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The parents' guide to secondary school: KS3 art

An easel
Find out what your child will be learning in KS3 art lessons and help them to practise at home.

In Key Stage 3 art, your child must demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the visual and tactile qualities of a range of materials and show how these can be manipulated and matched to ideas, purposes and audiences through their work.

They learn about codes and conventions in art, craft and design and, during the later years of this stage, how these are used to represent ideas, beliefs and values throughout different times. They also learn about the roles of artists, craftspeople and designers in different times and cultures, and how these have changed.

Increasingly, pupils are also expected to learn about the hazards and risks present in art and design, which will have a wider application in leisure and at work.

The KS3 art curriculum

Students are expected to develop their creativity and ideas, and become more efficient in executing them. They look critically at the work of artists, architects and designers, making their own judgements. They are taught to:

  • Use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks, journals and other media.
  • Use a range of techniques and media, including painting.
  • Become proficient in handling different materials (e.g. clay).
  • Analyse and evaluate their own work and other people's.
  • Understand the history of art, craft, design and architecture, including periods, styles and major movements from ancient times to the present day.

Lesson examples

Here are some of the activities your child might experience in class:

  • Year 7 pupils explore their personal identities by experimenting with different shapes, colours and surfaces to express emotion and mood.
  • A Year 8 teacher asks pupils to select plant studies from their sketchbooks and to develop these further by researching examples of art, craft and design from different cultures on this theme. The brief is to create a design for a length of fabric which might be made up into a gift bag.
  • Pupils in Year 9 create collages from a still life group set up in the classroom by tearing, cutting and gluing papers that they had previously hand-coloured.

Help your child at home

  • Find out whether there are any traditional arts and crafts in your area. The local library or tourist information centre will undoubtedly help your child to uncover some interesting facts that may prove useful in school projects.
  • Visit craft fairs and workshops and look out for special tours at local studios, stately homes and even factories, which can help underpin work looking at the differences between mass-produced and handmade objects.
  • Ask questions about the choices your child makes in their art projects. How did they come up with the ideas? What were their intentions? Are there any ways they could have improved their designs?
  • Visit and talk about different landscapes. Discuss the impact of industry on landscape.
  • Ask your child to carry out a risk assessment at home, in the kitchen, home office, bathroom or garage. Can they recommend any changes to be made?
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