Bobmore Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire SL7 1JE
Telephone - 01628 483 752
Company Registration No.07690054

Art and Design


“Art and Design is not just a subject to learn, but an activity that you can practice: with your hands, your eyes, your whole personality.” Quentin Blake, Children’s Laureate.

Art and Design stimulates creativity and imagination. It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences and a unique way of understanding and responding to the world around us.

Students use colour, form, texture, pattern and different materials and processes to communicate what they see, feel and think. Through art and design activities, they learn to make informed judgements and aesthetic and practical decisions.

Students explore ideas and meanings in the work of artists, craftspeople, designers and people from other cultures. They learn about the diverse roles and functions of art, craft and design in contemporary life and in different times and cultures.

An understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts has the power to enrich our personal and public lives.


Art and Design is a very popular subject at Great Marlow School. Typically a quarter of all students opt to study this subject at GCSE and beyond.

Long gone is the notion that Art and Design GCSE and A-level is a “soft option”, students have to be hard working and dedicated; they have to devote many hours to perfecting their artwork.

There are three specialist art and design rooms. One of these is equipped with modern Apple iMacs for the teaching of industry standard design software such as Adobe Photoshop. The use of digital photography is embedded in the curriculum and the suite gives students unique opportunities to develop these skills.

All art rooms are equipped for both 2D and 3D art, design and craft making.

There are 4 subject specialist art teachers with a diverse experience of art and design practice in and out of industry.

Lessons at all levels are dynamic, rich learning experiences enabling students to engage and be motivated. Students learn a broad range of techniques and processes and are encouraged to develop their personal artistic practice.



At Key Stage 3,  students develop their creativity and imagination by exploring the visual, tactile and sensory qualities of art and design. They build on and improve their critical skills and extend their knowledge of materials and techniques, processes and practices.


Year 7

  • TERM 1 – Key Skills for Art
  • TERM 2 – Green & Spiky – texture, mark-making and observational drawing
  • TERM 3 – Mythical Illustration – image, text and commercial design

Year 8

  • Exploring the themes in Pop Art. Workshops include fine art observational drawing and painting, digital design using Adobe Photoshop, and 3D modelling.

Year 9

All Bands

  • TERM 1 – Expressive Drawing and Printmaking – Natural Forms
  • TERM 2 – Typography Portraits – digital photography, graphic design and typography
  • TERM 3 – Shadow Boxes – re-imagining a great work of art.


Great Marlow enters students for the AQA unendorsed specification for GCSE “Art and Design”.
Typically, a quarter of all students opt to study “Art and Design” at GCSE and beyond.

Portfolio Students complete a portfolio of work which is composed of two units of coursework:

Unit One – Food and Drink

Students are introduced to a variety of processes and techniques in a workshop format. Some of these may have been taught at KS3 but here they are developed to a higher level to satisfy GCSE requirements.

Students visit Borough Market to photograph, gather and experience high quality source material. They bring their evidence back to the classroom and develop their artwork through a framework of workshops.

Students regularly use digital photography, drawing, painting, 3D media, printing, image transfer, art textile and assemblage techniques in their work.

Unit Two – Mock Exam Project 

Students will use independent learning skills to establish a starting point of their own choosing. As part of this project, students will conduct an external visit to a museum or gallery to collect contextual research, before developing this through a range of creative investigations and experiments back in the classroom. Students will work towards producing a high-quality, informed outcome using skills, techniques and processes that have been refined since the beginning of the course.

Externally Set Task 

In the second year of study, students are issued with an externally set task set by the exam board. Candidates select one question, which is used as a starting point for a piece of sustained project work. The students have a number of weeks to respond and develop a body of artwork before completing an outcome over a ten hour controlled test period.

The portfolio of work is worth 60% of the final mark.
The controlled test is worth 40% of the final mark.


The A-level course is a place of discovery and focused learning, where teachers nurture a student’s individual voice, teach them traditional and contemporary skills and develop a creative confidence. Students will learn to think conceptually about their artwork and build an artistic confidence.

There is a strong emphasis on developing the artist’s eye and this is developed through the delivery of clothed life drawing and regular observational drawings. We promote flexibility, personal learning and support to develop independent study through regular tutorials with teachers, which leads to individual artistic development.

Students are encouraged to immerse themselves in their creative studies by drawing regularly, visiting galleries, collecting visual imagery, reading books and following a range of artists. In addition, the staff of the department aim to give students the opportunity to partake in a residential trip to a European city during the two year course, thus enriching students experience further.

The AQA A-level Art and Design course offered by GMS requires a commitment of two years; it has been chosen so that those who wish to continue their creative studies, perhaps into higher education and beyond, are given a wide curriculum base.

The A-level Art and Design course is available to all students who achieved a B grade or above at GCSE. It is taught by two or more teachers to ensure students learn from more than one voice; this ensures students experience a diverse and rich range of disciplines, too.

There are two components completed in the second year of study worth 50% each. The first year of study develops student’s artistic skills, contextual understanding and ability to creatively respond using a range of materials and techniques answering diverse briefs.

Career Options in Art and Design

There are many career paths available if you study GCSE and A-level Art and Design. To gain a broader understanding of the subject and to extend and improve on the skills already attained it is advisable to complete a one year Foundation course at college or univeristy, followed by a three year college or university degree. However, gaining work experience in any area related to art and design would be a valuable skill that employers would recognise.

Career Choices

Graphic Designer – Graphic Design, Illustration, Publishing, Packaging

Product Designer – Product Design, Furniture Design, Packaging. Model Making

Textile Designer – Textile Design, Weaving, Embroidery, Tapestry

Fashion Designer – Fashion Design, Fashion Illustrator, Seamstress/Pattern Cutter, Shoe Design, Millinery, Jewellery Design, Make-up Artist, Hairdresser/Wigmaker

Interior Designer – Interior Design, Photography, Set Stylist

Theatre Designer – Theatre Design, Set Design, Model Design

Architect – Architecture, Architectural Illustration, Draughtsman, Town Planning, Landscape Gardening

Animator/Film and TV –  Animation, Director, Set Design, Wardrobe, Special Effects and Make-up, Storyboard Design, Model Making

Advertising – Advertising Design for 2d and 3d, Art Buyer, Creative Director, Visualiser

Marketing – Brand Manger, Retail Display, Exhibition Design

Fine Artist – Painter, Sculptor, Ceramics, Printmaking, Applied Textiles

Photographer – Fashion, Portrait, Wildlife, Wedding, Sports, Reportage, Advertising, Technical, Travel and Tourism, Film and TV

Computer Aided Designer – Engineering, Architectural Illustration, Town Planning, Landscape Gardening, Draughtsman, Film and TV

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