Your School
Placeholder Image


The Department’s role within the school is to initiate and stimulate curiosity and exploration, opening students’ minds to the vast part of the world which is only available to them through the sense of vision.

The Art Department is celebrated for its lively, diverse and focused atmosphere and for the variety of specialisms covered within the curriculum. It is well equipped for specialist activities including painting, sculpture, photography, textiles, silk screen printing and ceramics.

After being given a solid grounding in a variety of skills and styles in the lower school, GCSE and A Level students are encouraged to work to their strengths and the curriculum is carefully tailored to suit individual needs, creating independent learners.

The Department plays a major role in the atmosphere of Thetford Grammar School through displays, exhibitions, the Artist of the Month award, art workshops and entry to numerous competitions including the annual Saatchi Schools Exhibition and the International Children’s Competition in Lidice, Prague.

The Department organises trips and visits to local, national and international cities such as London, New York, Paris, Barcelona and the county of Cornwall. All students are entered for Arts Award at various levels.


Pupils from Years 3 to 6 attend lessons in the Senior School Art Department and are introduced to a wide range of mediums. We cover a diverse range of skills from printmaking to ceramics in an aim to build creative confidence using different materials. Pupils learn about artists from around the world in order to create a firm background knowledge as they move to Senior School.

Architecture Workshop


Pupils are given a solid grounding in a variety of specialisms from printing to painting and from clay to textiles. Year 7 takes part in a workshop with a professional photographer and Year 8 visit a sculpture park to start their Bronze Arts Award.


We are surrounded by Art and Design products and with the increasing popularity of Fashion, Textiles and Photography never has there been a better time to study them further. The subjects enable you to use the creative side of your brain that may otherwise lie dormant.

Within the option of ‘Art’ pupils can cover all areas or specialise and choose either Art and Photography as an option or both Art and Photography as two separate options.

The OCR GCSE in Art & Design will encourage learners to:

  • Actively engage in the creative process of Art, Craft and Design in order to develop as effective and independent learners, and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds
  • Develop creative, imaginative and intuitive capabilities when exploring and making images, artefacts and products
  • Become confident in taking risks and learn from experience when exploring and experimenting with ideas, processes, media, materials and techniques
  • Develop critical understanding through investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills
  • Develop and refine ideas and proposals, personal outcomes or solutions with increasing independence
  • Acquire and develop technical skills through working with a broad range of media, materials, techniques, processes and technologies with purpose and intent
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of Art, Craft and Design in historical and contemporary contexts, societies and cultures
  • Develop an awareness of the different roles and individual work practices evident in the production of Art, Craft and Design in the creative and cultural industries

Content Overview

Assessment Overview

Specification titles available for study

  • Art, Craft & Design
  • Fine Art
  • Photography
  • Textile Design

The GCSE has TWO components

Component 01: Portfolio

Learners should produce:

  • A portfolio of practical work showing their personal response to either a centre – or learner – set starting point, brief, scenario or stimulus

Component 02: Externally set task

  • The early release paper will be issued on 2nd January each year and will provide learners with five themes, each with a range of written and visual starting points and stimuli
  • A response should be based on one of these options



120 marks

Non-exam assessment (internally assessed and externally moderated)


of total GCSE

Externally set task


80 marks

10 hours

Non-exam assessment (internally assessed and externally moderated)


of total GCSE

Art, Craft and Design

In Art, Craft and Design, learners must work in two or more titles from those listed in bold below. Learners may work in an area(s) of study within and/or across titles.

  • Fine Art: areas of study such as drawing, painting, printmaking or sculpture
  • Graphic Communication: areas of study such as illustration, packaging or advertising
  • Photography: areas of study such as location or studio, the moving image
  • Textile Design: areas of study such as printed and digital textiles, fashion design or stitched and/or embellished textiles
  • Three-Dimensional Design: areas of study such as ceramics, product design or jewellery
  • Critical and Contextual Studies: areas of study such as artistic movements, popular culture, natural forms

Fine Art

Learners are required to choose one or more area(s) of study:

  • Drawing
  • Installation
  • Lens-/Light-based media
  • Mixed-media
  • Land art
  • Printing
  • Painting
  • Sculpture

