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GCSE Exam based art, craft & design

So you have this new Secondary, High School exam class sat in front of you; some are switched on with 'I love art', fresh faces, some are wondering what's going to happen and some are down-right bored and fed up with; ‘I didn’t choose to be here, I hate art’ faces on them. The numbers might change, but mix is always the same and your reputation is resting on them passing this exam. It’s not easy especially when art is being squeezed further and further down the curriculum pecking order as Ofsted and government demand ever increasing Core Subject performance. Add to this the fact that Primary art provision is dropping nationally and you have a situation where some pupils can barely draw a circle, whilst others might have considerable artistic talent. And what makes it even more impossible is that the student's art target grades bear little or no relation to their actual art ability.

GCSE Results and Data

The unwritten rule of being a Head of Department, Faculty, Section Leader or whatever else they call it these days is this: you are only as good as your last exam results, and that applies to individual teachers. You can say whatever you like, win as many competitions as you want; have Damien Hirst paint murals in assemblies, but if your results are bad then your department will be seen as being bad. If your results are good, people will be divided in the school between those that think you are God on legs, and those that think: 'Oh well it's only art, art is easy. It's not a proper lesson is it?' 

Exam results in the UK are the be all and end all of Secondary School life. In my opinion they often tell us little about what a student can actually do and they are too often overly prescribed and teacher-led. Yet all attempts to change the system have failed because no-one else has come up with anything that works better. Loathe it or like it, it's here to stay. As a teacher YOU are part of a whole school game that you have to play. If you are in a ruthlessly high attaining school then you are going to need to know how to play that game well. So the first thing you need to equip yourself with is a knowledge of how the school organises its data. 


Progress 8

  • The Ebacc and the new Progress 8 floor standard makes subjects like Art even more vital than ever before because Arts subjects provide significant value added to the headline indicators when compared to all subjects.

  • It’s in the school’s and the pupil’s best interests to enable them to study for 3 subjects in Block 3 that they will score highly in and are motivated to pass, in order to maximise attainment to the new floor standard.

  • Making large positive value added Progress 8 scores could be harder for high attaining students and it will be very easy for them to fail to show attainment 8. 

  • Large value added Progress 8 gains can be made by lower attaining students and they can now add significant VA to the floor standard when their attainment counted for little under the previous indicators.


FFT data suggests Art & Design is a high performing subject. Students are more likely to get a 4+ grade in art than they are in most other subjects, with the exception of highly specialised science and language courses taken by a minority of students. 

Fischer Family Trust Managing Director Paul Charman said in his 2013 speech; ‘Progress 8 – measuring, understanding and improving performance in a changing world,’ successful Progress 8 attainment depends on getting three things right; 

·       the Entry/Curriculum, 

·       the Pupil interest/Motivation 

·       Subject Value-Added and estimated attainment.

FFT data 2023

FFT data 2023 showing the value of studying art and design subjects by comparison.

No doubt school leaders are pouring over previous data models to analyse their predicted/likely Value Added scores, but less time to study subjects that are highly motivating to pupils and more time being forced to study subjects they didn’t want to take will make it extremely challenging. This makes it even more imperative to get what little option time is available right. Many subjects are going to be hit hard, specialist teachers in non-Ebacc areas will have to diversify their teaching or suffer, but there are subjects that continually offer high Value Added and high motivation and Art is one of these subjects. In fact, FFT data is very clear; Art and Design is a VERY high value subject that brings a 1.4 average grade point improvement on actual verses estimated.

So how do you make sure you achieve your targets year in and year out constantly? I am very proud of the fact that I turned an art department that had 23% A-C's into one that regularly got 85% passes. Did the artwork improve? Not especially, no. Did they know more than they did before? No. I just got clever at how to get my students good exam results. Like I said; in the UK exams are just a game that schools have to play to be seen to be successful. The quality of learning doesn't come into it. 


So how do you play this game? Well, I like to think I put a strong sequence of learning into place from the time the students came to me in Year 7 to the time they left. There was strong skills training, well-considered progression and a robust programme of study. I hired good teachers and made sure we all knew what each other were doing. There was a relevant, clear curriculum, with jointly planned schemes of work, collaboration on ideas and shared resources. Also, there was camaraderie between us and we helped each other out with difficult students. 

My assessment system positively supported pupils learning, and I worked hard to develop a system of marking that was easy to follow and that involved much self and peer marking. We also regularly standardised our marking between us so that we all agreed on what a GCSE grade 4 looked like and a grade 9. In short I built a committed team who were passionate about teaching art and getting the best for our students. 



