Fine Art KS4 Curriculum

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KS4 Art and Design continues from the visual arts that you have completed in year 7 and 8 in Design. It develops your understanding of visual communication and its meaning.

Year 10 & 11

You already have some experience of using art materials and processes, together with some knowledge of contemporary and historical art and design.

In GCSE Fine Art for KS4 you will learn how

  • to use specialist practical skills
  • to produce ever-higher standards of work
  • to gain a higher understanding of the Formal Elements used within Design
  • to use variety and diversity in your thinking
  • to develop critical appraisal and analysis in your work
  • to record ideas, make experiments, show analysis and produce outcomes
  • to develop a subject specific vocabulary
  • to be able to discuss the work of designers, techniques and values of design
  • to build upon your sketchbook skills and extend presentation techniques and recording work from your Art/Design lessons at KS3

The GCSE course lasts for five terms in KS4.

You will work on three projects over the first four terms called the Personal Portfolio (Unit 1). In class, we normally call this Controlled Assessment work. We will study the following in that time:

  • Artists and Designers are used as a starting point to gain insights to develop ideas
  • Produce work in a variety of wet and dry materials
  • Record through drawing and written annotation
  • Present a final response based on your research to the topic given
  • There are two opportunities for Mock Examinations that will contribute to the Personal portfolio work.

In your last term, you will be working on your exam task called the Externally Set Assignment (Unit 2). This is of a set of 7 questions set by the exam board, of which one will be chosen to research and develop a personal response. This will be  approximately 20 hours of preparatory work in lesson time followed by 10 hours in an art room to produce a final response.

The GCSE covers a range of activities and in-depth assignments. You will have the opportunity to experiment with different media in order to explore your strengths and preferences. There is a wide range of options within several areas Fine Art. Whatever you choose, the main aim of the course is to develop your visual language skills and for you to build a comprehensive portfolio of work to progress to further courses or employment.

How will they get their GCSE?:

Coursework – 60%

Exam – 40%

Controlled Assessment:

During the two year course students will learn techniques and processes based on a theme and/or artists. They will have guided starting points but independent work and research is encouraged for students to develop a personal style.


The exam at the end of the course is a practical exam that consists of 20 hours of preparatory time and 10 hours (over two days) in the art room to produce the final outcome.

Each element is marked on 4 criteria





Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.





Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.





Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.





Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language.