Art & Design

school children doing crafts in a class

At Brunton we recognise that the arts embody some of the highest forms of human creativity and understand that art has the power to raise us up and enrich our lives.

In recognition of our commitment to the arts at Brunton we are proud to have been awarded an Arts Mark Gold Award for a second time in 2023.

Our Aim

We aim for all children to achieve their artistic potential at Brunton so that the arts can become a fulfilling part of their adult lives; whether they work as artists, professionals in creative industries or engage in visits to galleries and practise arts and craft for self-expression and inspiration.  We believe that metacognition, community and oracy are key drivers in achieving this aim.


Our art and design curriculum provides opportunities for children to develop their speaking and listening skills, enabling them to:

  • communicate confidently about their responses and preference in fine art,
  • to be able to talk about artistic techniques using a rich vocabulary
  • to be able to appraise their own work and the work of their peers being able to identify strengths and steps for development.
  • explain their ideas and inspirations,
  • expand their capacity to listen to and learn from others.

We recognise that art is a rich visual language of its own that powerfully supports children to communicate their ideas and express their feelings.

Successful Lifelong Learners (Metacognition):

Our art curriculum encourages children to think deeply about painting, sculpture and visual images. Children are taught to ask questions, be confident in their own interpretations and build their understanding of visual images as a class community.

Through this process they develop key life skills of creative and personal expression; the ability to visualise and imagine; and to critically observe and interpret the visual world around them. Children discover how art can help support wellbeing, by learning how to be fully absorbed in the creative process. They learn that art is an immersive experience where they can experience a deep sense of flow and concentration.

As children move into KS2 they learn how to identify their own self critic and to develop their use of positive self-talk when considering their own artwork.  They understand that making mistakes is an integral part of the art making process; that they can develop strategies to correct them or use them to lead their art into new directions.

Through evaluating the work of others, children begin to appraise their own work with increasing confidence identifying their strengths and their next steps for development.


Authentic opportunities to engage in the arts are provided through visits to museums and galleries; meeting real artists and participation in community arts projects.  More recently this has included creating a school Shaun the Sheep for Wild in Art’s Shaun on the Tyne trail and planning trips to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

We seek to introduce children to a broad range of artists to enable children to engage with the voices of artists from a wide range of backgrounds through a progressive introduction to acclaimed painters, sculptors and printmakers.  Our Arts Ambassadors deliver presentations to their classmates about our Artist in Focus.  This has ensured that we have been able to champion artists from a range of cultural backgrounds and include artists who have experienced persecution as well as artists who live with disability.

Art and design lessons at Brunton aim to challenge, enthuse and inspire.  Children develop their skills in drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking through well sequenced lessons with plenty of opportunities for self and peer assessment. They develop their own unique styles by making individual art as well as collaborating on large scale group pieces which encourage children to take risks.

As they build and develop their practical skills, they also develop a good critical understanding of different historical art movements that include local, national and international artists and crafts people. Children develop their knowledge and understanding of how art and design reflects and shapes our history, and makes an important contribution to the culture, creativity, diversity and wealth of our society.

Through the Art and Design curriculum children develop key life skills of creative and personal expression; communication of ideas; the ability to visualise and imagine; and to critically observe and interpret the visual world around them. Children discover how art can help support wellbeing, by learning how to be immersed in the creative process, experience a state of flow and develop positive self-talk even when mistakes are made and things are perceived to have gone wrong.

Children develop cultural capital by learning about a wide range of different artists and by engaging with exhibitions and visiting artists.  Furthermore, they develop empathy, respect by learning about a wide range of artist’s including those who have overcome different challenges and suffered persecution.

We develop pride in our work through celebrating art accomplishments in displays, exhibition, participation in whole school projects and sharing our sketchbooks as part of parents’ evenings.

We ensure that our children will succeed in the next part of their artistic journey at middle school by working closely within the trust to ensure they will have the knowledge and skills to make excellent progress.  In particular we focus on drawing and observation skills and understanding of colour mixing and tone.  We also actively promote art and design as a possible further study or career choice, for example by introducing children to a wide variety of artists through the Sky Arts Access All Arts Week resources.


The expressive arts are a key component of early year development and at Brunton children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials on a daily basis.  Weekly lessons with the PPA team focus on tool handling e.g. the use of scissors and paintbrushes, colour mixing, exploration of materials e.g. paint, pastels, charcoal and an introduction to a broad range of artists making paintings and sculpture.



At Brunton the art curriculum is primarily taught by the PPA team and led by myself, Miss Bamber (subject lead with a Fine Art Degree) The children’s sketchbooks are of central importance as a place for children to experiment and to record their observations as well as being a place to review and revisit ideas. We seek to teach in painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking and mixed media in a spiral curriculum, which progresses in terms of depth and challenge, to build on the children’s previous learning.  Please see the progression map for further information about how skills are sequenced

  • Lessons begin with a starter/retrieval activity to remind pupils of prior learning or practise key skills relevant to the new learning ahead of them.
  • Key art works are shared for inspiration that encourage children to look closely and observe, ask questions and think about the meaning of the work, the context and techniques used. To consider what their own responses will be.
  • Key vocabulary or knowledge is shared with opportunities to talk, explore and share ideas.
  • Art techniques and skills are modelled by staff who verbalise their decision making, working constructively and positively in response to mistakes to alter and improve their work.
  • Task – children respond to the artwork in their own unique ways either working independently, or in small groups.
  • Celebration of art work, this may involve a class tour of all work or groups of children taking turns to show and tell.
  • Plenary with opportunity to reflect on the process of making the art, identify our strengths and next steps.

In Art and Design, we recognise that preferences are highly subjective.  It is not for teachers to determine whose art work is good and who’s is less so.  This kind of judgement can atrophy art development at an early age.   Furthermore, we recognise and celebrate the work of neurodiverse artists and the powerful contributions made by ‘outsider art’. We therefore do not assess children’s art in a traditional way.  However, as well as developing knowledge and critical thinking skills we aim for all our children to be able to make visual depictions of the world and be proud and confident in their skills.  We invite all children to make a drawing of an artwork at the beginning of the year as an introduction to one of our artists in focus. This enables us to track progress across the school, identify children who struggle with visual representation and confidence and determine children with a high level of drawing confidence skill who will benefit from further challenge.  This ensures we can offer clear differentiation and support, and use a variety of art materials and teaching strategies so that each child develops their skills and techniques in a way appropriate to them.

  • Children’s work and planning scrutinies are conducted by the subject lead in collaboration with the PPA team who deliver this subject.
  • Pupil voice is gathered to find out how children feel about their learning and what areas they would like to develop.
  • Lesson ‘drop-ins’ and observations take place in all classes throughout the year.

The subject leader is responsible for monitoring attainment and progress, the outcomes of which are collated in the subject leadership folder and fed back to staff at an appropriate time.

Through their journey at Brunton First School we want our pupils to develop a lifelong relationship with art which continues to sustain them and gives them inspiration.  Through engaging in our challenging, creative and enjoyable curriculum we want pupils to have learned, improved and embedded a range of artistic skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and mixed media. We want our pupils to be confident to explore, experiment and take risks, placing value on the process and journey that they take, not just on the finished product. They will have gained an awareness of a broad range of artists and craftspeople from a wide range of backgrounds, and be able to respond to and interpret the artworks they come across. They will feel that art galleries are places where they belong. We want our children to be able to follow their interests and flow as they pursue their own artistic journeys in life whether this be professionally or equally importantly   as a means of self-expression and creative enjoyment.