The Art Department has a very important role to play in the school life of St Anthony’s.

Our departmental aims are:

  • to offer a stimulating, exciting educational environment in which students of all abilities are offered a comparable range of artistic opportunities;
  • to provide a curriculum which offers breadth, balance, relevance, differentiation, progression and continuity;
  • to encourage behaviour which is based on Christian and moral values: respectful, orderly and disciplined. Each member of staff models these expectations;
  • to produce interesting, vibrant work which is displayed in each art room and around the school, in order to promote good practice and praise the work of our students. Work is also displayed in external exhibitions.
  • to deliver a comprehensive and integrated curriculum to all pupils at KS3, and to those who choose the subject in GCSE and A Level;
  • to provide opportunities for creative development through drawing, painting, Illustration, and a further variety of 2D and 3D media;
  • to enrich students learning pupils are set a series of homework’s which allow them to explore materials, artists and techniques outside of class time. All students are encouraged to explore their artistic practice on an individual basis, affording every student the chance to practice, learn and develop as an artist. Student homework is recorded in their homework books at the start of each new unit of work.  After a review of the homework policy the introduction of PLTS (Personal Learning and Thinking Skills) homework’s were introduced. This affords our KS3 students the opportunity to explore and experiment with materials outside of the classroom and share their artistic practice with their family members and friends.  The tasks allow all students the opportunity to develop a homework based on their strengths and the materials they feel most comfortable exploring, in turn improving their progress and attainment over the year;
  • to give opportunities for individual, paired and small group work and assessment including constructive criticism and the reflection and appreciation of good practice;
  • to help every student maintain and in some cases exceed their potential and to gain success, no matter how great or small that success may be;
  • to offer an environment which is safe, organised and above all stimulating for the students to work in;
  • to broaden pupils range of skills and artistic knowledge through contextual studies (which includes as much contact with live art as is possible), a range of appropriate vocabulary, and the opportunity to take part in experimentation;
  • to regularly update resources and to ensure that each student has a high quality of materials to work with, so they will be expected to and want to produce a high quality of work;
  • to challenge stereotypes – in other words, there are no limits to the outcome a well-motivated pupil can produce. All students are encouraged to develop their own style, especially those who study the subject at KS4 and 5;
  • to give students the opportunity to develop a portfolio of work, specifically in KS4 and KS5, which can be used at interview or when applying for further courses at universities, apprenticeships or the workplace;


Extra-Curricular Activities

  • Students enjoy spending time outside of lessons in the department and are encouraged by all staff to do so. We pride ourselves on trying, where at all possible, to accommodate keen artist of all ages outside of class time.
  • The department is open each lunch time for all students and one night a week after school for KS4 and KS5 students to come and work, receive extra help and support as well as having access to materials and equipment which they may not have at home.
  • KS3 art club runs over one lunch time per week for artists who feel they would like to seriously consider this popular subject at GCSE level and further into A Level.  This also helps with KS3 homework.
  • Several other activities carried out as whole school initiatives often overlap with Art and Photography including student ambassadors and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
  • An international tour is planned every year for GCSE and A Level students. Past destinations have included Barcelona and Venice.
  • We encourage all students to submit their work in a range of competitions both locally and nationally. We have a successful track record of celebrating these successes across a range of age groups.


The information below is designed to give an outline of what students can expect to study in Art, Design and Photography from Year 7 up to Year 13.  The tables show what projects will be studied by individual teaching groups, what students will be assessed on and what key skills will be learned and developed by the students as the year progresses.


Key Stage 3


Year 7 Intent Planning Art and Photography Department

Year 8 Intent Planning Art and Photography Department

Year 9 Intent Planning Art and Photography Department

St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy – Art Curriculum Map KS3 and KS4

Students at KS3 have the opportunity to take part in a variety of Art and Photography challenges outside of class and, in some instances school, such as the ‘Big Doodle’ and KS3 Photography Competition.  A trip is organised for students who opt for a GCSE in Fine Art.  Where possible we endeavour to make this an international trip across several year groups.

Students are not required to bring any specialist equipment to school for their Art classes; however, it is often the case that students have access to a variety of materials at home to help them with the experimental element of their homework tasks.  Students are expected to bring basic materials to school with them.  This includes a drawing pencil (several if possible), an eraser, a pencil sharpener, a ruler, a fine-liner, a writing pen and coloured pencils.  Other materials, such as paint, will be provided for students.

