Barnett Wood Infant School


The Art and Design curriculum at Barnett Wood aims to support all children in becoming creative, imaginative, reflective learners, irrespective of their ability and previous experiences.  Throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage 1, children have the opportunity to produce creative work, expressing their own ideas, recording their experiences and exploring the work of famous artists and sculptures through the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum. This may occasionally integrate into year group themes where relevant. We believe that it is vital to provide children with the opportunity to experience and develop a range of knowledge, skills and techniques within Art and Design, becoming proficient in drawing, painting, collage, printing and sculpture, to enable them to develop into confident, successful learners. Children will develop an appreciation of the visual arts and develop a knowledge of significant artists, crafts people and designers, understanding the historical and cultural development of their art forms. This will be achieved through carefully planned sequential lessons, which offer progression in knowledge and skills and the opportunity to evaluate and analyse pieces of art, linked to other learning across the curriculum where possible. 


To ensure we maintain high standards of teaching and learning in Art and Design, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Art and Design is taught explicitly, focussing on the skills and knowledge set out in Birth to 5 Matters (EYFS 2021) and The National Curriculum (KS1).

Units of work have been planned for Year 1 and Year 2 by the Art and Design subject leader in consultation with class teachers and is reviewed annually. Adaptations may be made if necessary, for example where there are special celebrations happening such as the Coronation of King Charles III. Units of work have been planned using the Curriculum Coverage and Knowledge and Skills Progression documents for Art and Design, which are based on the requirements in Birth to 5 Matters and the ELGs for EYFS and the National Curriculum Programme of Study for KS1. Art and Design lessons are planned so children develop techniques, including their control, use of materials and evaluation of their own and others artwork, keeping the interests and pupil voice in mind to ensure learning is engaging, broad and balanced. The progression document ensures that the curriculum knowledge and skills taught are progressive from year group to year group, allowing children to build upon previously learnt knowledge and skills. Teachers are aware of the previous knowledge and skills which the children have been taught and explored, through the documentation and the learning in the children’s sketchbooks which follow them up through the school. This allows us to effectively plan for and build on children’s previous experiences.

Our unit planners ensure that, during their three years with us, children are exposed to the work of a variety of artists. Children are encouraged to analyse the skills and techniques used through their own experimentation in their own pieces. When exploring the work of artists, children are encouraged to express their own thoughts and feelings in response to the focus piece.

In our Reception classes, there is a theme-based approach that is led by children’s interests. Teachers ensure that children have access to a range of media and materials as part of continuous provision and enhance this with relevant equipment on a weekly basis. Teachers join in with children’s play, using this approach to model and scaffold children’s learning and skills. In Years 1 and 2, teachers teach a half term unit of work every term, alternating this with the Design and Technology units.

Our children are able to apply and demonstrate their knowledge and skills in Art and Design in a number of ways including:

  • Using their sketchbook as a working document, exploring the skills and media they are using.
  • Displays around the school, in the classrooms and hall.
  • An annual ‘Celebration Evening’ where parents are invited to come with their children to view an exhibition based on particular themes. E.g. puppets, transport, printing. This usually takes a creative artistic approach.
  • During the year, teachers run a lunchtime Art Club, where children have additional opportunities to consolidate skills such as printing and sketching. This is always well attended.


Within Art and Design, teachers ensure that higher attainers are encouraged to work at a greater depth through:

  • Exploring different ways of using equipment, such as blending pastels/pencil
  • Looking closely at proportions, particularly when completing self-portraits, for example, are their ears the correct proportion in relation to other facial features?
  • Adding shading to create more depth to their artwork.


In October 2023, the school was awarded ArtsMark Silver for our ongoing dedication to the Arts.

In order to achieve the Artsmark Award, we had to develop our arts and culture provision to embed a broad and ambitious curriculum. This was achieved by creating an overall plan that was committed to and delivered across the whole school.


The teaching and learning of knowledge and skills in Art and Design is shared with parents on the school website.


At Barnett Wood, we feel it is important that we involve our school community in our children’s learning, so we aim to regularly invite parents, staff and governors to complete a questionnaire in order to share their skills and their child’s interests with us. In this way, we are able to use their expertise to deliver a meaningful, high quality Art and Design curriculum.


The teaching of Art and Design is monitored through subject leader learning walks, during which discussions with children, observing the learning and teaching of Art and Design, as well as sketchbook scrutiny occurs. To ensure key knowledge and skills are being taught, pupil sketchbooks are used to document the planning process children have gone through to create a final piece. Sketchbooks are used as a working document which will include sketches and exploration of media and techniques, photographs of the process taken, final pieces and evaluations.

Alongside class teachers, the subject leader monitors the progress of children in each year group.


Through the effective planning and teaching of Art and Design, children will have the confidence to apply knowledge and skills including collage, sketching and painting to a range of projects, gaining a sense of achievement and pride in their work. Our children will continually revisit and apply their newly learnt skills in Art through a variety of activities. This will be evident in their sketchbooks.

Children will be aware of and have the knowledge and skills to evaluate the work of famous artists and crafts people. This will, in turn, equip our children in evaluating their own work.

Our children will be confident to articulate their learning through discussions with peers and adults. The teaching and learning of Art and Design will be meaningful to our children, taking into consideration their individual needs and interests. The displays around the school will demonstrate our children’s enjoyment and successes in the learning of artistic knowledge and skills as well as their knowledge about a range of artists.