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National Curriculum

Art and design key stage 3 - Programme of study

Statutory content

Programme of study for key stage 3

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Download the full programme of study [pdf 980kb]

The programme of learning is made up of:

Importance of Art and design key stage 3

In art, craft and design, pupils explore visual, tactile and other sensory experiences to communicate ideas and meanings. They work with traditional and new media, developing confidence, competence, imagination and creativity. They learn to appreciate and value images and artefacts across times and cultures, and to understand the contexts in which they were made. In art, craft and design, pupils reflect critically on their own and other people’s work, judging quality, value and meaning. They learn to think and act as artists, craftspeople and designers, working creatively and intelligently. They develop an appreciation of art, craft and design, and its role in the creative and cultural industries that enrich their lives.

Key concepts of Art and design key stage 3

There are a number of key concepts that underpin the study of art, craft and design. Pupils need to understand these concepts in order to deepen and broaden their knowledge, skills and understanding.

1.1 Creativity

  1. Producing imaginative images, artefacts and other outcomes that are both original and of value.                      

  2. Exploring and experimenting with ideas, materials, tools and techniques.                 

  3. Taking risks and learning from mistakes.

1.2 Competence

  1. Investigating, analysing, designing, making, reflecting and evaluating effectively.         

  2. Making informed choices about media, techniques and processes.

1.3 Cultural understanding

  1. Engaging with a range of images and artefacts from different contexts, recognising the varied characteristics of different cultures and using them to inform their creating and making. 

  2. Understanding the role of the artist, craftsperson and designer in a range of cultures, times and contexts.

1.4 Critical understanding

  1. Exploring visual, tactile and other sensory qualities of their own and others’ work.

  2. Engaging with ideas, images and artefacts, and identifying how values and meanings are conveyed.            

  3. Developing their own views and expressing reasoned judgements.                

  4. Analysing and reflecting on work from diverse contexts.


Explanatory text

Creativity: Pupils show creativity when they play with ideas and generate different approaches, responding to purposeful tasks in imaginative and personal ways to produce original images and artefacts. Originality can be defined in relation to pupils’ own previous work, the work of their peer group, or what others have produced in a range of historical contexts.

Exploring and experimenting: Exploration should be purposeful. Pupils could draw on their exploration to evaluate their successes and failures and propose next steps.

Taking risks and learning from mistakes: Pupils should be confident risk takers, trying out new ideas and processes without fear of failure.

Competence: This includes competence in skills needed for different types of art, craft and design practice. Pupils need to be able to apply these skills when investigating, analysing, thinking, designing, making, reflecting and evaluating.

Analysing: This is a key element of practical explorations, development of ideas and critical studies. Evidence of analysis may be seen in discussions and visual and other forms.

Designing: This includes designing for different purposes and vocational and work-related practice.

Evaluating: Evaluation is a continuous process and should include evaluation of the initial choice of subject and materials, of work in progress and of outcomes.

Media: This includes new technologies and materials.

Cultural understanding: Pupils could explore the culture of their society, the groups in which they participate and questions of local and national identity.

Contexts: This includes work-related contexts that reflect the creative and cultural industries.

Critical understanding: Analysis and critical evaluation are key aspects of the creative process and essential life skills. Pupils need to develop these skills in relation to the world around them, as well as to their own and others’ creative outputs.

Developing their own views and expressing reasoned judgements: This includes developing an appropriate language to express thoughts and ideas, and evaluating and making judgements based on a set of values that are either given to the pupils or that they create themselves.

Key processes of Art and design key stage 3

2 Key processes

These are the essential skills and processes in art, craft and design that pupils need to learn to make progress.

2.1 Explore and create

Pupils should be able to:

  1. develop ideas and intentions by working from first-hand observation, experience, inspiration, imagination and other sources            

  2. investigate how to express and realise ideas using formal elements and the qualities of a range of media

  3. make purposeful images and artefacts, selecting from a range of materials, techniques and processes

  4. draw to express perception and invention, to communicate feelings, experiences and ideas, and for pleasure 

  5. explore and develop ideas using sketchbooks, journals and other appropriate strategies.

