Art at Ballard is renowned for its diversity, talent, quality and above all, achievement. Our vibrant department covers a wide-range of activities; from drawing and painting, using a variety of different media, such as; mixed-media, 3D work using cardboard construction, wire and clay, textiles incorporating weaving, ceramics, silk painting and Batik. We also teach Lino, mono, etching and poly printing.
The Staff in the department are highly-trained experts in their own field with the flexibility to teach across all disciplines. This allows us to offer a range of art media to suit all interests and levels of ability, where pupils can engage in creative learning. For extra stimulation and to increase our breadth, we also invite visiting artists to run workshops as well as pupils having the opportunity to visit local museums, London galleries and art trips abroad to cultural cities such as Venice, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Florence and India!
We are totally committed to the arts and offer all our pupils opportunities to explore their creative side. Pupils at Ballard enjoy Art and are stimulated by it. As a result they produce exceptional and varied work, as shown by our continued 100% achievement A* to C and this year, following the new levels, we again gained 100% achievement at 8-4 (equivalent to A* to C) plus two level 9s (considered to be AS level).
Ballard gives its art pupils the opportunity to explore and communicate their own ideas, their likes and dislikes, expanding their creativity, stimulating their imaginations; helping them to develop as individuals. Pupils are exposed to contextual art, looking at art genres, as well as both the old masters and contemporary artists.
Visiting artists, art workshops and trips to galleries help stimulate our pupils’ creativity.
‘I am always in touch with several alumni, they range from art teachers, fashion designers, puppet makers, graphic spray painters, to name but a few. I love that our alumni come back and drop in to see me. I have been invited to several foundation and degree shows for our art ex-pupils. I feel like a proud mum’.
Jan Dunn – Head of Art
With all the creativity enjoyed in Nursery, our pupils love art in Pre-Prep. They have a huge array of materials and ideas available to them and they are encouraged to flourish and create independent art work – letting their own creativity continue to shine.
As they progress through Pre-Prep, they develop their skills and are able to use more complex techniques and can undertake trickier projects, which are often overseen by our specialist art teachers.
This year our ceramics teacher worked alongside form tutors to plan out a very complicated project creating personalised post boxes! Using rollers and cutters, the pupils created their boxes out of clay and personalised them with their initials using their own Plaster of Paris stamp before painting them.
Art in Lower Prep is included in our cross-curricular teaching topics wherever possible. All Art at Ballard is taught by our specialist teachers from Year 3 upwards, creating incredible opportunities for our younger pupils.
At Ballard, we work on projects which include many Art disciplines. This way the pupils learn all the formal elements of Art but are encouraged to experiment with them rather than just copy. This develops their confidence and allows us to push them even further.
We teach them to think smart and to be independent. To think like an artist, there is a ‘three before me’ guideline – think, look and ask your neighbour before asking the teacher in order to encourage their creativity.
Year 3 recently created tonal observations of cultural masks, which involved all of the following techniques: mixed media, printing, stencils, pattern making, tonal work and shading. Year 5 had to think about texture, technique and experimentation with their ‘feathers’ project.
Expansive clay work is encouraged, which is way ahead of other local schools. Year 3 created incredible Pharaoh masks which brought their Ancient Egypt topic to life. Year 4 created lifelike, and almost life-sized, iguanas in an array of beautiful bright colours.
Art in Upper Prep is thematic using different disciplines across a number of projects. These become more complex and new techniques are introduced, pushing our pupils to explore and create.
Year 6 created mixed-media fish. Using real fish as their models they were able to study the colours and textures using touch as well as sight. They used real cloth for their tablecloth project, which involved printing, blending, glitter, building up different layers; so they had to think ahead. Clay work continues to be important with Year 6 creating a wonderful array of colourful sea monsters.
Year 7 created stunning silk banners of jungle animals and birds as well as acrylic paintings where technique was key to a life-like image. Formal observation drawing of brightly-coloured, wooden toucans and parrots reinforce learning on how to draw and shade tonally.
Year 8 learnt how to draw their own self-portrait and had a workshop with a graphic artist who showed them how to create their own cartoon characters. They also created large clay vases inspired by Klimt, Chagall and Andrea Pratt as well as creating wire Picasso faces and canvas painting using acrylics.
Our Senior Art focuses on extending the pupils’ capabilities even further. The continuity of this approach gives them confidence to take Art beyond GCSE, whether at A Level or at Art College.
Visiting artists provide illuminating workshops for our pupils. Visits to galleries at home and abroad give our pupils the opportunity to discuss and develop opinions of art movements and different genres.
Individuality stands out and again we challenge all our pupils to think smart, to use materials in a clever, original and creative way and more importantly, not to follow the crowd. We want to see well-rounded young men and women leaving the art department.