Attracting motivated students 

I quickly realised that option choices in Year 9 were crucial to my department's success. As an option subject (or pathways as they sometimes call them now) I knew that I had it easier than say, English who had to get their pass rate from the whole school. I also knew that management have a habit of putting low attaining boys into art to keep the numbers up and because they saw art as a soft option. So, at the start of the year 9 I would begin my recruitment campaign. I would try to have a very creative, inspirational project in the autumn term that used some very motivational art materials such as Batik to attract the high ability pupils. I would also ply on the homework and the written elements of the course, especially for the low attainers, so that they fully understood what it involved and that art at GCSE was NOT going to be easy. 

I would give talks and presentations in my art class outlining what kind of student would be suited to taking art at GCSE, trying to put off those that weren't suitable and encouraging those that were. This would take at least the whole of the autumn term, then at options evenings after Christmas I would have a dynamic presentation stall showing the range of jobs and vocations that you can get from studying art. This aimed to dispel the parents notions that art was "useless" and not going to be any good when you leave school. I was saying: "Wow, look at all the jobs you can get from studying Art!" 

I also spent time in lessons priming my best students with tons of praise and confidence to make sure they knew exactly how good they were! This all helps enormously in an option block, but of course you can't legislate for everything and sometimes, the most academic students would have such a limited choice (sometimes only ONE choice) and you would lose kids that you knew would get a grade 9. That was always so annoying. Sometimes parents would even ban their kids from taking art! 

When you possibly can you need to get your new year 10 set lists and your staffs new timetables. Sometimes you are able to group all the good kids into one class or play around with settings a bit to maximise the best learning. I would often deliberately teach all the challenging boys because it didn't bother me and it allowed other staff to get the best out of the good kids and not be interrupted. However, my favourite ploy was to rotate the groups around so that every teacher got them for a term each. This helps overcome the problem of pupils under-performing for some teachers or having personality clashes. Sometimes it meant that I would have to teach their Year 8 classes for a term so that they could do my year 10's but it worked well and helped the kids to get a good, broad art experience. So look at the groupings, get the dynamics right and get the teachers right before the students even enter the class for the first time. 


Curriculum Planning 

When planning your two year course, you need to look closely at how much actual curriculum time you have. In a two-year course you'll have five terms, one of which will be taken up with an exam, so that leaves FOUR terms or 52 weeks approximately, since each term is about 13 weeks long. How many hours a week do your students get for art? How fast do they work in lessons? Because if they talk a lot and chat and don't get much done in lessons and don't do much homework you are going to have trouble getting them a pass. Also, you need to know what their basic ability is like. You can't hide weak drawing skills so this is where a good Key Stage 3 programme of study is vital. If you have to start an intense mastery drawing programme in Year 9 then do it! 

Of course in time you learn that if you are going to make a real difference then you need to get into the Primary phase and raise standards there because Art in Primary schools is often taught by non-specialists in a patchy, non-coherent way. What I did was to assign one of my staff to teach in the feeder Primary schools one afternoon per week over a year. They taught a programme of basic drawing and painting skills that helped raise standards upon entry into year 7. What my experience has taught me in working extensively in key stage 2 is that I had seriously patronised year 7 students and underestimated them. It has become clear that they are not the babies I thought them to be and that most of my year 7 projects were more suited to year 5. Think about that for a minute and you will realise that if you get your Primary phase up and running you can move most of your upper year 8 work and year 9 work down a year! Push year 7 hard because there is some real talent there. 

For many years, more often than not, the first project of a GCSE course I would teach would be an observational, still life based, piece of work. I thought it was best to get some serious drawing done early in the course, but I was mistaken. The students are usually keen and pumped up for art, they have their new sketchbook and their art equipment and they want to do well. You set them off on a still life drawing project and then BANG! The balloon goes up and straight away you lose a good quarter of your class and demotivate them because they suddenly realise they can't draw very well. This dawning realisation is common because everyone is paying keen attention to everyone else's work. They have been shaken up into a new pecking order and they want to find their new position. If you throw them a realistic drawing project then immediately you establish an ability pecking order and demotivate half your class. 