The following links can be used as extra resources for students to research and develop their artistic knowledge and skill; however, teachers will guide students to specific websites or resources as and when they are necessary:



We offer a GCSE in Fine Art through the exam board AQA.  For further information on this course and assessment please visit the AQA website via the link below and download a copy of the specification to see the full range of disciplines and course details available under the Fine Art banner.

Year 10

Year 10 Intent Planning Art and Photography Department

St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy – Art Curriculum Map KS3 and KS4

Topics Covered Resources Available

All of the coursework covered in years 10 and 11 forms the Portfolio Unit.  This portfolio of coursework is worth approximately 60% of the full GCSE Fine Art certificate.

Sketchbooks and journals form a large part of the work students produce and these are historically exciting and creative, allowing students to explore and develop ideas within their own personal artistic interests.

Students work in a variety of media, including painting and drawing, printing, 3D and photography. This course is very wide and varied.

Catholic Partnership topic and Exhibition Opportunities.  The Catholic Partnership organises an annual exhibition in which our students have the chance to exhibit work to the general public.  This is an excellent opportunity for students to engage in and is a real bonus for students CV’s in the future.

Term 1 – Identity

Students use a wide variety of media to produce work based on their own identity.  This can be anything from everyday objects or influences to a broader engagement with local cultures or landmarks.  Direct observation is key to all projects as well as experimentation and exploration.  A personal journey for each student is encouraged. Artists and craftspeople will be used to add context and influence the project.

A Final outcome will be completed at the end of term1

Examples of the work of a number of given artists will be available in the art room and given by staff in a variety of ways. Teaching and learning is diverse and interactive with students developing an excellent skills base as well as historical context.

All rooms are well equipped with artist’s materials including 3D, printing and mixed media materials should a student wish to take her ideas into these mediums, on top of the more traditional Fine Art materials including drawing and painting. IT equipment is also available to incorporate digital aspects of photography and digital manipulation should this be appropriate to a students’ personal development.

Students are able to sign up to several extra-curricular activities including the Catholic Partnership Durham Cathedral Exhibition.

Formal assessment is carried out every half term and students are marked against the GCSE criteria set down by the exam board.  This continues over year 10 and 11.  Students are able to set their own personal targets and progress is documented as the year progresses.  Teachers also give a formal written comment.  Outside of this students receive verbal and informal feedback in class.  As a department we endeavour to make as much time as possible to students on an individual level.  This may also occur after school and during lunch time sessions.

Term 2 – Environments

An in depth study into the landscape and how artists and craftspeople have depicted it over time.  Students will be taught how to produce successful landscapes in a variety of media and look at artwork from a variety of contextual sources.

This will link into the second main topic of Environments. Students will work to their own starting points under staff guidance, being as experimental as possible and showing a deep understanding of the work of others.

A final outcome will be produced as well as several interim pieces along the way.

Students begin to specialise with certain materials and a deeper focus on assessment objectives and criteria are apparent.  Students begin to work on any areas which may require improvement to add consistency to their portfolio.

A mock exam is held whereby students work on a task set by their teacher.  This often involves making progress on a certain element of their coursework and normally occurs over one full day off timetable.

Term 3 – Personal Project

Students are advised on several starting points but this is an opportunity for students to develop and design their own projects completely from scratch.  This method of working allows students to focus on a personal topic in which they have a real artistic interest.  It also prepares them for the course set up at A2 Level should they wish to continue their studies further.  As before, experimentation and exploration are key as staff facilitate the progress of individual students.

This project runs over the final term of year 10 and the first term of year 11

A final piece along with several interim pieces should be produced as the project progresses.

Gallery visits (both day and residential) are included in the summer term to give students the experience of seeing Art and Craft first hand.  Some of our previous excursions have included The Hepworth Wakefield and The Yorkshire Sculpture Park for year 10, and Edinburgh and Glasgow/London residential visits are open to year 10 Fine Art students.

Where appropriate international trips and visits are organised.  Previous destinations include Venice, Barcelona and Paris.

We endeavour, where appropriate and possible. To engage students in an array of artwork outside of the confines of the classroom.

Year 11

Year 11 Intent Planning Art and Photography Department

St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy – Art Curriculum Map KS3 and KS4

Topics Covered Resources Available

Term 1

Students Personal Projects will continue to be worked on this year as the major piece of Portfolio work with a number of students producing more than 1 final outcome as a result of extensive and in-depth developmental work.

