St Peter's School
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the whole world stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution…”
Art and Design within St Peter’s forms a very vibrant and exciting part of the School and is at the heart of providing a holistic and relevant education. With outstanding facilities, including large drawing and painting studios, printmaking facilities (relief, intaglio and screenprinting), photographic darkroom, ceramics studio and extensive Art library and computer suite, there are very few creative experiences that we can’t offer our pupils. In addition, the Department also houses the Whitestone Gallery where up to seven exhibitions are held every year, showcasing the work of professional artists, local schools, institutes of higher education and of course our own pupils. The ability to show the pupils’ work within the same space as ‘real’ artists validates the pupils’ work and places it very much within a wider artistic context.
We are fundamentally a Fine Art Department, and all the teachers are practising and exhibiting artists. We believe that a Fine Art background provides pupils with the broadest and most relevant foundation to move forward with their artistic aspirations, providing them with the necessary observational and practical skills to specialise later in their careers. Drawing in all its representational and abstract forms is at the heart of everything we do, as we see it as a very necessary way of communicating our experience of the world.
All pupils take Art in the Third Form and their experience within this year will give them a taste of what GCSE (and later A Level) will offer them. An exhibition in January showcases their work and helps inform their GCSE decisions.
At St Peter’s School we follow the OCR GCSE Art and Design Course (Fine Art).
Component 1: Portfolio – A sustained project developed in response to a subject, theme, task or brief evidencing the journey from initial engagement with an idea(s) to the realisation of intentions (Final Piece). This project is developed in the Fourth Form and brought to conclusion in the Christmas term of the Fifth Form.
Component 2: Externally set assignment – This is an externally set assignment with a number of starting points. Pupils must select and respond to one starting point from their chosen title. Work is developed over a period of time (about 10 weeks) and resolved in supervised time (10 hours).
For both components pupils will develop work in line with the Assessment Objectives, which include addressing the following;-
- Contextual studies - Pupils look at the work of artists and crafts people from around the world, studying their techniques and themes and making connections with their own work. Trips to galleries and museums in York and further afield are an excellent resource and an opportunity to see Art in the wider context.
- Developing ideas – Pupils will learn a wide range of Fine Art techniques and skills with which they can begin to develop a creative vocabulary. These include drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, lens-/light-based media, photography and the moving image, printmaking, and mixed media.
- First hand observation – Pupils will focus on developing observational skills in a range of different media and scales, and will produce a body of first hand observations (drawings and photographs).
- Completion of a ‘finished piece’ or body of realised work.
Throughout the two-year course, pupils gain a wide number of skills and build their confidence so that by the end of the course, they are producing work that is both individual and highly accomplished.
Pupil who choose to carry on with Art into A level are committed to a very individualised and personal journey, which will lead them all to create a rich and dynamic portfolio of work. For some, this will take them forward into university and career choices.
We begin the course with a weekend Field Trip to Boggle Hole on the North Yorkshire coast where the pupils develop a series of drawings and observations from life. Coupled with life drawing sessions back in the department the pupils develop a rich body of first-hand observations which form the foundation for the development of their own individual work.
The course we currently follow is Edexcel Art and Design (Fine Art (9FA0) and details of the course can be found here.
The Assessment Objectives are the same as GCSE which allows for a coherent and unbroken link within the pupils’ development. The same disciplines taken at GCSE also apply: Drawing and Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture, Printmaking and Photography, and Critical Studies and Art History are integral components of the course. Drawing is a keystone in all disciplines.
Within the course the pupils go on to create two distinct units of work, (coursework and exam) both of which combine to form a rich multi-disciplined personal portfolio. They also complete a Contextual Study which is an extended essay on a subject related to their practical work.
At all levels we run trips to galleries both in York and surrounding towns, but also further afield to cities such as London and Paris, providing the pupils with a glimpse of how their studies are relevant to the ‘outside’ world.
Art Club is held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, providing the pupils with the opportunity to access specialised support and individual tuition. The studios are open all day, every day and pupils value time spent in the pupils working on their own projects.
Life Drawing Classes are held in the Christmas and Easter Terms and are a very useful and necessary opportunity for pupils to develop their observational skills.
Awards and Prizes
The following awards and prizes are awarded every year.
Senior Prize – For the most outstanding pupil at Upper Sixth level.
Exhibition – For the most dedicated, passionate artist or who has contributed most to the Art School – Upper Sixth.
Junior Prize – For the most outstanding GCSE candidate.
These prizes are occasionally shared.
Annual Themed Postcard Competition – Aligned with our annual themed exhibition we run a Royal Academy-style Postcard Competition for pupils from across all three schools at St. Peter’s and local schools. There are prize-winners across all age categories and the postcards form part of the exhibition.
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