St Peter's School

Art & Design


Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
- Thomas Merton

Art and Design is a varied and exciting subject that cultivates individual and original creative expression. It equips pupils with the knowledge and transferable skills necessary for them to develop and explore their creativity, as well as hone their technical ability.

All Third Form pupils are taught art, incorporating painting and drawing, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and photography. This enables them to make an informed judgement of whether or not to continue with the subject to GCSE level.

Art pupil, 2013


The Art & Design GCSE courses are designed to enable our pupils to experience a wide range of materials and processes and to develop their skills in those areas in which they feel most comfortable.

We believe in small class sizes and extra tuition outside of lesson times, frequently on a one to one basis, to get the best from our pupils. Examination results have been consistently excellent.


We believe that enjoyment and fulfillment are the keys to success. If pupils are enjoying their work they will work hard at it and the rest follows. To this end we endeavour to make the topics interesting and exciting.

Visits to galleries and places of cultural interest, such as the British Museum, are regular features of our programme. Critical studies in the history of art have an important place in our teaching at all levels.

At GCSE level, 25% of the marks are awarded for knowledge and understanding of artistic developments within a historical and social context. Art rises from art; without Cezanne there would have not been Picasso. Our pupils are encouraged to study the work of artists in order to inform and develop their own work. Please click on the images below to see examples of recent GCSE artwork.

GCSE work, 2013GCSE work, 2013GCSE work, 2013GCSE work, 2013GCSE work, 2013GCSE work, 2013


Sixth Form

If students decide to follow art at A Level their commitment to the subject should not be questionable.

Lower Sixth painting, 2013At this level we expect pupils to adopt a serious approach to study and in order to assist this they are provided with a designated space in which to house their work. Whilst students benefit from specialist guidance and one to one teaching they are expected to think independently and research and investigate their chosen topics both inside and outside of lessons.

Sixth Form artists are special people who are at the creative hub of the School. They form a bond with one another and with their teachers. They are expected to have a passion for the subject, a good work ethic and a desire to express themselves through the creative process.

A life class session takes place one evening each week from September to March. The study of the human form is one of the hardest disciplines to master but in our opinion an essential requirement for any serious student of the subject. Sixth Form pupils are expected to attend these weekly sessions in order to develop their skills and embellish their portfolios.

A Level

Whilst desirable it is not essential for pupils to have completed a GCSE in art in order to go onto A level. Enthusiasm and an aptitude for the subject are just as important.

Lower Sixth work, 2013

Pupils are expected to complete two units of work over the course of an academic year.

Unit 1 should consist of an exhibition of work alluding to a particular topic or theme. By this stage, having experienced GCSE, pupils should be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and, following a broad induction to the course, it becomes their decision as to which path they follow.

The same disciplines taken at GCSE apply: Drawing and Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture, Printmaking and Photography. Critical Studies and Art History are integral components of the course. Drawing is a keystone in all disciplines.

Unit 2 is the External Assessment. Students work from a question paper set by the examination board and have several weeks in which to prepare a response to a topic. The work they undertake is similar to that in Unit 1 but the final realisation of their creative journey must be produced in a timed and controlled period. Click on the images below to see recent examples of A Level art:

AS Level Art 2013AS Level Art 2013AS Level Art 2013AS Level Art 2013AS Level Art 2013AS Level Art 2013








Upper Sixth artwork, 2013

Unit 3 consists of an exhibition of work on a particular topic or theme. This is called The Specialist Project and students at this level are expected to explore and develop an aspect of the subject that is of particular interest to them. Integral to this unit is an academic contextual study in the form of an extended essay or further practical work supported by written analysis and evaluation.

Visits to galleries and cities of culture both in the UK and abroad are again an integral part of our programme.

Please click on the images below for more examples of recent A Level art:

Upper Sixth artwork, 2013A2 Level Artwork 2013A2 Level Artwork 2013A2 Level Artwork 2013A2 Level Artwork 2013A2 Level Artwork 2013







Awards and Prizes

The following awards and prizes exist.

Senior Prize – For the most outstanding student at Upper Sixth level.
Exhibition – For the most dedicated, passionate or who has contributed most to the Art School – Upper and Lower Sixth.
Junior Prize – For the most outstanding GCSE candidate.
These prizes are occasionally shared.

The William Etty Award for Life Class
1st, 2nd, 3rd, Commended and Highly Commended awards are made for excellent portfolios made in the life class sessions. March each year.

Albert Moore Award for Drawing – Senior Class.
1st , 2nd and 3rd awards. Open to Upper and Lower Sixth pupils who submit up to three drawings in any mark-making material for consideration.

Albert Moore Award for Drawing –Junior Class.
As above and open to Fourth and Fifth Form pupils.

After St Peter’s

Art and Design is not only a fascinating and fulfilling subject that can be pursued for its own ends, it also imparts many transferable skills much sought after by major universities. For example:

  • Art is a valid subject for the vast majority of university courses
  • Some specialist courses such a medicine now seek candidates who have a creative aspect to their CV
  • Art is not a practical subject only – a large proportion of the marks available are awarded for critical analysis in essay and annotation form

See our Careers page for more information.