Far better to give them a slide show and presentation about the nature of art and how it is not all about good drawing and painting skills. Perhaps teach a ‘What Kind of Artist Am I?’ project, or show them some Banksy - that always works well! A good idea is to start with a project that gets good results and relies less on photo realistic drawing skills. Think about what works well in your school. Perhaps you could get them doing a Digital Art project. Take some digital photos of that still life, or portraits of themselves, then apply a posterising filter in Photoshop to it. Print it out then get them to scale it up to A1 size and paint it in a graphic style using unusual colours. This works well and it motivates them. It gets good results, it's easier than direct observation and you can always tie it into good old Pop Art to fit the GCSE criteria. Variations on this idea include using photos of natural objects such as shells or of unusual viewpoints and perspectives around the school. If you get them to buy a cheap canvas to do their work on it will make them think that they are REAL artists! 

Finally, a word about gradual-release curriculum planning. The idea of a gradual-release is that you concentrate on embedding essential knowledge and skills early on in the curriculum, then gradually hand over greater autonomy as they progress. The thinking is that pupils will have the skills they need to implement more independent outcomes once they have this essential knowledge. Except it doesn't really work like that. The pupils who have high-intellect and strong literacy skills already possess the ability to work autonomously and independently from year 7. The ones that don't, will always struggle to be independent, regardless of what you do. Independent learning is as much about literacy and learned behaviours as anything art-related you teach. Those that do their homework, bring equipment to lessons, know how to find information on their own and apply it, being motivated; these are the foundations of independent learning - not merely becoming more skilful or knowledgeable. Besides, answering an art and design ESA takes a lot of tuition and practice. It is one of the hardest, more creatively demanding things a pupil will do in their school life, so to leave that skill to late in year 10 or early year 11 is asking for trouble. Pupils need to be taught the principles of independent working from Year 7, then practice them every year. I used to have a 4-6 week session in the summer term of Years 7 and 8 called a Personal Project, where they would be given freedom to create a piece of art on any theme or topic they wished, but they had to plan it out, completely fill that time, and show me what they were going to do in advance. There was lots of failure, tons of badly drawn cartoons or graffiti, and so many cliches you could fill a skip with them, but they were making art that was relevant to them, they were becoming thinking, independent artists making their own decisions and choices. What's more, they loved it and it was preparing them for the ESA. In Year 9, I'd make things a bit harder. We'd do our independent learning project in the half term leading up to Christmas and it would have simple, open questions with scaffolded support such as:

Drawing the Figure

How have artists captured the essence of the human figure through drawing?

Artists have always drawn the human figure, since human beings first started drawing in the Paleolithic age. These four drawings represent different approaches to drawing the figure.

Interact with the images in one of three ways:

1. Working in pairs, one person should stand in an action pose of your choice. The other should draw them as a stick figure using bold, thick lines with a marker pen. Then, change the pose and draw the new figure with a different colour, next to, or even over the top of, the first figure. Do this three times, then swap over.

2. Still working in pairs, have one person lay down in a reclining pose. The other person needs some A3 paper and a soft 4B pencil (or similar). Focus on one point on the figure and begin tracing a contour of the figure without taking your pencil from the paper. Draw quickly and follow the edges of facial features, clothes, limbs and even shadows on the form.

3. Draw the silhouette of a figure from observation using scissors and black paper. Place it on a white paper background and spray over the outline using black ink mixed with water. If you don't have black ink, place the silhouette on sugar paper and go around the outline with charcoal. In both examples, try to create dynamic, energetic lines. When you are finished, remove the black silhouette and you should have a powerful, energetic drawing.


I hope you can see that this project is not only accessible to Year 9, but it also is teaching some of the basic skills they'll need to answer an externally set assignment. I'm sure you already do most of this, but notice how it begins with an open question, leads into theoretical and disciplinary knowledge, then ends with a scaffolded choice of outcomes. In this example, pupils are being given the answer, they don't have to think of an original response themselves, but that would the next stage they'd need to learn which would come later.

Figure Drawing lesson
figure drawing art activity

Formative Assessment Key Stage 4

Perhaps the most anxious assessment is exam based assessment because it is such a balancing act. As I mentioned earlier, two important things that you should do are; Make some clear and visible resources that show what successful work looks like so that your students have a constant reminder of what is expected, and furthermore PLAN for assessment in appropriate ways for every lesson. 

Planning is so important and you must make sure that you are maximising motivation/interest in the work, meeting the needs of your students, providing regular, constructive help, encouragement and advice and promoting successful outcomes. 

Put yourself in the student's shoes. They are getting it in the neck from every teacher AND at home and art takes so much time to do they are easily inclined to think; "Is art worth it?" 

