The Art Department at Princes Risborough School aims to deliver a well balanced Art education to every pupil. Staffing in the department consists of Head of Art, Teacher of Art and a part -time Technician. The department consists of two studios with a preparation room / sixth form room used in study periods. The department is able to offer a wide range of activities including painting and drawing, ceramics, screen printing and some textiles, sculpture and photography.
Each pupil has a sketchbook, which is used to research and plan project work. By experimenting with ideas, trying out new techniques, recording feelings and thoughts or information about artists this allows pupils to develop work that is well thought out and often on a large scale.
The department also has access to digital cameras as well as two networked computers in the department, both with Photoshop software installed. There is also an A3 printer and each of the teaching rooms is equipped with either an interactive white board or projector and screen. The use of ICT is continually growing in the department with students using it as a tool to develop their work in new and imaginative ways.
Students study Art one lesson per week until the end of year 8 where they then may opt to take Art as a GCSE subject. Exceptional students will have the opportunity to take the exam at the end of year 10 and then move on to follow a Fine Art or Photography GCSE through year 11. Students have attained excellent results in the last few years with results ranging between 80 and 90% A*- C. A Level Art is studied at sixth form with students receiving 5 lessons per week.
The department strongly believes in students seeing works of art at first hand and so a number of trips are organised each year. Year 7 in the summer term follow a multicultural project, as part of this they have the opportunity to visit the Pitt Rivers, Natural History Museums and the Botanical Gardens in Oxford. In Year 9 students visit the Tate Modern as do Sixth Form who also visit The Frieze Art Fair in Regents’ Park. For the last few years we have visited European Galleries in Paris and Barcelona. This has given students a far greater understanding of different types of art as well as some fantastic Citizenship opportunities.
The department has also worked with a number of outside agencies over the last few years including : Running an Arts Day for all students at Monks Risborough School; Ceramicist Suzanne King came in for two days to work with year 10 and 11 students; GCSE and A Level students exhibit their work within school but also hold an exhibition in the Town library where members of the public regularly comment on the high standard of the work exhibited; Professionals from the advertising industry came in to talk to year 10 art students about their work and what is involved, they held a question and answer session at the end for students to talk to them directly; In the last few years, year 9 students have worked with both the Wychwood Music Festival in Cheltenham and Towersey Folk Festival to design and produce flags for the site.
The school runs an enrichment programme on Wednesday afternoons that all members of staff are asked to contribute to. Various art courses are run including mural painting, set painting – working with the drama department and photography.
The annual exhibition is in Princes Risborough Town Library each November.