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Art & Design / Photography

Key Stage 3

CGS Art at KS3 involves a combination of practical and contextual work where students are encouraged to explore the art world and have fun experimenting with different processes.  Emphasis is placed on drawing skills, not only to investigate the formal elements but also to develop ideas and through sketches and designs.  Students have an array of project work to pursue from traditional media of painting and drawing to ceramics, sculpture and animation.  ICT features in the development of class work and students are taught the basics of Photoshop and digital image manipulation.  Art History and cultural context form the backbone of all schemes of work and students are encouraged to engage with artworks, artefacts and images with critical writing and higher order questioning.  Students document their experiments and findings in a work journal and are always invited to include extra art pieces which are produced at home. Group work is encouraged and as students move up through the year groups they take more responsibility for their own learning.

GCSE Art & Design

The GCSE course has developed into a rich Art & Design experience which encompasses traditional fine art skills alongside new media and digital art.  In Year 10 students are introduced to a variety of different techniques and art styles which provide the basis for their study in Year 11.  Drawing and painting skills are still important and integral to all project work.  Students are encouraged to experiment with unusual combinations of media and processes to develop unique and exciting outcomes.  Digital media, Photography and Film work are all investigated and under advice students can pursue these with greater focus.  Extra-curricular activities feature prominently throughout the Art & Design curriculum and projects begin with a visit to London Galleries and exhibitions.  The annual residential Year 11 Art trip to Amsterdam in October is a firm favourite with everyone.  The EDEXCEL syllabus provides enough dimension and scope to allow all interested students to grow and develop into young artists.  The students begin to understand the power and diversity of Art & Design in context, enjoying the creative process and taking pride in the quality and ambition of the work they produce.  Chesham Grammar School Art and Photography Department enjoys an enviable reputation both locally and nationally and a large proportion of students move through to the A level course and beyond to Foundation Art study.

A level Art & Photography - please see the Sixth Form section of our website for further information: sixth-form-subject-information

Chesham Grammar school offers both Art & Design and Photography as discreet Edexcel A level endorsements.  The School enjoys an enviable reputation for art and photography both in Bucks and Nationally, winning the Bucks young artist award and enjoying the position of Best performing Grammar school for Photography in the country.  Locally the school is renowned for producing ambitious and exciting art pieces and imaginative and dynamic young artists and photographers.  This is due in part to the pupils being encouraged to take responsibility for their own development and being allowed the freedom to be ambitious and experiment.  Students are encouraged to develop their practical fine art skills and combine this with the intellectual aspects of the creative process.  Contextual studies inform much of what the student artists produce investigating highly contemporary art practice and referencing the history of art.  The extra-curricular program is integral to the A level course and both artists and photographers enjoy rich and exciting experiences.  This includes residential trips to Venice and Florence, an art and photography workshop weekend in Dorset and also day trips to the London Galleries.  This helps to promote an energetic and exciting working environment within the art studios and between staff and pupils.  The year always culminates with an exhibition of work which is affiliated with Bucks Open Studios and is a chance for all students to display their final pieces in a legitimate gallery environment.  Post A levels the department has 100% record of admission to further education courses most often to a Foundation Art & Design.  Chesham Grammar School Alumni boasts representatives at all the major art institutions in the country including The Slade School, The Ruskin in Oxford, St Martin’s and Glasgow school of art and provide contacts for those who follow in their footsteps. 


The art & photography department have a rich and varied calendar of visits throughout the school year.

Year 9 Options A visit to either: London Gallery/Hatfield House & Gardens/Kew Gardens
Year 10 Artists Tate Britain/Tate Modern or London Gallery
Year 11 Artists

V & A Museum/Other major collection in London

Year 11 Artists Amsterdam October Half Term (4 nights 5 days)
Year 12 Art & Phoography London Gallery - Portrait Prize
Year 13 Art & Photography London Galleries (self directed)
Florence/Venice (Feb Half Term - 4 nights/5 days)


Life Drawing with Simon Brewster

Extra-curricular Life drawing classes are now a regular feature of the Art & Design calendar year.  These are run by Simon Brewster and welcome staff and students alike. This experience is an essential ingredient for a balanced portfolio and helps improve basic fine art skills through intensive study.

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