So the skill here is to nip at their heels lightly, but early and often. NEVER wait until the end or midway through a project to assess work. By this time you will have lost the game. These forms of assessment should only confirm what you already know. 

The important thing is to plan for assessment in every lesson but in such a way as it seems natural. Progress indicators are perfect for this. Your interactive whiteboard should proudly display what good progress should look like. Whilst the class are working it could even be running through a presentation of slides that show the student examples of good progression. By the end of this lesson you should have completed x, y and z to a good standard etc. A reminder to the class that they will need to complete any unfinished work as extra homework will be a good incentive. 

Another good tip is to give each student a post-it note at the start of the lesson and ask them to jot down what they hope to achieve in the lesson then stick this on the corner of the desk. When you are moving around the room you can check their progress to this target and see if it is feasible. At the end of the lesson you can make a quick judgement call such as; ‘John, Peter and Charlotte have made good progress today, David worked to a high standard but Craig and Wendy need to catch-up what they didn't get done today, can I see this finished by the start of next lesson please? 

By using methods such as these you and they can see if they have achieved good progress regularly and often. This is vital because in exam art every second is vital. Your marks book or planner should have records of progress in every lesson and every homework. I will mark a cross against a students name for absence then make sure I inform them that they need to catch up missing work as homework. It is a wise GCSE teacher who keeps a diary in the back of their planner of their C students and makes time to enter a quick note against their name each time they miss a lesson target. "Didn't complete research (date)" "Needs to finish printing (date) because if these build up then you need to get extra help. 

I also mark each stage of a GCSE project as a separate entity, as it is being produced. In a linear project where every student is following my lead this is easy. So when we have finished the development stage I will mark that Assessment Objective to the GCSE specification criteria using the points system. Students stick a template in their books and record this grade and add a comment of their own to say what they need to do to improve. I then repeat this for the other assessment objectives as they are completed. By the end of the project they, and I have a complete record of their progression. I can add comments to inform them how they can improve their project and they can refer back to it themselves also. 

You have to make sure the work is set at the right pace for all ability levels, that students who are struggling can get help at every turn, that the work is interesting and inspiring, that high ability levels are stretched and that all students are working to the best of their ability level. This all comes from your planning and I advise you to build in assessment benchmarks regularly that are simple enough for the students to understand and relate to. High achieving art departments often have very tight, very prescriptive courses 

of study that leave little room for doubt what is required from the student. In these departments students know exactly what grade they are working at and what they need to do to improve. All of this is attained by diligent, hard work by the teacher. The real skill is being able to get this level of work from your students. 



Intervention - Lower Attaining Students 

It is extremely hard to get lower attaining students motivated into wanting to work hard for you. The best way I know is to make the projects relevant to them and their culture, give them as much modern technology as you can, such as: digital cameras, photocopying, printing and tracing, etc, and steer away from writing complex, lengthy text. Also, try not to hold these students back in the process too much. They usually hate having to produce design sheets and just want to get on and 'do,' so design your course so it is full of short activities that get good results rather than long winded intensive studies. Make homework tasks interesting and invite them to work in your room over a lunch time to do it. 

Have a good system of discipline in place. Make sure they know their boundaries and what is not acceptable behaviour. Telephone home as often as you need to and use whatever the school system is to punish bad behaviour. Finally, make sure you have a seating plan from the outset. Don't allow the troublemakers the chance to sit with their friends. Make them sit with quiet, hard working ones! Finally, low ability students have a habit of throwing their work in the bin. They do this a lot and they do it because they believe it to be 'rubbish' so you can get to the end of a two year course and find that they have little or no work at all. They will also stop working on their work to start over. So at the end of a lesson it looks like they have done little or no work when they have just been getting very frustrated. You can't keep working side by side with them all the time because it ruins their image with their peers. 

The only way of getting round this is to provide clear intervention. Having identified your high priority students you need to get them on their own, in a quiet corner, during break or after school and go through their work in a positive and encouraging way. Look for any strength, however tiny and build it up like it is a real strength. Make them feel like they can really pass this course with just a few modifications. Then, give them one or two tasks to do. You might feel like giving them a lot more, but don’t. Make the tasks easy to understand, in simple plain English and write it down. Stick a post it note or two on the work near where you want them to work. Then talk to them about WHEN they are going to able to do the work. Do they have a space to work at home? Do they need to take materials home? How long do you want them to work on these tasks? Nail it down simply and clearly, then follow it up. 

