Art & Design

Art and Design at all key stages encourages creativity in an environment where students are encouraged to experiment and explore ideas without fear of failure.

Art and Design is so much more than self-expression, and we provide the opportunity to share our enthusiasm for the rich art history and culture our world has to offer.

Please have a look around our virtual tour of our students' GCSE work: 

Here is our latest A level work:


At Key Stage 3 students are taught in mixed ability classes by exploring key elements of line, colour, tone, shape, form, pattern and texture which underpin all areas of art and design. Students cover a variety of disciplines including paint, printmaking and 3D.

Year 7: Students cover key skills of observation, colour, form and tone through still life projects. Sketchbooks are at the core of learning to teach students the importance of experimentation and the design process as well as creative presentation of ideas.

Year 8: After the foundation teaching in Year 7, students are introduced to animal and human portraiture and stretch their abilities in illustration, paint, colour and tone through a series of varied artworks and artistic techniques. Sketchbook work again focuses on key skills and demonstrating problem solving and abilities to review and refine their work.

Year 9: Building from the natural world project in Year 8, students are introduced to a GCSE-style project to teach them basic assessment principles in art and broaden their abilities in composition and illustration. They explore a Jungle theme using paint, colour and tone through studying artists, inspiration images and techniques. Sketchbook work focuses showing a design journey with research and annotation and opportunities to test, review and refine their ideas.

Syllabus: Edexcel GCSE Fine Art

Our highly popular KS4 Art course offers comprehensive tuition in all key artistic genres – portrait, still life, landscape, architecture and abstraction, working in a range of drawn, painted and 3D mediums. Sketchbooks are used to record personal visual journeys. Projects start from broad themes that students personalise to suit their own interests and ideas. At the end of the course the students’ achievements are celebrated in our Visual Arts Summer exhibition.

Syllabus: Edexcel A level Fine Art

At Key Stage 5 students develop personal expression, aesthetic pleasure, imagination, sensitivity, conceptual thinking, practical skills, analytical ability and historical and cultural awareness through a rigorous and diverse course, with a long established 100% success rate of students gaining entry into their first choice Art & Design degree or Art Foundation course. Projects again cover a core range of broad themes that students create individual responses to, and include the options to work in a wide variety of mediums from painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture, installation and assemblage, animation and film, digital illustration and mixed media. In Year 13 students set their own personal brief to explore independent areas of interest. An extended written contextual study is also a core part of Advanced level study, developing skills in art/design history and investigative writing, which informs their own ideas and projects.

At the end of the course, students mount their own exhibition to display their work, learning about professional display and promotion of their own arts practice.

Director: Ms Claire Pennington (teaching Art & Textiles) Contact details:

Teachers in this Faculty:

  • Mrs Tina Herringshaw-Dodd (Assistant Director; in charge of KS4 Design subjects, teaching Textiles & Art)
  • Ms Lisa Brooks (Assistant Director, in charge of KS3 Design subjects; teacher of Food & Nutrition)
  • Ms Samantha Ponting (teacher of Graphics & Art)
  • Ms Julia Pritchard (teacher of 3D Design & Art)
  • Ms Kathryn Wilson (teacher of Textiles & Art)
  • Ms Maggie Hollings (teacher of Art)
  • Mr Ben Harrison (teacher of Graphics)
  • Mr Ellis Stacey (3D Design technical support)
  • Ms Issy Miller (Art & Design technical support)
  • Ms Sonia Byron (Food & Textiles technical support)

At John Mason School Visual Arts consist of:

  • Art and Design (KS3-5)
  • Graphic Design (KS3-5)
  • Textile Design (KS3-5)
  • 3D Design (KS3-4)
  • Food & Nutrition (KS3-4)

The Visual Arts Faculty prides itself on providing our students with a wide range of opportunities within and beyond the curriculum in a creative and inspiring environment. The study of visual arts subjects encourages creative thinking, problem solving, perseverance and an understanding of various processes, techniques and materials to create a range of innovative and exciting outcomes in a variety of disciplines.

At John Mason we embed key skills in art, craft and design from Year 7 onwards, building students who are able to question, think, record, analyse and plan and create. Our Faculty has an inclusive approach to learning with Creativity and Independent Learning at the heart of all we do. A strong emphasis is placed on equipping students with independent study skills to succeed in our subject areas at high standards and life beyond school, including research, investigation and presentation skills and managing their time, resources and workload.

Our own 06 Gallery is a professional space to exhibit art and design work and showcases our students’ accomplishments as well as occasionally offering exhibition space for local artists and groups and ex-JMS Art and Design post graduates. We offer a range of extra-curricular opportunities and community projects to enrich students’ experience, enjoyment and development in all Visual Arts disciplines.

In short, the ethos of the Visual Arts Faculty is:

  • To inspire engaging visual learning, creative thinking and independent practice
  • To teach practical & organisational skills, problem solving and resilience
  • To provide an enriched curriculum promoting value to Art & Design subjects, inspiring confidence, artistic vision and drive.