2.2 Understand and evaluate

Pupils should be able to:

  1. use research and investigative skills appropriate to art, craft and design    

  2. appreciate how codes and conventions are used to convey ideas and meanings in and between different cultures and contexts              

  3. reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ work, adapting and refining their own images and artefacts at all stages of the creative process                 

  4. analyse, select and question critically, making reasoned choices when developing personal work        

  5. develop ideas and intentions when creating images and artefacts

  6. organise and present their own material and information in appropriate forms.

Explanatory text

Key processes: The two aspects within the key processes are interrelated, although they may be considered separately for assessment purposes.

Working from first-hand observation: This could include taking inspirationn from the work of others, drawing on personal experiences, drawing on imagination in response to stimuli, or using first-hand observation to record images, sounds and ideas in visual and written forms.

Make purposeful images and artefacts: A clear sense of purpose, whether from an externally set brief or the pupil’s own intentions, is key to the quality of the learning experience.

Draw to express: This could include drawing: to create and invent (eg to visualise, dream and imagine); for perception (eg to observe, investigate, contemplate, remember); to explore ideas and possibilities; to design for pleasure; or to communicate feelings, experiences and ideas to others (eg visualise, use codes and symbols). Pupils could work with a wide range of tools and materials (eg erasers, pens, string and wire) and learn a range of drawing techniques (eg collage, animation and wash), using different kinds of drawing for different purposes.

Research and investigative skills: Pupils should demonstrate the intelligent use of sources, including using the internet positively to find and extract information, inform purposeful enquiry, develop analytical skills and make progress with ideas. Pupils should be able to communicate understanding in written, visual and practical forms to a range of audiences.

Range and content of Art and design key stage 3

This section outlines the breadth of the subject on which teachers should draw when teaching the key concepts and key processes.

The study of art, craft and design should include:

  1. work in, and across, the areas of fine art, craft and design, including both applied and fine art practices                                                                              

  2. exploration of media, processes and techniques in 2D, 3D and new technologies

  3. study of a range of artefacts from contemporary, historical, personal and cultural contexts

  4. understanding of art, craft and design processes, associated equipment and safe working practices.

Explanatory text

Craft: This includes craft as a contemporary and traditional form across cultures.

Applied: This refers to areas of art, craft and design such as textiles and jewellery, as well as to those that are work-related. Examples of work-related practice include working collaboratively on projects and taking on roles within the design and production stages. This could involve working to externally set briefs and within time constraints, and using new technologies that reflect those used in professional environments.

2D: This includes painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, ICT and surface pattern.

3D: This includes constructed textiles, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, puppetry and installations.

New technologies: This could include work with animation, film, video, or web-based products, and may present alternatives to traditional practices.

Study of a range of artefacts: Pupils should consider images alongside a broad range of artefacts from the world of art, craft and design, investigating their function in relation to the setting and users’ needs.

Curriculum opportunities of Art and design key stage 3

During the key stage pupils should be offered the following opportunities that are integral to their learning and enhance their engagement with the concepts, processes and content of the subject.

The curriculum should provide opportunities for pupils to:

  1. work independently and collaboratively, taking different roles in teams

  2. explore areas that are new to them, including ideas, techniques and processes

  3. respond to the school’s location and local cultural influences

  4. engage with contemporary art, craft and design, working with creative individuals and in creative environments where possible

  5. work with a variety of genres, including contemporary practice

  6. engage in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary practice within the arts

  7. make links between art and design and other subjects and areas of the curriculum.

Explanatory text

Work collaboratively: This includes developing the sensitivity and skills needed to negotiate, evaluate and share in the collaborative process of creating and making. Pupils may use ICT where appropriate.

Engage with contemporary art, craft and design: This includes visits out of school to studios and workshops, working in different locations and visiting artists, craftspeople and designers. e-learning experiences (eg virtual learning environments, internet) could take place in a range of settings, in and out of schools, and be used to create international links.

Creative environments: This includes experience of developing their own work through visits to museums and galleries.

Multidisciplinary: For example, combining visual images with sound and movement to produce an artwork.

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