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Art & Design

Teaching Staff

Mrs J Stranney (Head of Art & Design)
Mr R Gillen 



Antrim Grammar School Art Department’s mission is to encourage all pupils’ interest in and enjoyment of the visual arts by promoting aesthetic appreciation, critical thinking and the skilled, creative manipulation of visual media.

Teaching and Learning Aims

The Art & Design department fully supports the aims of the school in their wish to;

  • develop the Whole Person: Valuing Individuals
  • educate for Life: Valuing Learning
  • develop a Sense of Community: Value Others.

We in Antrim Grammar School Art & Design Department wish to deliver the Northern Ireland Curriculum for Art & Design in a way which contributes to the aims of our school. 

We wish to meet Northern Ireland Curriculum objectives by:

Developing pupils as individuals by:

  • examining the meaning of images and artefacts to foster personal and social insights.  For example, through treatments of identity and belonging from portraiture to architectural design;
  • helping to understand the workings of those areas of their own culture which are non-verbal;
  • using materials and techniques to extend their experience of physical and manipulative skills, and so providing an outlet for individual imagination and creativity.

Developing pupils as contributors to society by:

  • offering pupils the opportunity to engage with using artefacts and contexts from other cultures to interrogate their relationships to local and global societies;
  • examining the ways in which the worlds of life and work are dominated by visual experience and the use of images.  Understanding images helps cope with the variety of meanings with which we are daily bombarded.  Art & Design is the one subject where visual skills come first;
  • working directly with materials, techniques and equipment as well as engaging with the products of culture.

Developing pupils as contributors to the economy by:

  • examining the real-world design practice;
  • appreciating the significance of creative industries to the UK economy;
  • understanding that cost effectiveness and sustainability are increasingly part of design practice, and applying these concepts can model contributing to the economy and the environment, for example in relation to automotive and product design;
  • exploring the work of artists, designers and craft workers. Through this sort of study pupils can develop skills which help when making choices where there is no ‘right’ answer, and solutions are dependent on context;
  • developing skills valued by employers such as: improving own learning and performance, problem finding and solving, working with others, and using new and emerging technologies.

Key Stage 3 Summary

Year 8

-Colour Theory, Painting and The Fauves

-Leaf theme, Collage, Print  and Matisse

-Ceramic Cakes and Buns, Wayne Thiebaud

Road Safety Poster and Graphic Design


Year 9

-African Masks and African tribal masks

-Self Portraiture, Photoshop and Frida Kahlo

-Textile Animal Mola’s and South American Art


Year 10

-Still life Painting, Still life artist link (6 possible incl. Matisse, Chagall, Dufy, Renoir, Derain and Metzinger).

-Organic Pattern 3d ceramic tile / collage and Peter Randall-Page (stone sculptor).

-Cd Cover Design, Graphic Design and popular cd cover contextual study.



GCSE Art & Design Summary

Our examination board is CCEA and the specification is GCSE Art & Design.  The examination consists of 2 components:

  1. A core portfolio (controlled assessment)      60% marks
  2. An externally assessed examination                                  40% marks

Pupils are required to produce an edited portfolio of no more than 20 sheets of A2 coursework.  The portfolio allows the pupil to work in a wide range of media and students may choose to work in 2d, 3d, fine art or design areas.  Each project must also show that the pupil has looked at the work of other artists and designers.

The externally set assignment is given to pupils at the end of January of the final year allowing a minimum of 15 hours for preparation work and ten hours to produce the final piece.  It is similar in format to the Core Portfolio but is completed over a shorter time frame.  The units are internally marked and then moderated by CCEA.





Unit 1

Controlled Assessment  Internally marked and externally moderated


Yr 11 – Yr 12 end of Jan

Unit 2


Controlled Assessment Internally marked and externally moderated


Yr 12 end of Jan –end of April

Art & Design A-Level

Students are required to study 3 modules for AS level and 6 in total for A2.  All Units carry EQUAL weighting.

