Imagination and independence of thought are fundamental to our view of art education. Our role is in helping learners understand the world and themselves through art – and develop their creativity as a transferable life skill.
We are also part of the Year 7 Specialist Schools Curriculum, and run a Ceramics module as part of the School of Expression and a Printmaking module as part of the School of Creativity.
Please visit the gallery for pictures from our Artist Open House 2018
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Why study this subject?
A GCSE in Art & Design is an important part of the progression route towards a wide range of careers in areas such as architecture, landscape design, graphic design, fashion design, film and animation, furniture design, textile design, primary and secondary teaching, publishing, book illustration, web design, ceramics, art curator, museum curator, freelance artist, game designer, product designer and interior designer. If you choose to look for a job, you will have a portfolio of work that will evidence your ability to pursue a GCSE course in art and design, covering different assignments and producing a range of work.
Topics of Study and Assignments
In Years 7 and 8 students complete 6 units of work covering a wide range of media, materials and techniques. Students explore and investigate the work of a diverse range of artists, craftspeople and designers from around the world, both contemporary and historical. The work ranges from 2D: painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, photography and the use of IT, to 3D: card/wire construction and ceramics.
Students are introduced to the assessment criteria for GCSE from Year 7, in order to familiarise them with the structure of the course from an early point in their secondary art education.
From Year 9 onwards, students start to prepare for their GCSE Art course through experimental drawing and deeper exploration of media, materials and techniques. They investigate the work of other, relevant artists in relation to their own visual work and produce outcomes that they analyse and improve upon.
Sue Attia has been teaching Art for 15 years and has a degree in Fine Art from Kingston University. Prior to teaching, Sue was a self-employed illustrator.
Claire Cossey has been teaching for 16 years and has degree in Fine Art Print Making from Brighton University. She has worked at Fabrica Gallery in Brighton and has exhibited her printmaking work.
Claudia Sweeting has a First Class BA Hons Degree in Graphic Design and Illustration, specialising in printmaking. She completed her GTP Teacher Training at Goldsmiths London qualifying in 2002. She joined the department in January 2012.
The department is supported by two technicians:
Events and Activities
Year 11 GCSE exhibition as part of the Brighton Festival Artists Open Houses, Saturday 20th May 2017 10.30am - 4pm. For news on the 2016 event please see the news story.
Termly celebration and awards for excellent art work across all year groups. Rolling in-house exhibition of student work, including Brighton University linked Printmaking club.
Print Making - students get the opportunity to experiment with a range of printing techniques from collagraph to lino printing. They will look at the work of artists and print-makers to inspire their own work. Students will also get the chance to work on a printing press.
Craft Club - Students can try out a range of techniques and media, including paper craft, ceramics, mixed media, construction etc. Be inspired by a range of artists work and develop their designing and making skills.
Art GCSE catch up - Students can come and complete any outstanding GCSE coursework or homework with the support of a GCSE Art teacher.
Crackit - Read all about this exciting venture which fuses design with cricket.
This Term's Outstanding Artwork
This award was launched to celebrate the achievements of our talented students. Each term the Art department will choose a piece of work from each year group in which students have gone to great efforts!
Winners will receive a certificate and have their work displayed on the website, around the school on Varndean TV!
The Autumn term's winners are:
Cubist Still life: Asha Al-Khayyat 11NJR/A
Ceramic Pebble: Joe Paulger 10RDN/T
Africa Masks: Ellie Wilson 9NSW/R
Australian Aboriginal Art: Connor Lenton 8SJA/E
Inky Beetle: Eden Shewell 7SJC/E
@varndeanartdept Some wonderful work here
This year our Varndean Artist Open House is going virtual! OUR LINK GOES LIVE TOMORROW! Very much looking forward to showing you the students wonderful work and hearing your feedback. #brighton #artgcse #art #ceramics https://t.co/reFZ5PlTP4
Our Varndean Artist Open House is going virtual! Year 11 students have worked very hard to produce stunning artwork which we are proud to showcase via the Varndean School website- Launch on 22/5/20 @VarndeanSchool @artistshouses @FivewaysArtists @brightfest #Brighton #gcseart https://t.co/CMI0cdx4BU