You need to check on these students progress constantly without being too pressured. Make it light, look over their shoulder and smile. By breaking tasks up into small chunks, allowing copious amounts of copying and tracing and keeping watch to make sure they aren't destroying their work you will get better results. Plenty of praise helps, but only genuine praise! You are never going to make a silk purse from a sow's ear but if you plan the right projects and play it clever you can get decent results from even the most difficult students. 


Getting High Grades 

So you have hopefully sorted out the low attaining students, you know your target pass rate, you have a programme of study sorted and you have set up a strong system of management. Time to get those 9s. 

If you look at sets of work that is grade 9 standard you see the same qualities: quantity, quality and consistency. There is always more work than the others in the class and it is always consistently high quality. More than this there is a passion and commitment to their work. Often, images and motifs are repeated to get it right, refining and modelling the idea. The standard of drawing and painting skills are often (but not always) high. There is exploration of other materials and the student can be seen to try out other ideas. 

You can't force this type of working or even demand it. You can't even insist that the student needs to do more to get a 9 and that this isn't enough. Well, you can, but you will anger and frustrate the students considerably. The best way to achieve this standard of work is to get the project planning right so that it motivates. If the project you set raises the interest and curiosity of your students and they 'get into it' they will begin to work hard. If they are switched on to the work then you won't need to force your students to work: they will do it themselves. 

You need to provide a project that has the flexibility to allow infinite possibilities whilst building in a safety net for the less able. The self image project is a perfect example of this. On one level it could be a tracing of a Photoshopped digital photograph, painted. On the other hand it can have infinite possibilities to become a wonderful piece of creative, unique artwork. 

Try to give opportunities for your students to work outside of school hours. Good grades take time to achieve and it is often just that your best students are being pressured by many other subjects. Put up posters announcing that you are hosting an after-school club and/or a lunch time club for art. Then try to make your club as fun and interesting as you can. Buy some soft drinks and sweets, play music, let them wear casual clothes if you are allowed, but make sure your after-school class is too cool for school! 

The minute you start behaving like a teacher and bossing everyone around they will go home and not come back! If you keep your after-school class running it will eventually become a habit and your students will see it as a way of getting extra work done. Every successful art department NEEDS a successful after-school club and a lunch club. 



The 4/5 Borderline 

Of all the assessment areas this is the most important and hardest to differentiate. You can easily see the best work at high grade just as easily as you can spot less able work, but establishing where the 4/5 boundary is, is harder. Grade 3 work is less convincing, there's slightly less of it and the skill level is that bit lower. It is harder to find any work that smacks of being of a good standard. Grade 4 work by contrast is just that bit thicker in quantity, it is inconsistent and patchy in quality, but there is some real evidence of ability mixed in with some lower standard work. Some students are just grade 3. You could teach them until next year and they would still be a grade 3. However 3 = Fail so you must raise these students up by hook or by crook. 

Mark their work in detail; really pick out what simple and effective things you can do to make it better. Can they mount it more cleverly? Can they just work into some of those drawings to improve them? Do they need to research a little more? Have they missed any important bits through absence? Pull them back into school and get them to work that bit harder under your supervision. Do not let them fail! 

When you get collect data about a project assessment, you need to act on it immediately and not wait until the end of a project because it is too late then to do very much about any problems you might have. The Head of Department should have your classes Key Stage 3 results on hand, therefore, you should have a strong idea about their predicted grades already. If there is underachievement then you cannot afford to leave it go unnoticed. 

You can usually get a decent indication of what your predicted pass rate will be after the first lesson of year 10! So if you see that a student is not performing you can pick this up early. If you check your department's assessment at the Oct half term of year 10 then you can check this against expected predictions. If you come across any anomalies then speak to the staff member first to find out why this is. Then speak to the student and parents if you need to. By careful analysis and monitoring of your whole cohort on a regular basis then you will have no surprises by the end of year. 


Target setting 

Targets, targets, targets! Oh how I hate them. I hates them I do! I wish I didn't have to have them but I do. Most schools can provide each student with an expected or predicted grade for each subject. Your management team might want to raise that benchmark and set target predictions based on the higher threshold. This makes life extremely hard for everyone, not least of all in a subject that is as skill based as yours. By looking at the key stage 3 results you might know very well that this student is a borderline 4/5 student who suddenly has been given a target of a grade 9 by the school. This is tough on you and is going to create stress, so you have to play clever, not work harder and not lose your cool. 

