Pupil in art class at Elms Bank


The Art and Design policy of Elms Bank reflects the aims of the school in its attempt to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all its pupils regardless of academic or physical ability. The policy follows the National Curriculum as closely as possible but given the wide and varying range of needs of our pupils, modification is necessary on many counts and, therefore, includes the P levels. In practice this means that the course will relate to the developmental stage of the individual, covering work from all three key stages rendered age appropriate in order to allow real and meaningful achievement for all pupils. In 2002 Elms Bank was designated a Specialist Arts College and re-designated in 2008, offering the opportunity to embrace a second specialism, Applied Learning. The two specialisms became closely linked, offering many more and different learning opportunities to all our pupils. (See Overarching Arts Policy.)   

Art and Design is seen as a central element towards understanding and enjoyment of most areas of the school curriculum as well as a subject area in its own right. Cross curricular projects are welcomed and followed wherever possible. In a wider sense Art and Design is seen as a means of development of a wide range of practical and cognitive skills which allow personal development and an understanding of Art and Design within the context of society.         

The basic aim of Art & Design at Elms Bank is to broaden the experience and develop the ability of the individual to the maximum possible, allowing that individual to experience a course which reflects as far as possible current good practice in a mainstream school. Indeed, for some pupils experience and increased ability in the area of Crafts will sometimes exceed that possible in a mainstream school, enabling them to gain even greater access to a curriculum which states at the outset of each Key Stage that,

“Art be interpreted as art, design and craft throughout”.
(N.C. Programme of Study,1995)


  1. Aesthetic and linguistic aims.
    • To help pupils develop their own artistic language which will range from the simple to the aesthetic in some cases, ie. to be able to understand and make judgements on the nature of art forms within the context of their own work, within an historical context and within the context of their environment and culture.
  2. Perceptual aims.
    • To develop perceptual skills which are often under-developed in our pupils. These will enable pupils to create, comprehend and respond to art and design forms and to their visual environment. Given that most children with learning difficulties have problems related to under-developed cognitive skills, the art lesson provides an opportunity to identify and develop some of these skills.
  3. Technical aims.
    • To teach skills needed in order to use and manipulate materials. Many of these skills are important for future everyday life and not merely for artistic application.
  4. Personal and social aims.
    • To improve the quality of pupils learning in terms of their ability to think, perceive, make decisions and work through problems. Most importantly, to raise pupils self esteem and confidence in everything they do.
  5. Spiritual aims.
    • To develop spiritual opportunities wherever possible, for example, through reflection of their own or another artist’s work.