The AccessArt Primary Art Progression Plan - Introduction
The AccessArt Primary Art Progression Plan attempts to balance a number of important elements in art education:
- Opportunities for new experiences, balanced with
- Time for repeated practice.
- Structured learning, balanced with
- Space for personal exploration.
- The accumulation of technical skills and contextual knowledge, balanced with
- Growing self-awareness of what it is to be a creative being.
Through all of the above, our aim is to enable individual pupils to make appropriate choices regarding materials and processes and to be empowered towards making a personal, creative response.
The plan is based upon a creative and holistic approach, which shows the inter-relations between various aspects of the visual arts, demonstrating how subject knowledge, skill and progression is built when all the elements work together.
We acknowledge the importance of teaching specific skills, sensitively modelling some materials, and introducing a wide variety of materials, concepts and artists as soon as possible.
We also advocate the importance of pupils being enabled to follow their own creative pathway, and the progression plan shows how this might best be encouraged to happen. When to let a child go, (and we would always argue that that should be as as soon as possible) and how to enable that exploration, is key to a successful art education.
The progression plan attempts to balance two very important elements of a high quality visual arts education: 1) practice with 2) novelty. The plan demonstrates how opportunities can be created for repeated practice and consolidation of skills, alongside opportunities to introduce new materials and concepts to feed and excite the creative process.
We are keenly aware that many of teachers in primary schools are not specialist art teachers, and in many cases they did not have a comprehensive art education themselves. The progression plan links to example AccessArt resources to help non-specialist teachers understand how best to facilitate art.
Finally our progression plan was written from a slightly different perspective than many. It is less about measuring the progress of pupils, but instead it attempts to pinpoint the stages of opportunity which should be presented by teachers. If the appropriate opportunities are created, then pupils will progress.
Why Teach Art in Primary Schools?
It often feels like we have forgotten why we teach art in schools. It can feel like a hard slog, trying to fit the subject in, and trying to teach it with little specialist knowledge within the school.
But! In schools where art is taught well, the whole environment buzzes with the creativity, energy and insight which art can bring. Let’s ask, before we start to talk about progression, where is it we’d like to head towards?
AccessArt would say it is simple:
We want to enable all pupils to feel able to think and act creatively. That means exploring all aspects of creativity: personal and social, exploring art for a variety of reasons, in a variety of contexts. Most importantly, it means enjoying the journey, so that pupils want to engage in creative activities, and so that they can grow to appreciate and value the importance of art as a highly subjective and individual experience, but one which is capable of bringing people together.
There are no national standards set in art for primary-aged children.
AccessArt advocates for conversation-based assessment in art which takes place on an ongoing basis. The conversations might take place as a class, as a group, or one to one and will feed into processes of reflection and evaluation. These are not activities which should just take place at the end of projects, but throughout the creative process. This makes assessment meaningful, and not a tick-list process which bears no use or relevance to the child.
This kind of assessment requires that the teacher is actively involved in each learning journey of every child, which we understand is potentially time consuming. We believe this type of assessment underpins good teaching and leads to better outcomes, especially in such a sensitive area as nurturing a child’s creativity.
We will be producing a full guide to progression in vocabulary later this year, including a glossary, but in the meantime key words, ideas and phrases are highlighted in pink on the Progression Plan
Download the Progression Plan
Developing the Art Curriculum
AccessArt has collected together some of the questions we often get asked about how we can help teachers develop the primary art curriculum.
What is Our Approach Based Upon?
AccessArt is the specialist provider of visual arts educational resources in the UK. We have over 20 years experience of facilitating the visual arts in schools.
Our progression plan is based upon the expertise within the AccessArt team.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank all those working in the field, and acknowledge that the skills and experience of all those in the field build upon and benefit from an open and ongoing conversation. #bettertogether
We believe the curriculum we present via our Exemplar Plans, and our working methods shared via our Progression Plan, provide schools with a way to access a rich art education for pupils, of which schools can be proud.
The curriculum AccessArt shares is based upon our ethos which has developed over many years and which we believe has creative integrity. In the creation of the Progression Plan we have taken the opportunity to present schools with what we believe will be the best possible art education for their pupils, building and enhancing upon what already exists.
Schools should note that the majority of our resources are created by artist-educators. Some but by no means all were created in formal education settings. It is up to teachers to assess on an individual or school community basis if the resources are right for your school, and how they might best be adapted to suit your needs.
All resources cited in both the Exemplar Plans and the Progression Plan are examples only, and there are many more resources in the evolving AccessArt database which may suit your needs better.
AccessArt presents our work to schools in good faith, but we cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the way the approach is received.