The ability to be creative and think divergently is increasingly highly valued in 21st century careers and central to the ethos of the Visual Art Faculty at Caterham School. Creativity is currently listed as the second most important workplace skill by the Word Economic Forum future of Jobs report 2023.
Our aim is to develop the full potential of all our students in the making and appreciation of art, design and craft in many different disciplines. We strive to promote the value and use of art, design and craft within the School and to society as a whole.
There is no house style within the work: the established philosophy is to teach and develop skills, knowledge and understanding in the younger pupils and then to draw upon personal strengths and creative ideas as students mature. Pupils are taught how to use a range of media from painting to printmaking, to ceramics to digital. From this core knowledge and understanding they are then able to develop these skills through their own personal projects. Throughout the key stages we focus on developing a range of transferable skills including: Imagination and Creativity, Expression, Visual thinking, Observational skills, Problem Solving and Analytical Skills and Autonomy.
The department consists of four members of staff including two technicians. All of the staff set a high value on our academic subject which is communicated to all our students. The department offers a broad range of disciplines within the Visual Arts, each with a specialist studio: Textiles, Fine Art and Printmaking, Photography and Ceramics. The Christine Walker Gallery provides an excellent space for the celebration of student work as well as work being showcased around the school site and in the annual ‘Cat Among The Pigeons’ Arts magazine..
The department has been recognized as a centre of excellence by Eduqas at GCSE level. At AS and A Level students follow the Eduqas syllabus providing opportunities and flexibility for all endorsements.
The progression of our students is important to the department, whether this be an art and design course, other HE course or employment. Many pupils from the Art department obtain their first choice Degree or Foundation course.
From the First Year to the Third Year we aim to give pupils a wide grounding in the subject to prepare them for GCSE. Pupils in these years work in 2D & 3D including painting, printmaking, textiles, digital media, sculpture and ceramics. Those who move on to study Art at GCSE do so with a secure understanding of the process and elements which are needed at that level.
The students have two options to choose from at GCSE: Fine Art or Fashion and Textiles. These options allow for students to study their preferential route in greater depth using specialist techniques and equipment.
By the end of the Fourth Year, and through the Fifth Year, pupils at Caterham are working more independently in Art. A typical lesson will see each pupil working on his or her own particular project, with the teacher discussing work and ideas with them. Projects which involve processes as diverse as ceramics, painting, digital manipulation, printmaking and mixed media, will be happening in the studio at the same time. Pupils’ work is informed by their observed research as well as their critical studies of a range of artists and cultures. It is our aim to develop the individual potential of all our students in Art to the fullest extent, as well as to ensure our pupils’ enthusiasm for Art is nurtured and developed.
In the Sixth Form, students may opt to study Fine Art, Fashion Textiles and/or Photography to AS or A Level. Some students opt to study two of these subjects because they have already made a decision that their future will be within the field of Art & Design. Future Architects study Fine Art in order to meet part of the entry requirements for degree courses and future dentists should be aware of the bonus of taking handmade objects to their dentistry interviews. Many students choose these subjects to support their university applications demonstrating independent and creative skills which is desired by a wide range of university courses. Some students choose to progress to A Level because they wish to further their achievements following successful GCSE courses and through sheer enjoyment of the subject. Whatever the reasons, the experience of thinking and working creatively will stand young people in good stead within many walks of life, and is very welcome by top universities and businesses.
The philosophy which is developed in GCSE is carried on through A Level, where students are initially introduced to some more advanced techniques, processes and skills. We offer life drawing classes to enhance students’ drawing confidence and skills. We also offer many specialist lunchtime, after school and Saturday workshops. As they progress into A Level the students, in both subject areas, are able to drive their own work, and their thinking is often at a profound level. They are the absolute owners of their work, the teacher’s role being as a sounding board and to focus critical discussion.
The department is very well equipped with four specialist studios. Facilities include:
- Sculpture and ceramics studio: kiln room with 2 kilns, slab roller.
• Textiles studio: sewing machines, sublimation printing and heat press, equipped for pattern cutting, felt and paper making, batik.
• Fine Art and Printmaking studio: large etching press, two relief printing presses, easels, PCs, A3 colour printing, department library.
• Photography and Film studio: PCs fully equipped with the Adobe Suite, A3 colour printing, lighting and backdrop for photography.
• Photographic darkroom with 6 b&w enlargers, lightbox, film & paper developing facilities.
• Large format printer
• Outside sculpture area with raku kiln and sawdust kiln facilities.
• Screenprinting facilities
• Christine Walker Gallery
CO-CURRICULAR: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
Art Open Studios
Art Club ( junior)
Fashion and Textiles Club
Art Scholars Weekly mentoring
Photography Clubs ( Junior and senior)
Annual House Art competition and exhibition
Annual Photography competition and exhibition
Trips to support GCSE and A level courses to London Galleries and international residential Art study trips.
Mrs Rachel Veldtman, Faculty Leader for the Visual Arts
Mrs Sarah Parsloe, BA, Teacher of Art
Ms Daniela Sito (Maternity cover), BA, Teacher of Art
Miss Hayley Troughton, BA, Art and Photography
Back to Academic Departments