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    I am not what I am, I am what I do with my hands

    Louise Bourgeois

    Dover Grammar School for Girls has a very successful Art Depatment. Students are taught by Art specialists from Year 7 to Year 13, learning about and creating Art in a wide variety of media, both in class, and on visits and in workshops. Students are encouraged to enter prestigious exhibitions and competitions.

    Mrs M. Dachtler (Subject Leader)
    Mr P Graham
    Mrs C Nunn
    Mrs C Vere
    Ms C Bradley

    Mr M. Redden (Technician)


    We strive for students to become compassionate, creative thinkers capable of critical interpretation, whilst fostering a lifelong passion for the power of Art, Culture and Art History.


    The Art curriculum has been created to develop competence, creativity, cultural understanding and critical interpretation, achieved through the study of a wide variety of art movements, themes and ideas. Students are encouraged to observe the world around them and the Art curriculum across all key stages offers plenty of opportunity for this, with the investigating of great and contemporary artists and life experiences at the heart of all that we do.

    The courses are carefully planned in order for students to become adept at understanding the choices made by the artist and to be aware of significant and evident symbolism. They are also encouraged to use this methodology in analysing and evaluating their own work; growing as an artist and understanding that not everything will work first time. By reviewing and refining their work, they have the opportunity to identify areas for improvement and will be given direction and incentives to address these areas, to become accomplished in their artistry.

    Key Stage 3: In Year 7 students arrive to DGGS with a varying degree of art knowledge and skills. Students examine contemporary and traditional art and art movements through the investigation of the formal elements. Students explore visual, tactile and other sensory experiences to communicate ideas and meanings. They are taught the fundamentals of drawing and are then introduced to colour theory and using colour within their work. They work with traditional and new media but in a very controlled fashion, to allow for growing confidence to take place, developing competence, skill and creativity.

    During the second project students are introduced to the rudiments of portraiture; this will include simplified facial anatomy, proportion, measurements and observational skills. A variety of portrait artists are discussed, mainly the work of Frida Kahlo. Personal opinions are important, and each student may choose to respond orally or contextually when analysing the pieces.

    During the third project in Year 7, students are shown how to use one and two point perspective. They are shown how perspective changed during the Middle Ages and they become familiar with creating the illusion of form and space within their work.

    In Years 8 and 9, key cultural and social topics are introduced, designed to explore and develop. In Year 8, the three major projects are ‘Pop Art and Still-life’, ‘Natural Forms and Pattern’ and ‘Workshops’. In Year 9, after a good grounding in year seven and eight, the students are challenged further by working on the three major projects including ‘Cubism’, ‘Art History’, ‘Africa and its influences’. We continue to look at art and art movements as inspiration, but the emphasis is on responding more closely to the work studied. The expectation is that further media are experimented with; and the teacher allows for students to make informed decisions on their work under the guidance of the teacher.

    A large part of Year 9 is revisiting and reapplying the basic rules of Art and Design with the intention of applying it to more detailed and challenging works. In Year 8, it is expected that three-dimensional media is experienced before the fulfilment of the course. The workshops at the end of the year prepare students for textile, 3-D and Photography based work at GCSE. Year 9 helps students prepare for the contextual element of the course but also allowing them to develop their own artistic styles and enjoyments.

    Key Stage 4: Students taking GCSE Art have the opportunity of visiting Quex Park in Birchington at the end of Year 9, to launch their Year 10 Culture Unit and introduce them to the animals and artefacts collected in Africa. The Cubism, History of Art project and the workshops unit will have established a foundation for students to build on. They are then encouraged to provide visual and written responses in their sketchbooks.

    During Years 10 and 11 Students explore visual, tactile and other sensory experiences to communicate ideas and meanings. In Year 10 students focus their studies on the Arts and Culture of Africa, and will learn about textile techniques and complete several textile responses.  The second half of the course in Year 10 concentrates on drawing and painting techniques, leading to each student completing a portrait using oil paints.

    In Year 11 the focus is on colour, with an introduction to artists from different eras and their use of colour. Painters of the 20th and 21st centuries who have developed their own colour theory and method of paint application are the main source of inspiration.  There is also a strong emphasis on photography during KS4 so that students can record and save their own choice of images from first-hand experiences and use digital manipulation to create an artistic response.

    Key Stage 5: A Level Art, Craft and Design. This A-Level allows students to grow as artists, encouraging students to be imaginative. The aim is for students to work in a vibrant group of individuals who wish to study Art and Design, working in an environment to inspire and promote creativity. The Creative Arts offer an experience of art, design and communication, preparing students for work or higher education. This course offers the chance to study a wide range of art and design disciplines, so students can make an informed decision about the direction they want to take in the future.

    Students work with traditional and new media, developing confidence, competence, imagination and creativity. This is displayed through analytical responses, discussion, identification of beliefs, how meanings are expressed and by sharing these values. Personal opinions are important and each student may choose to respond orally or contextually when analysing art work. Once enlightened, everyone is nurtured to respond in their own way, drawing upon what they have learned but using this inspiration responsibly for purposeful and meaningful outcomes.

    Key Stage 5: A Level Photography and Lens-based Media. The Photography course is an innovative course that aspires to be at the forefront of the discipline. The course will equip students with an academically-informed skills' base and a portfolio of practical projects that will support employability in the creative industries.

    All students will experience elements of photography to ensure they are accomplished and practiced photographers by the end of Year 13. They will be introduced, firstly, to the basic settings of a camera and studio set-ups. This will then gradually become more detailed and challenging as their skills develop. At the beginning of each project, students will be introduced to photographers and artists that they will try to encompass through their own studies.

    Co-curricular: Alongside the enriching experience of the art curriculum, students are invited to join the animation and textile clubs, art mindfulness classes, English Heritage, Gifted and Talented program, lunch clubs and after school help clubs. The department encourages entry to a variety of competitions including The Portfolio Competition run by the Turner Contemporary, the John Downton Awards, Photography Competitions and many more. Students have gained success over the course of many years and have displayed work in many prestigious galleries including the Queen’s Gallery in London. Each year we aim to have a variety of educational visits, including a residential visit. Over the last few years our students have visited a variety of galleries including the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Tate Modern, The Tate Britain, The Turner Contemporary, The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery and locations for Plein Air Painting and outdoor photography shoots. All KS4 and KS5 projects start with a gallery or site experience, as recommended by the examination body.




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