CCEA's GCE Applied ICT qualification gives students hands-on experience of ICT and first-hand experience of how it is used in real life contexts. This practical approach helps students develop knowledge and skills that benefit them both in employment and in preparation for higher education.


Year 13





Mode of Assessment



AS 1 Experimental Portfolio

Controlled assessment

Internally marked and externally moderated

50% of AS

20% of A-Level


AS 2 Personal Response

Controlled assessment

Internally marked and externally moderated including a ten hour controlled test.

50% of AS

20% of A-Level


Year 14




A2 1 Personal and Critical Investigation

Controlled assessment

Internally marked and externally moderated.

Including a written investigation 1000-3000 words – 12% of A-level.

60% of A2

36% of A-level


A2 2 Thematic Outcome

Controlled assessment

Internally marked and externally moderated. Including a 15 hour controlled test.

40% of A2

24% of A-Level

Year 14 (Legacy specification – current Yr 14 only).



Mode of Assessment



A2 1 Personal Investigation

Controlled assessment

Internally marked and externally moderated

60% of A2

30% of A-Level


A2 2 Externally Set Assignment

Controlled assessment

Internally marked and externally moderated

40% of A2

20% of A-Level

Extra Curricular/Extended Learning Opportunities

A junior art club is available for pupils in Years 8 to 10 which provide an opportunity for pupils to further develop their skills and enter external competitions.  This runs after school every Tuesday (Week A) from 3.15 - 4.15pm in room D5.

Senior art support is available for Years 11-14 and provides extra time in school to allow examination pupils to use the facilities and gain additional teacher time.  This runs every Tuesday after school from 3.10 – 4.30.

Film Club is another extra-curricular activity run within the Art Department, films are shown on a Friday with start time being 3.10pm and finish time varying.  It is available for years 11 -14.

School trip opportunities are available for senior pupils to support their studies in Art & Design.  We are currently planning a trip to London for our senior pupils.  We regularly take groups out to visit local museums and galleries. We take a trip annually to see the Royal Ulster Academy Exhibition at the Ulster museum and to see CCEA’s exhibition of the best of GCSE and A-level Art & Design work from around Northern Ireland; True Colours Exhibition.

Career Opportunities 

The beautiful (and functional) things we love don’t just come out of nowhere. From the clothes we wear to the art hanging on our walls to the buildings we live in, these things wouldn’t exist without those with an eye for visual arts and design. And those professionals have an important role in the working world.

“Graphic Design students get jobs with high profile companies, creating branding, television graphics, and working for advertising agencies”

So, what kinds of jobs are available?

Animation students go on to do visual effects for high profile movies such as the Harry Potter films. They get jobs with games companies and create PS3, Xbox and Wii games.

Illustration students work in publishing, design and advertising. Their clients can include newspapers like The New York Times, telecoms companies like Orange and even sports brands like Umbro.

Interior Design students find jobs in lighting, exhibition, furniture design and theatre. Graduates go on to design sets for theatres and create new interiors for hospitals and travel agents.

Students who enrol in Fine Art work as independent artists, teachers, exhibition curators, gallery managers and project managers. Those who decide to become independent artists gain recognition for themselves by entering international competitions and exhibiting in renowned galleries all over the world.

Textile Design students work as designers for fashion and interior, they become buyers for large clothing companies, they design costumes for theatre and often set up their own businesses.

The list above merely starts to explore the possibilities. Once you immerse yourself in an art college you will discover that there are many more employment opportunities available for artists and designers. The critical thing to remember is that you need to showcase yourself. The more effort you put into getting your name out there, the more likely you will find yourself happily employed.

Written by Mhari MacDonald

Marketing & Recruitment Officer from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

DEPARTMENT Achievements

Full UMS Marks at GCSE Art & Design – Sarah Hill – June 2014

Full UMS Marks at AS Art & Design – Lauren McWilliam  June 2014

Full UMS Marks at GCSE Art & Design – Conor Robb – June 2015

Full UMS Marks at AS & A2 Art & Design -  Joint 1st place in NI – Sarah Hill – June 2016