In Year 7, the girls receive specialist teaching in textiles, painting and ceramics. In Year 8, print-making is added to the syllabus, and in Year 9, both digital and traditional back and white film photography. Classes are small, and each discipline is taught in its own dedicated space within the Art Complex.
At GCSE, pupils follow the OCR course. The girls work in small groups, developing their skills, and recording their research and progress in their sketchbook. They experiment with the three main disciplines of painting, textiles and ceramics, before choosing one to pursue as part of a self-directed project.
At A Level, pupils follow the Edexcel course. This begins with a trip to Brighton and the South Downs, and the chance to work with an artist in person. Girls then experience a carousel of four disciplines, painting and drawing, textiles, ceramics, and printmaking, before choosing their specialism. During the course they experiment and refine their technique, research different artists, and develop their own project work. There is a focus on independent work, and the girls document all their preparatory work in sketchbooks, before embarking on their final pieces.
The girls are taken on regular trips to museums and galleries, and have the opportunity to work with practising artists, both here at school and on our annual residential trip to Brighton. They also attend artists’ talks, and life drawing takes place at school once a fortnight for senior girls.
Pupils’ work is exhibited around the school throughout the year, and the department also stages a major exhibition on Open Day. Girls enter their work for competitions such as the Windsor School Festival and the Saatchi Art Prize. The girls also host pupils from St Francis Primary School for an art day once a year.