Art and Ceramics

It is the Art and Ceramics departments’ primary objective to make art and pottery fun and exciting for the boys at The Hall. We aim to provide a safe and open environment which enables boys to feel free to interpret, discover and reflect, expressing their ideas and feelings in unique and positive ways. Pupils are encouraged to work independently, in order to build self-confidence and self-understanding. We have high expectations of all our pupils and we aim to provide tasks and create lessons that challenge, using a variety of stimulating visual aids throughout to inspire interest and encourage learning.

Art is taught by specialist teachers at The Hall School from Year 2 to Year 8. There are three specialist art teaching rooms; the rooms in both the Junior School and Senior School are situated at the top of each building, thus providing a well-lit and relaxed space. The Senior School also has its own specialist ceramics room; the ceramics room is a place where boys use clay in a sculptural and imaginative way, using handbuilding, coiling, slabbing and throwing on the potters’ wheel.  Pottery is taught as a specialist subject in Years 3, 5 and 6 and Year 4 boys also have the opportunity to choose it as an extra activity. Art and ceramics are both taught in half classes of nine boys from Year 3 upwards. This enables teachers to give boys the very best individual support and guidance, whilst allowing them the freedom to explore materials and to find their own path and come to their own innovative, individual and creative solutions.

Schemes of work are designed to enrich boys’ knowledge and understanding of art and ceramics; they are encouraged to explore a variety of themes, both ancient and contemporary, sculptural and functional.  Projects are designed with flexibility and bear direct relation to the boys in the group; planning is extended to tailor to different group abilities, dynamics and to incorporate current exhibitions and events. Boys regularly visit exhibitions and take part in a number of workshops with visiting artists each year. A variety of cultures and practices are encompassed, thereby enriching the cultural experiences of pupils by encouraging an appreciation of others’ views and perspectives of the world.

Most projects begin with drawing from observation; the fundamental life skill of how to ‘see’ helps the boys to visualise and find solutions. Pupils are taught both traditional and contemporary techniques in drawing and painting. Often these studies are then used alongside artists’ work as inspiration to create their own imaginative response to a theme. In addition to drawing and painting, boys cover a broad range of disciplines in lessons, including an extensive range of techniques in printing, textiles and a variety of media for three-dimensional studies. We also build the use of digital technology into each project. The Senior School art room is equipped with 5 desktops which pupils use for graphic elements of a project. Our department also has a class set of iPads which are used for both creative means and as a tool for research, assessment for learning and the recording and presentation of work.

Time is devoted within each scheme to allow for discussion, reflection, and peer and self- assessment. We also ensure that pupils are taught the appropriate vocabulary to discuss and express ideas openly and inquisitively. Boy’s achievement in art is celebrated through many initiatives, competitions and through our annual summer art exhibition. Many such celebrations are visually documented in the ‘Galleries’ section of the website.