Since 1999 the delivery of the art curriculum has been dominated by the model of the termly, themed unit of work which was the method used by QCA in presenting an example of an art curriculum in 1999. Although it was never intended to be the only way of delivering the art curriculum it quickly became an almost universal orthodoxy. The new art curriculum provides an opportunity to reflect upon and challenge that orthodoxy. Perhaps the art curriculum does not have to be delivered in three termly units each following the same pattern leading inexorably through a theme towards a single outcome.
The new curriculum places a premium upon mastery and technical skills. Perhaps it would be appropriate for some units to simply focus on this aspect of the subject. Just learn to print well, rather than learning a technique quickly in the process of pursuing an outcome by the end of term. Perhaps it would be possible to spend time drawing regularly, probably the most important single thing to do to improve the quality of art education.
The curriculum also focuses our attention upon knowing about art, craft and design. Perhaps it would be possible to simply look at and enjoy works of art, craft or design without having to ‘work in the style of…’ . Perhaps every so often we should put a work in the spotlight (spotlight hour) and ask ourselves, who made it, why, when, how, where. Do we like it, why, or why not.
Perhaps it is time to speculate about what might happen if we didn’t have a termly theme. A lighter, brighter curriculum model perhaps.