The final selection for the portfolio is up to the choice of the student and this often takes place as a discussion between staff and pupils.

Term 2 – Externally Set Task

All students are given a choice of exam questions for the Controlled Test.  This unit of work makes up the remaining 40% of the course.  These questions or topics are set by AQA in early January and form the basis for the work of term 2 in year 11. The deadline for the completion of the exam unit is before Easter.  Students do not sit a formal exam, however, this exam unit and the production of a final outcome must be completed under controlled conditions set down by the exam board, normally over the course of two days off timetable.

Term 3

Some students use this time to complete outstanding areas of their portfolio and others produce smaller mini-projects developing a certain skills base or improving upon an area of weakness within their portfolio.  Work is firstly marked by staff in-house and then moderated by an external moderator.

Students have vast resources to work from and a very wide variety of media to help them produce interesting and exciting outcomes, following all four assessment objectives and their own personal targets.





Students are given an individual copy of the exam paper and are asked to select one question/theme.

It is not a requirement that students bring any specialist materials into school, however, due to the level of work expected most students invest in paint and other materials at home in order to continue their practice outside of timetabled lessons.  It is a requirement that students work on their portfolios at home and having the required materials aids this massively. Students are expected to bring a drawing pencil (several if possible of varying grades), an eraser, a pencil sharpener, a fine-liner, a writing pen, a ruler and coloured pencils.  As the course progresses the girls will become more aware of their material needs and can therefore judge what is worthwhile investing in outside of the departments stock.  It is also advisable that the girls have access to a PC and printer, ideally a colour printer, and a digital camera to assist with their studies.  We do have these in department but again most girls are able to source this outside of the classroom.

The following online resources may be of some benefit to students at GCSE level:


KS5 – AS and A2 Level

Year 12 Intent Planning Art and Photography Department

Year 13 Intent Planning Art and Photography Department

St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy – Art and Photography Curriculum Map KS5

We offer A-Levels in Fine Art and Photography through the exam board AQA.  For further information on this course and assessment please visit the AQA website via the link below and download a copy of the specification to see the full range of disciplines and course details available under the both subjects.

Fine Art

The role of Fine Art at St. Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy

The Fine Art here at St. Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy has a rich history of success and excellent outcomes and we pride ourselves on developing and nurturing the best in contemporary young talent.

Fine Art is offered as an option in year 12 and 13 and leads on from the GCSE level in the same subject.  This course allows learners to develop their artistic skill and style, moulding them into the Fine Artists and creative thinkers of the future.  Skills are built upon from GCSE level and a portfolio of work is assembled by each individual student, an extremely valuable asset when applying for any creative position either at university or through apprenticeship schemes.

AS candidates are required to create a portfolio of work demonstrating a range of knowledge and skills based on the traditional methods of Fine Art.  This is supplemented by the more recent works and inspirations of modern and contemporary artists to give students a diverse and holistic view over art history and different contextual environments.

The course starts with a look at Portraits and the Figure, subjects long admired and pursued in Art.  We take part in a life drawing class for one day in conjunction with Sunderland University.  This trains students to look at and accurately draw the figure and portraits.  These sketches and outcomes form the basis of the student’s progress, which they can then develop in whichever stylistic or materialistic way possible as long as they make reference to and hit the assessment objectives of the course. This project will normally have several large scale interim pieces and a final outcome.

The second project looks at the theme of Structures. This is deliberately left open to interpretation so that students can be uniquely creative and pursue an area of personal interest.  Past ideas around this theme have included natural forms and architecture.  Again the project will consist of sketchbook developments and work culminating in several interim pieces and a final outcome.

The two projects are designed to be very broad and open to interpretation so that students can follow a creative path of specific personal interest to them whilst adhering to the assessment criteria of the course.  Once the two coursework projects are complete students finish the year with an externally set exam paper.  Students have the option of several questions and must choose one.  This paper is released in February and students complete an exam project up until Easter time.  Students then have several days off timetable to complete a final outcome for their exam, this normally occurs just after the Easter Holidays.  All work is then marked and moderated by an external moderator.

The A2 course takes these skills and experiences further, requiring the students to produce coursework based on themes and subject matter developed from their own personal starting points. Students use the context of an area of art history to produce a critical studies essay.  This is a requirement of the course.

