In September 2007 the department moved into a magnificent new Art School designed by the award winning architect John Christophers of Associated Architects. Built over three floors, the light and spacious building offers five studios, workshops, offices, a gallery, an art library and ICT space.
The department is rooted in the fine-art tradition and all pupils have the opportunity to explore painting, textiles, print-making, mixed-media, digital media and sculpture. Work is developed from drawing and a rich programme of critical and contextual studies informs the pupils' understanding. Upper Sixth artists follow independent programmes of study which build upon skills learnt lower down the school and which reflect personal interests. Each Upper Sixth student has an individual studio space in which they are able to work after school and in free periods. This encourages the development of ambitious and large-scale work. Our examination results, at every level, are outstanding and we are regarded as a centre of national excellence. this year our Cambridge Pre-U results saw us top in the country on the Times pre-u list for independent schools.
Visiting artists, who exhibit work in the Art School's Sir Terry Frost Gallery, also deliver talks and workshops. There are frequent opportunities for pupils to exhibit work in and outside school. Exhibitions have been held in The Tate St Ives, Worcester Cathedral, the Malvern Festival Theatre, Worcester Porcelain Museum, Worcester Arts Workshop and local cafes and restaurants. Sixth Form artists curate their own exhibitions in the school's Theatre Gallery, as part of a programme which promotes independent learning.
The annual residential trip to Cornwall for GCSE is very popular and has a big impact upon the future development of pupils, both as artists and thinkers. Five days are spent in St Ives, where we visit the Tate Gallery, smaller galleries and artists' studios. Well-known artists give practical workshops in the stunning landscape. It is an intense, action-packed trip.
Sixth Form students gain from a programme of gallery visits and interviews with artists, organised throughout England and abroad including Barcelona, Nice, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Venice and Prague. We have also undertaken major expeditions to New York and China.
In the Sixth Form, students follow the two-year Cambridge Pre-U qualification. Cambridge Pre-U is a well-established Sixth From qualification and has been taught in schools for the past eight years. Pre-U Art is a stimulating and exciting course that encourages students to think deeply about Art and develop their individual style.
The studios are open four nights a week and there is a weekly life drawing class open to all Sixth Formers, parents, staff and visitors. Younger pupils enjoy an art club and participate in the Trinity Arts Award Programme.
The Art Department is keen to involve, not only members of the school in its many activities, but also members of the local community. Workshops for all ages and abilities are organised throughout the year and a local primary school works in the Art School once a week. Each year we participate in the national Big Draw event, attracting upwards of two hundred participants. We have been shortlisted three times and have twice been national winners, receiving a Drawing Inspirations Award presented by Quentin Blake at the British Museum, London. Other successes have included a Good Schools Guide award for outstanding teaching.
The department has an excellent track record for students gaining direct entry onto degree courses without the benefit of a foundation course. A number of former students have studied at The Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing at the University of Oxford, whilst others have studied fine art, textiles and architecture at leading universities such as Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Falmouth, Bristol, Reading and Newcastle.
The department is welcoming and friendly but demands hard work and high standards. We strive to ensure that working in the Art Department is a life-enhancing experience for boys and girls of all ages and abilities.