Work is not limited to one area of study


Learners are required to choose one or more area(s) of study:

  • Documentary photography
  • Photo-journalism
  • Studio photography
  • Location photography
  • Experimental imagery
  • Installation
  • Moving image: film, video and animation

Work is not limited to one area of study

Textile Design

Learners are required to choose one or more area(s) of study:

  • Constructed textiles
  • Digital textiles
  • Dyed fabrics
  • Printed fabrics
  • Fashion design
  • Installed textiles
  • Soft furnishings
  • Stitched and/or embellished textiles

Work is not limited to one area of study

A Level


A lively and popular course. Students can specialise in in one medium or choose

This year, students continued with their art at Edinburgh, London and UEA universities to study Textiles, Art History and Fashion respectively.

Fine Art

Pupils can explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to Fine Art and they will work in one or more of the Fine Art fields: Portraiture/landscape/still life/human form/abstraction/experimental imagery/installation/working in a genre.


Pupils will make an expressive and artistic response to the visual world, which is produced with the aid of lens-based media and may be manipulated by digital technology and they will work in one or more of the Photographic fields: Portraiture/ landscape/ commercial photography/ documentary/ experimental/ editorial/ installation/ moving image/ animation.


Pupils will create visual and tactile meaning through expressive, functional or decorative responses by selecting and manipulating fibres and/or fabrics. Context within Textile Design is a significant element of knowledge. Contexts include contemporary, historical, social, religious and cultural. Pupils will work in one or more of these areas: garments/ fashion/ soft furnishings/ printed/ dyed textiles/ installation/ expressive/ digital.

Graphic Communication

Pupils will explore relevant images, text, design and resources relating to Graphic Communication. Pupils will work in one or more of the Graphic communication fields: image and typography/ illustration/ advertising/ layout design/ packaging/ editorial design/ experimental imagery/ signage/ abstract approaches.Course Outline

The aims of these specifications are to encourage candidates to develop:-

  • Intellectual, imaginative, creative and intuitive capabilities;
  • Investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills, aesthetic understanding and critical judgement;
  • Independence of mind in developing, refining and communicating their own ideas and personal outcomes;
  • An interest in, enthusiasm for, and enjoyment of art, craft and design;
  • The experience of working with a broad range of media, including traditional and new media and technologies;
  • An understanding of the inter-relationships between art, craft and design processes and an awareness of the contexts in which they operate;
  • knowledge, understanding and application of art, craft, design, media (traditional and new) and technologies in contemporary and past societies and cultures;
  • An awareness of different roles, functions, audiences and consumers of art, craft and design practice.

Course Outline

A Level Unit 1


Personal Investigation worth 60% of the total Advanced GCE marks. This unit comprises two discrete but linked elements.

Element 1 - Candidates submit one personal portfolio that has a personal significance and Element 2 - the investigation includes a separate but related personal study that is approximately 1000 words. It can be written and illustrated and it must relate to the context in which the Personal Investigation exists.

A Level Unit 2


Externally Set Task


40% of the total advanced GCE marks. Candidates select one starting point from an early release question paper. There are 8-10 weeks of preparation time plus 15 hours controlled time.


Experimental Drawing Workshop

Arts Award

Explore/Discover is being introduced this year for the Prep School. In our Senior School we already have several pupils going for the Gold Arts Award.

All pupils study for Bronze Arts Award starting with a visit to the home of sculptor Henry Moore. Bronze entails finding out about existing practitioners, creating work inspired by the practitioner, presenting their ideas and reviewing an exhibition.

Pupils may continue on to Silver and then Gold where they take on a bigger role and are fully responsible for their own learning.

Arts Award is an excellent opportunity for pupils to become more involved in school life as well as learning new skills and gaining UCAS points. Pupils have directed scenes or made costumes for school plays, run fund raising activities, designed shop windows and run musical events.

To view the Arts Award Gallery, please click here


For the coming year a trip to Paris is being organised. Pupils will see all of the usual tourist sites as well as many galleries and exhibitions including a visit to Versailles, the Pompidou centre and a boat trip on the Seine. The annual art trip takes students to a variety of places including Barcelona, Prague and New York giving them a first hand and invaluable experience.


A Level Experimental Drawing Workshop

Photography Workshop Year 8