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Knowledge in Art and Design

The primary curriculum is a knowledge-based curriculum. In addition to developing their creative skills, a quality art curriculum should allow children to view and appreciate iconic works of art produced by great artists. Developing children’s knowledge of artists, works of art, styles and techniques provides a source for their creativity and is a key component in children understanding the ‘creative process’. This scheme of work provides knowledge of:

  • Key artists of the past 500 years

  • Iconic works of art

  • Art movements and styles

  • Art and colour theory

  • Key vocabulary for art and design

Before the invention of photography, the work of artists was limited to works of religious art (for churches), historical depictions and portraiture for only the very richest in society. The advent of photography produced a medium that was cheaper and produced realistic portraits and landscapes and in effect could have put many artists ‘out of work’. But this also gave artists the opportunity to experiment and invent new styles and movements in art – thus modern art was born in France in the 1840s.

This scheme of work focuses primarily on Western Modern Art. Through their studies children acquire knowledge and understanding of significant types and styles of art.

Elements of Art

For this scheme of work there are seven elements of art. Through their learning experiences, children should develop fluency in applying these elements to their creative endeavours. The seven elements are:

  • Line: The basic element of art, without lines no other element can exist. When a line joins up with itself to enclose a space it forms a shape. Lines have many different properties.

  • Shape: Shape is a space enclosed by a line. Shapes are two-dimensional and can either be geometric or organic.

  • Form: Form has depth and takes up three-dimensional space It is a three-dimensional shape and can be either be geometric or organic. Sculptures are forms.

  • Colour: Colour is created by light reflecting off an object. (For this scheme of work we use colour instead of hue). All colours can be created from mixing the three primary colours (red, blue, yellow). Different tones of colour are used by adding white or black to a colour.

  • Texture: Texture is the feel of an object. It can either be real and touched (as in sculpture, collage, textile work etc.) or can be implied through different artistic techniques (mainly in painting, drawing, and printing)

  • Value: Value is the measure of how light or dark and object is. Artistic techniques such as shading or creating colour tones, changes the value.

  • Pattern: Pattern is creating a design by repeating other elements of art such as line, shape, colours.

Colour Theory

Mixing colour is one of the most important skills of an artist. For primary school children, there are three areas which are fundamental knowledge:

  • The colour wheel primary and secondary colours and mixing a range of colours.

  • Colour harmony (complementary colours, colour families)

  • How colours are used to create feelings and emotions.

Strands of Learning in Art and Design

There are six disciplines within Art and Design:

  • Drawing

  • Painting

  • Sculpture

  • Printmaking

  • Textiles

  • Collage (Mixed Media)

The National Curriculum only references drawing, painting and sculpture. Art Academy covers all six disciplines. Within each discipline​ there are many different techniques. Many of them are covered throughout the six years, some are covered in greater depth. See below our guide to the 6 strands of learning:

Knowledge Organisers in Art and Design

Each unit of work within the scheme has a Knowledge Organiser presenting basic understanding and knowledge about the topic being studied. The body of knowledge that the children have acquired by the end of the topic should be deeper and wider that the outline of the Knowledge Organiser. The Knowledge Organiser is just one tool in the teacher’s toolkit to enable children to recall, apply and build upon learnt knowledge and understanding. The Knowledge Organiser is shared with children at the beginning of each unit of work and is referred to in all subsequent lessons.

The Knowledge Organisers include:

  • Key vocabulary and technical terms

  • Definitions

  • Biographies of iconic artists

  • Works of art

  • Timelines

  • Art and colour theory

Samples of our Knowledge Organisers

Pop Art (Key Stage 1)

Portraits (Lower Key Stage 2)

Blooming Lovely (Upper Key Stage 2)







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