Art - Holland Park School - Commended for the BMC Award

Since taking over the leadership of the Art department just over two years ago, Olivia Burley has redesigned the curriculum and programmes of study to maximise the opportunities for all students to make progress and achieve examination success. Her vision for the department is to develop students’ acquisition of artistic skills by planning and implementing imaginative and engaging schemes of work. The curriculum has also been broadened through the inclusion of a range of contemporary and traditional artists from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The Art subjects are an integral part of the ethos of Holland Park from the Art Scholarship programme and school publications, to the GCSE, A level and Art Aptitude exhibitions in the purpose built gallery. At GCSE, the Art subjects are continually oversubscribed. Photography was introduced 5 years ago and is highly popular among the student body. The course has been particularly accessible and engaging for lower attaining and SEND students, with all students exceeding their predicted grades at GCSE.

The importance of showcasing and celebrating students’ work is highlighted across the key stages. Last academic year, Holland Park’s first Art exclusive magazine was designed, produced and sent to all parents and governors as part of the termly Et Cetera magazine. The success of the magazine has led to it being kept as a yearly feature, which has evolved into the Holland Park ‘Turner Prize’ with an end of year exhibition to celebrate students’ work.

The department has also placed a focus on external collaboration and extracurricular provision; most recently collaborating with The Mosaic Rooms gallery and two other local schools on a 4-week project ‘Lockdown Diaries: Over&Out’. These opportunities offered perspectives and activities not currently covered in the curriculum. The project was delivered by two artists, through virtual sessions, to scholarship and year 12 students. At the end of the course, students visited The Mosaic Rooms and had their artwork exhibited virtually.

Internally, all department members have been encouraged to attend more practical workshops and CPD courses. To develop this further, teacher-led CPD sessions are being incorporated into the department, so colleagues can share different skill sets. Collaboration with other departments has also been encouraged, with the Art and Music departments now working together annually on the annual school production.