Rationale for Art


In Reception we build on knowledge gained in pre-school settings and home environments. Children learn how to take care of and use pencils, chalk, pastels and paint appropriately with control. They are also taught the primary colours and through exploration of paint they learn how to mix these to create a new colour; a secondary colour. The children achieve this both in continuous provision and through adult led activities. The children also develop skills in observational drawing, sculpting and collage. The children are exposed to a range of different artists and sculptors and they sort work from different artists into what they like or don’t like.

Year 1

In Year 1, children will build upon their knowledge that there are different artists and sculptors and focus more specifically on Wassily Kandinsky and Henry Moore. Children will be able to recognise key pieces of work from these artists and can discuss the media that has been used, whilst also responding with their own opinions on the art they see. Moving on from this, children will paint their own picture in the style of Kandinsky. Building upon their understanding of the primary colours and that they can be mixed to create the secondary colours, children will begin to understand the visual element of colour, particularly focusing on complimentary and contrasting colours. Further to their understanding of the visual elements of colour and line usage in reception, children will consolidate their understanding of line, whilst beginning to think about the visual elements of shape and how this can be used.  Children will further their understanding of sculptures being a 3D piece of art as they are exposed to creating their own sculpture using different materials and processes. Throughout all of Year 1, children continue to take care of and use pencils, chalk, pastels and paint appropriately with control.

Year 2

In Year 2 the children extend their knowledge of colour by learning about tint and shade. Developing shading techniques allows them to show shadow, which helps support the children create more sophisticated observational drawings. Exploring different graded pencils, to help with their shading, the children draw self-portraits helping them to gain a better understanding of the positioning of facial features.

The visual elements of pattern, form, space and texture are introduced to the children when studying the paintings of Paul Klee and the natural sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy. Children learn to use elements from their natural environment in a creative and imaginative way, to produce their own unique sculpture.

Throughout the year, the children are taught to take better care of resources such as pencils, paints and brushes.


Year 3

Building on from Year 2, in Year 3 children continue to explore the use of colour – tones and tints and continue to extend their knowledge through using the visual elements of colour to create cave paintings. Children will create their own resources using natural materials whilst continuing to explore colour and additionally being introduced to new artistic language such as pressure, proportion, light and shadow.

 Building on from Year 2 (where children learnt that sculptures are created for different purposes using different materials and techniques), in Year 3, children will move forward by learning how to construct a modern sculpture using paper/card techniques. During this unit, they will learn to use the techniques of construction.

Children will research and begin to understand the styles of different artists, looking at media used and understanding the artist's inspirations. The visual elements of line, form, and colour are introduced to the children when studying the photographs and paintings of Andy Warhol and the paintings and portraits of David Hockney. Children learn how artists show distance and perspective, whilst at the same time understanding that the effects of colour can have a huge impact on a piece of art. Children will learn how to draw an object or subject making it look as real as possible. During this unit, different portraits will be explored, children will explore how different portraits are conveyed. Moving forward, they will use the techniques they have learnt to draw portraits showing emotion.

Year 4

Building on from using media such as paper and natural resources in previous years, the year 4 children learn to model and carve either a composite, cinder cone or shield volcano with clay. They spend time learning techniques and the effectiveness of certain tools that help while working with clay. After this, children expand their portfolio of different artists by analysing and evaluating the illustrations of William Grill through discussion and writing. Once they have understood his unique techniques particularly with positioning and shadow, they create a landscape in the style of Grill using pastels or oils. Following this, children then begin to take the steps needed to paint a group of objects. Firstly, children revise techniques used when sketching and begin by sketching just one object. As the weeks go on, children begin to add objects and carefully look at the position, proportions and different viewpoints when drawing. They understand the techniques used to show perspective and distance to create a painted picture of a group of objects. Children use their sketchbooks throughout the process of all tasks to record observations, create designs and experiment with different media and techniques.

Year 5

Year 5 children will build on their skills from previous years to gain confidence to use a variety of media and use them successfully in order to create a finished piece of work. Through learning key art skills, pupils will have the know how to become truly creative artists and successful in making their visions a reality.

At the beginning of the year, children will learn to draw a portrait in proportion from a different viewpoint. They will explore ideas based around how portraits depict the mood of a person, how these change depending on the perspective and distance, and gain techniques using charcoal to show light, shade and reflection.

To help support children’s understanding of sculpture, they will compare the work of Antoni Gaudi and Zaha Hadid. This unit also allows pupils to learn that artwork has often been a means for an artist to express their feelings, overcome challenge and fight for a cause. Children will then use the process of casting to create a sculpture in the style of Gaudi.

The work of William Turner is also a key driver in the Year 5 Art curriculum. Children will explore landscapes from around Macclesfield and compare them to William Turner’s work. They will have the opportunity to visit Teggs Nose and create, using water colours, a painting of the landscape in the style of William Turner.


Year 6

Year 6 children will confidently practise art skills with precision and accuracy. They will know how to use different techniques through the use of the following media: pencils, charcoal, pastels and paint. The children will be inspired by famous artists and use these as stimulus for their own work.

Year 6 children will learn about different artists in depth, learning about their lives, time in history and influences on their most famous artwork. They will be able to explain the artist’s individual styles and how these have been created through different media and techniques.

During the autumn term, the year 6 children will create a self-portrait in the style of Van Gogh. The children will use shading and precision to make their work as realistic as possible. They will use photographs of themselves to understand proportions of faces and how these change depending on the view.  Children will aim to make their portrait recognisable to their own face.

In the Spring term, the children will adapt the work of Hepworth to create a landscape of an area in The Peak District. Using watercolours, they will build on their knowledge of distance and perspective to make their landscapes realistic.

In their final term, the children will create a clay sculpture in the style of Hepworth. As confident artists, they will adapt Hepworth’s style to that of their own, depicting their own creativity. They will know the different elements to use when creating a sculpture, including carving, modelling, assembling, constructing and casting.






Contact the School

Whirley Primary School

Whirley Road
SK10 3JL

Main Contact: Amanda Edwards - Head Teacher

Tel: 01625 783815

SEN Contact: Rebecca Gregory - SENDco