Reception: 01235 520173

Admissions: 01235 530593

Executive Assistant to the Headmistress: 01235 546502

Bursary: 01235 520657

Joint Bus Service Co-ordinator: 01235 546565

St Helen and St Katharine, Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1BE

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Spotlight on Art

In art we are keen to inspire students and develop their interests in the visual arts. We encourage our students to think freely and independently emphasising that personal ideas are core to creative development, at the beginning of a project, anything is possible. Displays of technology, art and ceramics work around school demonstrate the achievements and showcase the excellence of the range of work undertaken by students from all years from Year 5–Upper Sixth.

Trips and visits

Regular visits to national and international museums and art galleries contribute to students’ learning experiences and extend their understanding and knowledge through engaging with artwork at first hand. This year a new destination was the North West of England. In January Sixth Form art students visited Manchester and Liverpool. Over two days they saw a wide range of painting, sculpture, installations, ceramics, textiles and photography at the Whitworth, Tate Liverpool, The Lady Lever Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery; a highlight was seeing Anthony Gormley’s stunning installation at low tide at 9.00am on a bright cold morning on Crosby beach: 100 statues facing out to sea. This has been a stimulating starting point for several students in their practical work in Sixth Form.


Workshops led by professional practitioners enable students from Year 9–Upper Sixth to have a different art and design experience in and outside of the classroom. Of particular note was a recent visit to Oxford Brookes University, School of Urban planning and Architecture by Year 9 and Year 10 DT students where they saw work by Brookes’ students who were putting up their end of year shows. In the design studios, St Helen’s students took part in a workshop led by Dr Laura Novo de Azendo (Senior Lecturer and Course Leader) on a design exercise giving them an introduction into career opportunities in this field. Earlier this year at Pallant House Gallery in Winchester Year 11 GCSE art students started their second unit of work in an exciting workshop exploring materials led by Kate Boucher, an experienced teacher and textile artist. All these activities enable us to make a difference within and outside of the taught curriculum. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively across arts subjects and they benefit from sharing their ideas and the mutual support and benefit they give each other through vertical and peer learning opportunities.

Art scholars are ambassadors for their subject in and outside of the classroom and they are encouraged to extend their skills and understanding independently as well as in collaboration with others. Every term we invite art scholars to two specialist clubs. For example an oil painting club led by our artist in residence William Cotterill and casting in concrete organised by Ben Drew in the 3D area of the department.


A wide range of art and design extracurricular events and activities are offered to students. The Big Draw (a national initative) takes place in school during Michaelmas term as a whole school lunchtime event. It is open to everyone and is a way of showing the diversity of methods in art and design through play and non-traditional techniques, from sand animation to mechanical doodling machines. We encourage staff as well as students to take part!

Every January we hold a creative off-curriculum afternoon for all Year 9. This gives students the opportunity of taking part in creative workshops with invited external artists, designers and makers in areas that are not part of the Middle School taught curriculum such as photography, fashion and jewellery. Professional artists, designers and makers lead the workshops and each year there is a different theme - last year, upcycling.

Please explore the latest Beyond planner to discover what artistic pursuits you could enjoy this term.


Planner - Trinity 2019