Teaching Staff

  • Ms C Quail, BA PGCE (Subject Leader)
  • Miss A Johnston, BA PGCE


Key Stage 3


The Art and Design Department is a friendly, welcoming and supportive learning environment. It facilitates the personal development of students through creative and expressive activities. It promotes in the students a sense of enjoyment and enrichment in their lives. 

The course at Key Stage 3 is designed to present a variety of experiences to enable pupils to develop knowledge, understanding and skills. Exploration of the visual world through observation and experiment, both in two and three dimensions, forms a crucial part of the programmes of study. Sketchbooks are of great importance and the use of ICT is encouraged, both for information gathering and for design purposes.

The quality of teaching and learning is bolstered and reinforced through the application of suitably varied strategies and methods. Students are encouraged to think and do for themselves through investigative studies and create imaginative final pieces within the constraints of structured and stimulating project work. Art work is assessed on a regular basis by the student and teacher. There is differentiation throughout Art and Design lessons to ensure that Gifted and Talented students are stretched and under-confident students are supported.

Collaborative units of work have been built into KS3 schemes of work to meet the requirements of the N.I. Revised Curriculum. Success and effort are rewarded and this is directly linked to formative assessment procedures internally and to the school mid termly report system. All KS3 students complete two sets of internal examinations and three Core Assessments throughout the year.

At KS3 a wide range of techniques and disciplines are explored including: drawing, painting, collage, 3D design, ceramics, printmaking, illustration, branding/advertising, digital photography, digital image manipulation, textiles and mixed media.  All students receive three 50 minute periods of Art and Design during a fortnight.



The specification followed at Key Stage 4 is provided by CCEA. GCSE Art and Design is a stimulating and challenging course which offers pupils the opportunity to further develop their creative, intellectual and artistic abilities. In Year 11 and 12, pupils are encouraged to develop their individual strengths and interests in Art and Design. Students are given group and individual tuition and guidance for both their coursework and examination work. Use of a wide range of media is promoted and students are encouraged to explore their own ideas and interests within the confines of the CCEA GCSE syllabus.

Component 1

Part A: Exploratory Portfolio – 25%

Part B: Investigating the Creative and Cultural Industries – 35%

Component 2

Externally Set Assignment - 40%

We also offer GCSE Contemporary Crafts. Contemporary Craft is about making things. Craft makers explore materials, techniques and processes as they combine intellectual activity and manual dexterity to create unique objects. The world of craft offers a huge variety of materials for the craft maker to choose from such as:

  • ceramics;
  • glass;
  • metal;
  • precious and semi-precious stones;
  • resins;
  • textiles; and wood.

GCSE Contemporary Crafts consists of two components.

Component 1 (Controlled Assessment), students have the opportunity to:

  • explore materials, techniques and processes;
  • understand the importance of health and safety;
  • make connections between their own work and work produced in the wider creative industries; and
  • understand business models and employability options.

Component 2 (Externally Set Examination), students focus on understanding, responding and working to a brief.

A Level


The A Level Art and Design specifications are also offered by CCEA and build on the art, craft and design experiences offered at GCSE level. At AS and A2, candidates are stimulated and challenged, giving them the opportunity to further develop their skills, individual style and ability to work independently. In Year 13 and 14, students work closely with their subject teacher in developing their ideas, thinking independently, working to a deadline and taking responsibility for planning their own work patterns. All students are encouraged to produce work which covers a range of media, is personal, aesthetically pleasing and shows a high degree of skill.


AS 1 – Experimental Portfolio – 50%
AS 2 – Personal Response – 50%


A2 1 – Personal and Critical Investigation –  Written Investigation – 20% Practical Investigation – 40%
A2 2 – Thematic Outcome – 40% 


Projects will be assessed by the department teachers and moderated by an external CCEA examiner.

Extra Curricular

Every Friday during junior lunch Ms Quail runs Lego Club which allows students to create and build Lego. Students also have the opportunity to create Lego Animations using the iPad and the Stop Motion App. From term 2 students can also enjoy 'Sketch@Lunch Club.' Students from Years 8, 9 and 10 have the opportunity to explore and develop their drawing skills in a relaxed atmosphere.

Miss Kinghan runs after school ceramics classes for Contemporary Crafts students. After school Art and Design classes focus on giving GCSE and A Level students the opportunity to continue their individual project work.


To support the Art and Design curriculum, the department offers opportunities for students at all levels to work directly with artists, designers, craftspeople and those involved in the film industry. The experience of working alongside a practitioner at first hand has many benefits: encouraging the pupils’ enthusiasm and interest, introducing new skills, developing creativity and broadening their awareness of employment opportunities within the creative industries in Northern Ireland and beyond.

This year Jessica McConkey had her work selected for the second year in a row to ‘True Colours,’ exhibition in the Ulster Museum. This is an outstanding achievement for Jessica and the Art Department. She was one of only 20 students in Northern Ireland to have her AS work chosen. At AS and A2 Level our Art and Design students visited the Seacourt Print Workshop in Bangor and worked alongside printmakers to extend their intaglio, dry point and screen printing skills and most recently our Year 12 students worked along with ceramicist, Anne Marie Robinson to develop their skills in ceramics.  By offering these events our talented pupils at Slemish College are encouraged to extend their artistic skills and develop their creative thinking by involving themselves in a range of exciting opportunities. Ceramicist Adam Frew is also a regular visitor to the school showing the Contemporary Craft students how to ‘throw’ on the potter’s wheel. We are looking forward to a visit in February from artist Seamus O’Labhradha who was one of the painters involved in the film ‘Loving Vincent,’ – the first fully painted feature film telling the life of Vincent Van Gogh.


At all levels, pupils are made aware of opportunities which exist within the creative industries. At examination level, the GCSE and A Level courses provide a solid foundation in Art and Design for students who wish to progress to further education or employment in these subject areas. Every year, students leave the Art and Design Department at Slemish College to continue their studies through a Foundation Course or direct entry to a Degree Course in their chosen specialism.

Artists, designers and craft workers are by nature creative problem solvers and this makes them an attractive asset for a variety of employers.

Related careers: Art Therapy, Community Arts, Fashion Design, Furniture Design, Illustration, Graphic Design, Photography, Multi-Media, Teaching, Ceramic Design, Architecture, Filmmaking and Production.

Homework & Core Assessments

  • At Key Stage 3 students receive homework to enhance and extend their classroom learning. This could take the form of observational drawing, research, 3 dimensional sculpture or continuing a piece of work begun in class.

  • GCSE and A Level students are given briefs, schedules and plans to direct their independent home study.

  • Core Assessments take place three times a year (1 per term). These assessments comprise of research tasks and project work.


Slemish College Facebook

BBC Bitesize - Art and Design Revision


National Museums of Northern Ireland

The Mac

Void Gallery


Tate Museums

Design Museum

The British Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum

National Galleries of Scotland

Ashmolean Museum

National Portrait Gallery

National Gallery

Royal Academy Gallery

Whitechapel Art Gallery

Serpentine Gallery

The London Street Gallery


The Vatican Museums

The Louvre Museum Paris

Musee D’Orsay Paris

Auguste Rodin Museum, Paris

International Gallery, Italy

Egyptian Museum, Berlin

Ufizzi Gallery, Florence

Prado Museum, Madrid

Reina Sofia Gallery, Madrid

Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, Madrid

Michelangelo's House, Florence (Casa Buonarroti)

Villa Borghese Gallery, Rome

Capitoline Museum, Roma

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Guggenheim Museums

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Wolfsonian Collection

John Paul Getty Museum

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Whitney Museum of Art