Art & Design 11-16

Why become a teacher of art and design?

Becoming an art teacher isn’t only teaching brush strokes and colour theory; it’s about being a catalyst for self-discovery and confidence, fostering a mindset of exploration and resilience. Art is a universal language and as an art teacher you will be able to impart your knowledge and passion for the subject whilst also encouraging creative thinking, diversity, and a sense of community. The satisfaction comes from seeing your students not just create art, but develop into confident, resourceful individuals who can tackle challenges creatively across the whole of their education. Choosing to be an art teacher means being on the frontline of unleashing untapped potential and shaping future innovators!


Being a teacher of art means you will support young people: 

  • to learn practical skills and language to express ideas;
  • to learn about artists and makers on a global, national and local level;
  • to understand how to communicate intentions using visual language;
  • to empower us to notice, question, interact and respond;
  • to learn the value of making mistakes and build resilience.


What are the key concepts that underpin our approach to the teaching of art?

  • the purpose and forms of drawing
  • recording ideas, observations, insights and independent judgements visually and through informative written annotation, using suitable specialist vocabulary.
  • developing practical skills and language to express ideas, informed by understanding of historical and contemporary art, craft and design contexts.
  • making connections between sources, context, ideas and making practices
  • understanding how artists communicate their intentions and how these are interpreted by the viewer 
  • empowering students to think for themselves and make work which expresses their ideas and feelings
  • evaluating and reflecting on practical work
  • making connections and exploring narratives beyond the canon of Western Art
  • understand the context of the acquisition and making of artworks and the impact of this on the visibility of artists through time

The art Subject Curriculum Sessions were always invigorating and motivating, and allowed me to develop a strong sense of myself as an Art teacher. My Subject Specialist was always on hand to support and was a great help in supporting me to link theory with practice.

How is our art and design course constructed?

This course is built on an extensive research base in teaching creative arts and it is closely interwoven with our Central Curriculum Sessions as part of our overall Integrated Curriculum approach. Each year we review all aspects of our courses to ensure that they cover the most relevant components of the subject as well as introducing you to the most commonly taught ideas and concepts. Mentors and specialist teachers in our partnership schools also play a crucial role in reviewing the programme to ensure that it gives the very best preparation for becoming a great art teacher.

Our carefully designed curriculum is structured so that you will have approximately one Subject Curriculum Session a week across the 2024-25 academic year. Alongside this, subject specificity is carefully woven throughout all aspects of the course, including the ongoing assessment process and the optional PGCE assignments, so that all content is relevant to you and your teaching. Subject Curriculum Sessions will develop on the ideas and theory raised in your general Central Curriculum Sessions so that you have expert guidance on how best to deliver strategies and techniques in your specific subject area. 

Our art and design course prepares you to teach across the 11-16 age range, and you will be formally assessed in those key stages. In addition you will also have the opportunity to observe and teach KS5/ A level art in at least one of your placements and your Subject Curriculum Sessions will include training that prepares you to teach KS5/ A level.

The links below will provide you with information about the curriculum and programmes of study for Key Stage 3 and 4 that schools are expected to deliver, these shape the content that your Subject Curriculum Sessions will cover, to ensure that you are able and confident to teach across the full range of topic areas included. 

Professional Subject Association

As well as introducing you to a wealth of relevant books, articles and research papers from our own resources and library, you will also have funded access to NSEAD, the leading voice for art, craft and design education.

Membership will be set up and arranged for you at the start of the course and your Subject Specialist will guide you on how best to use the resources, professional learning community and events from NSEAD to support your subject development and the lessons that you will prepare and deliver. 

Meet the Subject Specialist

Alexa has been a teacher and leader of Art & Design and the Creative Arts for more than 15 years and is currently Head of Faculty at Cheney School in Oxford.

As well as being passionate about the subject in the classroom, Alexa is on the Oxford Art Teachers’ Steering Committee, she is a moderator for Art & Design A Level and is also a practising artist.

I realised early in my teaching career that we have the power to change the life chances of every student. The Arts prepares young people with the skills and creativity needed in a changing world of work. It is essential and empowering. Our mission as Art teachers is to keep our subject and its values right in the heart of the school, and wear that heart on our sleeves.

Alexa Cox: Subject Specialist for Art & Design