Our Lady's Abingdon - Art


Overview of the Art and Design curriculum at OLA

Art and Design is an integral part of our lived experience. Engaging with the visual world enhances and challenges the manner in which we perceive and interpret all life.

Art and Design at OLA is, therefore, central to our pupils’ creative and aesthetic sensibility. In Art each pupil is encouraged to seek out personal responses and find new ways in which to visually express their understanding of the world and to make valid cross cultural/cross curricular references.

Therefore, openness, independent thinking, self-confidence, self-worth and mutual esteem are at the foundation of our aims and objectives. Our policy of exhibition of pupils’ art work throughout the school stimulates, informs and reinforces the absorption of visual imagery in our working environment.


Art and Design is part of the core curriculum followed by all pupils in Years 7 to 9 and is an optional subject from Years 10 to the Upper 6th.

We have excellent facilities with a suite of rooms dedicated to the teaching of drawing, painting, print, ceramics, mixed media and sculpture.

Years 7-9

The courses are structured to broadly introduce the pupils to the formal elements of line, tone, colour, pattern and material manipulation through themed projects in Year 7, while incorporating a fully realised three-dimensional project in Year 8.

In Year 9 we offer a course of study which builds on the experiences learned while extending technical skills in paint, print and ceramics.

The course in Year 9 offers grounding for those who may wish to pursue Art at GCSE while providing a foundation of transferable skills for those who will not be undertaking a further course of study in the subject.

The work in Years 7 to 9 is assessed in various ways, for example, classwork and homework assignments, end of topic tests and an end of year examination usually held after the May half term break.

Co-curricular Art Activities in Years 7 to 9

Lunchtime clubs are offered four days a week where pupils are encouraged to pursue personal projects, catch up on homework tasks or follow up on work that has been done in the classroom.

Clubs are an opportunity to meet with other year groups and share ideas in a creative, relaxed environment.

Years 10-11

Fine Art: 

This course is assessed as follows:

Component 1: Portfolio
96 marks, 60% of the GCSE and undertaken over the course of Year10 and Year11

Component 2: Externally Set Task 
96 marks, 40% of the GCSE and undertaken in Year 11 at the end of the spring term.

Areas of study in Fine Art include:

a) Drawing
b) Painting (monoprint, collagraph and block printing)
c) Sculpture/Ceramics
d) Installation
e) Photography and moving image
f) Printmaking
g) Mixed Media
h) Land Art

Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

Pupils will develop and apply their knowledge, understanding and skills within the context of fine art practice in their areas of study so that they have an appreciation of:

1. How sources within historical, social, environmental, cultural and environmental contexts will inform their work
2. How themes, forms, feelings and concerns can inspire their art work
3. Different media and its purpose
4. All formal elements of line, colour, tone, texture, shape and form.

There are additional costs for materials associated with this course.


Trips for Art in Years 10 and 11

A Tate Modern Visit is run at the beginning of Year 10 and Year 11 as a general introduction to Art practice. It is not compulsory but it is encouraged.

Co-curricular Art Activities in Years 10 and 11

Alongside the lunchtime clubs, which GCSE candidates are encouraged to attend, there is a GCSE after-school-club one day a week.

Sixth Form