Art is in itself such an abstract topic, so open to interpretation, that teaching it to a high standard can be an art form in itself. So we asked one high-performing local school how it’s done.

Taught in their newly extended Art and DT building, complete with pottery room, kiln and printing press, and led by Sue McNamara (née Fields) since 2015, the art programme at Marlborough House School in Hawkhurst has helped pupils achieve a 100% success rate for senior school art scholarships.

Matisse-style collage by Year 6 child

This triumph is the result of Mrs McNamara’s thematic and cumulative approach to teaching art; layering the development of techniques, skills and understanding as pupils move up through the Prep School. Pupils are able to access a broad range of media within the classroom and often draw inspiration from their natural environment by heading to the outdoor classroom for some ‘plein-air’ painting. Inspiration also comes in the form of workshops and trips with a popular Aardman Animation Workshop (model makers of Wallace and Gromit fame) hosted at the School and art trips to Brighton Pavilion, the gardens at Great Dixter and further afield to London galleries.

Still Life by Year 8 Art Scholar

Surrealist Illustration by Year 8 Art Scholar

Find out more about Marlborough House, a country Prep School for boys and girls age 2.5-13 years, at their Open Day on 6 March. The School offers competitive fees for entry into Years 7 and 8, and a bespoke learning programme. They also offer a Year 7 Entry Scholarship with an assessment day on 11 March.

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