Past successful themes include Self Image, Childhood and Heritage, Memories and The Human Form.  This allows students to develop a creative portfolio of work which can then be used to take to interview and on into student’s further education and careers.

Again there is an exam released in February and students produce a project based on one of the exam boards starting points, the culmination of this happening just after the Easter Holidays.



We know from all those who internally, and externally, review the work of our school that our students are cheerful, creative, conscientious and confident.  Employers regularly tell us that our students are professional and act with honesty and integrity.  Our school has been very successful with numerous external accreditations, for the community and the individuals within it, over many decades.  Our staff and students very much feel part of our Mercy community.

As a department our aim is to offer a stimulating and exciting educational environment in which students of all abilities are offered a comparable range of artistic opportunities and feel comfortable to excel with their creative endeavours.  We strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by providing investigative and enquiry based learning opportunities throughout our curriculum.  Our Art and Design curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression.  This can be clearly evidenced in our Intent and Implementation documents, which clearly reflect the planned curriculum on offer in all years and the impact can be seen in a multitude of ways outlined below:

  • Art and Design learning is loved by teachers and pupils across school. This is clear from the working atmosphere in the department and through conversation with staff, students, parents and other stakeholders
  • Both staff and students are always keen to learn new skills and keep practices contemporary and fresh. We strive for perfection at all times and encourage motivation and aspiration by embracing challenge and change.  This can be evidenced in our continual review and updating of teaching topics and methods
  • Teachers have high expectations and quality evidence can be seen in sketchbooks and portfolio’s of work
  • Students creative work often contains cross-curricular links, and helps them to express feelings and emotions, as well as show their knowledge and understanding of key practical skills. This enables students to have a positive impact within family, friendship groups, school/college, university, the workplace and the wider community.  The process of creativity is also very mindful and can aid in students ability to concentrate, destress and improve appreciation and observation of the world around them
  • Staff in the Art and Photography department support subject specific literacy and numeracy for all our students to help them succeed in their studies and they aim to holistically develop the gifts and talents of each individual within a caring, compassionate, charitable and challenging Christian environment. Evidence of this can be found in the multitude of engaging and supportive resources produced by departmental staff and used regularly in class
  • All students explore and use technical vocabulary accurately and pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified.
  • Students become more confident in analysing their work and applying constructive feedback and opinion to their own and others work
  • Our teaching and learning programmes support our students to know, understand and be able to retrieve more knowledge about the worlds of Art and Photography and to achieve subject fluency, enabling them to grow and develop as creative people.
  • Children show competences in improving their resilience and perseverance by continually evaluating and improving their work
  • Classroom displays reflect the children’s sense of pride in their artwork and this is also demonstrated by creative outcomes and displays across the school and on social media platforms/websites
  • The department celebrates student’s creativity in Art and Photography through awards, culminating in the Antonian Awards evening and demonstrates the subject’s high status in the school, with outcomes, enhancing the indoor environment of the school
  • Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice) is a key component of departmental life and staff value the feedback given and will adjust work as appropriate to meet the needs of learners
  • Summative and formative assessment occurs regularly in line with whole school policy and calendar. The department is always keen to set up a mutual dialogue with students through the use of directed assessment time, to give students the opportunity to ask questions and for staff to challenge any misconceptions.  This helps pupils set clear, achieve targets and understand progress both in relation to their own work and that of others
  • Our wide-ranging and broad-based curriculum offers a variety of extended curricular opportunities and events, for all, such as competitions, after school clubs, educational visits and exhibitions of work both internally and within our local community
  • Moderation staff meetings where pupil’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.
  • Successful seasons of results at both GCSE and A Level in Fine Art and Photography and many successful trends linked to student’s attainment
  • Uptake of Art and Photography at both GCSE and A Level continues to be healthy and an area of growth for the department. We welcome students from a variety of previous schools and feedback about our working methods and ultimate grading is very positive.
  • Students overall are ambitious and often look to pursue opportunities within the creative sector. Our curriculum helps our students to develop the detailed knowledge and skills required to progress to the next stage of education, employment or training and become active citizens long after their education at St. Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy.

Everyone in our school community and department is aware of what it means to be an Antonian: to pursue excellence, to build community, to show concern for those who may be disadvantaged and to particularly support the education of women and girls. We have definitely had an impact within this “city by the sea”, and well beyond it, since we were founded in 1904.  We are confident that our distinctive ethos will continue to have a big impact as it is carried forward by future generations of creative Antonians.