Scream, shout and go mental before you pick yourself off the floor and get a grip! Don't say, "This is shocking" and feel sorry for yourself, say, OK, How am I going to get these grades? What strategies can I use? What projects can I plan that will get them motivated and tuned in? Can I use a more digital, photographic approach that doesn't need as much realistic drawing skills? How about taking conceptual approaches? After all, if the student has a grade 9 target, it’s because they have exceptional literacy skills, and so, if they don’t have traditional fine motor skills then you have to take a conceptual approach to making art. There’s nowhere in the GCSE Specification that says they have to have realistic drawing skills. Be positive and strong and try to see that it is POSSIBLE not IMPOSSIBLE. 


The GCSE sketchbook 

"Many students come to us with sketchbooks which are more like “presentation books” rather than a real record of their exploration, or a source of personal visual reference. The emphasis on good presentation means that students often have to un-learn habits they have developed before coming to university, such as decorating pages, and making elaborate backgrounds and titles, rather than focusing on first-hand visual research, developing and working up their ideas, which is what is required on a foundation course. 

Carl Silvester, Art Course coordinator Loughborough University


Perhaps more than any other part of the GCSE course, the sketchbook defines the final grade. These days, with outcome quite low in the assessment weighting, student’s sketchbooks and the process they reveal is of paramount importance. As I’ve mentioned earlier, low ability students leave lots of gaps and spaces in their books, they destroy work and are afraid of making mistakes. You need to be able to identify early on, who is a natural sketchbook worker and who isn’t. 

Most high ability students will learn from each other, they will look at each other’s sketchbook’s and want to emulate them. So if you show them the standard they need to reach, through practical examples, they will go for it. It is your middle to low students who need more of your expertise. You need to teach them how to set out a sketchbook, using composition and space effectively, making each page count, annotating informatively and combining ideas with relevant studies of other artists work. This should NOT be left until year 10 to teach, but should be integral to your Key Stage 3 Curriculum, so that when they start their GCSE they just need a reminder. Some tips: 

  1. Fill all pages, so that each turn of the page reveals something new and interesting. 

  2. Include observational drawing in a variety of materials, if these aren’t part of the sketchbook then rip them out and stick them in. 

  3. Make strong use of collage techniques, overlapping digital photography prints with materials, fabric, found items and text. 

  4. Use a variety of prepared grounds such as coffee staining, inks, char- coals, ripped papers and textures. Then draw on top or stick ripped out drawings over. 

  5. Don’t make the headings the focal point. Students have a bad habit of spending all lesson colouring a heading or a background, wasting time. 

  6. Most annotation is dreadful. There’s no point writing useless, obvious information. Your students should have been taught how to annotate, what to write, how to use the formal elements fluently and most importantly, how to emphasise their coverage of the assessment objectives with annotation. Add the annotation afterwards if you have to and do it in small groups. 

  7. If the final sketchbook is not good then consider cutting or ripping it up and mounting it on single sheets. Be aware that students are usually awful at cutting things out and tearing, ripping is often much more effective.

GCSE sketchbook pages from Seaham High School, County Durham


Perhaps one of the most dreaded aspects of the GCSE examination is annotation. Most pupils hate it and find it a real chore to do. It puts many off art completely. However, from my experience of visiting schools, many art teachers expect far too much annotation from their students and many students spend long hours copying information from a web page that would be better spent doing art! Read this quote from the AQA Moderators Report 2015:


"In the best practice seen, written work evidently added value to what existed in visual form. Students had made purposeful statements that linked together their ideas and insights. Students frequently analysed sources through brief but purposeful annotation. They explained their ideas whilst taking into account of the direction of their own work."


Notice the words; 'Brief but purposeful'! Try downloading this resource I've designed to help focus your student's annotation responses.

annotation in art and design


Paul Carney Paul is a nationally recognised art & design consultant having delivered specialist art CPD in schools, colleges, galleries, and Universities across the UK and for the UK’s leading training providers. He is a former Council member for the NSEAD, which means he is involved in national art education policy issues.Paul is a published author of two books: Drawing for Science, Invention and Discovery and his latest book Drawing to learn anything. He is also a practicing professional artist and designer. Paul runs his highly successful art website: that provides high quality teaching resources and advice to teachers around the world. He has over twenty years teaching experience at Primary, Secondary and post-16 levels of education, is an Advanced Skills Teacher, ex-Subject Leader for Art and was a member of the DfE Expert Advisory Group for Art and Design. In addition to this he was a member of the NSEAD Curriculum Writing Group that wrote the 'Framework for Progression, Planning for Learning, Assessment, Recording and Reporting 2014.’ 

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