artistic traditions from different cultures, periods and styles. Every child has the satisfaction and reward of seeing their work displayed in their classroom or in the corridors.
Junior School pupils in Forms 6-8 are taught in the Senior School by Art specialists who are all practising artists in their own right. Pupils learn in dedicated art facilities where they are introduced to specialist working methods. In Form 6 pupils are introduced to basic drawing and painting skills. Form 7 pupils are taught by one art teacher for the whole year and build on skills learned the previous year. They experience a wider range of media and approaches using thematic starting points; including observed and imaginative responses to visual and non-visual inspiration, including literature. There is an opportunity to develop these projects through printmaking or three-dimensional outcomes. Sketchbooks are used to record and develop ideas.
Form 8 pupils spend one third of the academic year studying each of the specialist areas of Drawing and Painting, Printmaking and Ceramics. New experiences include Photography, Lino printing inspired by Art Nouveau architecture and coiling and decorating pots informed by the study of African artefacts and pattern.
Highly popular Junior School Art clubs are run weekly in both Art and Ceramics to allow pupils to extend their learning and enjoyment of the subject.
Pupils at St Edmund’s enjoy an enviable breadth and depth of Art and Design experiences and the ability to work with quality materials and professional equipment in purpose built studios. Art, Photography and Ceramics are offered at examination level where the department enjoys a high level of success; and many candidates going on to study degree courses. The Junior School art syllabus forms the foundation of later practice.