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Artistic Expression

Subject Overview

The ‘Artistic Expression’ sessions form an opportunity for students in The Beacon Centre to get together as a group with a sense of ‘togetherness’ rather than with a 1:1 approach although individual students needs are met. It forms an opportunity for students to be together regardless of key stages. In Artistic Expression we aim to develop awareness in students of their rich and diverse cultural influences and heritage, as well as an understanding and appreciation of the historical and contemporary background of creativity with a focus on their current shared position through the use of art. We share mark days such as Memorial Day, Holocaust Day, WE, Water Care and Black History Month. The outside world can seem a very foreign entity for some students so we also use the sessions as an opportunity to raise awareness of any contemporary issues including current affairs and topical issues such as sustainable travel and living. Artistic Expression is very process based and offers students the opportunity to produce artistic outcomes in a wide range of materials, to build up their technical skills and to express their feelings and provide peer support during their time at Northgate .Artistic Expression is about having an adventurous and enquiring group approach and to help each other develop the skills and courage to express it.in a group context and not in a 1:1 setting. In lessons students develop an understanding of past and contemporary issues and are expected to produce a personal response embracing a range of ideas and concepts through either group pieces or individual responses. The sessions also aim to support students admitted to The Beacon Centre who are following a GCSE/A level course in art and design but also forms an opportunity for others to improve their creative thinking and problem solving skills through activities not linked to their mainstream studies but aid their recovery and general re-engagement. The sessions are much centred on group dynamics where students will need to take the initiative in decision making and weekly outcomes will be of individual or group nature catering for the needs of the current intake [e.g. carefully chosen themes] and the sessions always aim to have a very tactile and sensory focus including lighting. The majority of lessons will be teacher led workshops, sometimes student led where a request has been made to safely share a certain topic close to their hearts through an artistic activity. The focus is on awareness and personal growth and peer support although we always experiment with a variety of media and techniques. Artistic Expression also complements our artist in residence programme.


The lesson content and Topic chosen as a starting point will each week be chosen based on the current needs of the group and as agreed with the young people a week in advance to best meet individual and current group needs. In such instance the suggested topic may be made redundant. 

The method approach will also be dependent on resources available. Inductions, assessments and introductions

In every weekly double lesson:

  • Students to develop creativity and peer support with an emphasis on personal growth, a future outlook and discovery of previously unknown strengths and gifts.
  • Students to develop research skills and record observations, be able to express and share experiences and ideas and demonstrate some ability to review, modify and refine their work during the double sessions.
  • Lessons will be based around a temporary still life of stimuli set and there will be an emphasis on the ‘cosy and tactile’. Music conducive to mental health challenges will also form part of most lessons. Considerations will also be made weekly in regards to the use of lighting.
  • Students to explore ideas in relation to concepts: with some group analysis of images and objects relevant to the chosen topic.
  • Student activities will form opportunities for students to experiment with a variety of materials and processes. Activities will form opportunities for students to experiment with visual elements and a variety of tools.
  • The weekly double session is to develop skills to be able to successfully achieve a personal response within the sessions based on students own judgements and in line with agreed intensions.

AQA Unit Awards can be awarded if the produced outcome is suitable for assessment. The sessions and produced outcomes may also compliment assessment back at a young person’s home school within subject areas such as Art and Design. Humanities, PHSE and RE.

 Learning beyond the classroom

Students will be strongly advised and encouraged to keep afloat with current artistic exhibitions and affairs both within the written media e.g. Time Out; on line and other technologies such as debating programmes and specialist workshops delivered by external companies within the area of culture including art galleries and specialist exhibitions. External art with a connection to mental health challenges often engages student interest and many use personal artistic diaries in their journey to recovery as a coping mechanism and to have their opinion heard e.g. during individual therapy sessions they may wish to share their personal diaries. Artistic Expression sessions develop students’ problem solving strategies as it involves seeking information, old and new, generating new knowledge and making decisions and creating the ability to debate and see points of views from a variety of perspectives within the art world and students of other key stages; it will allow students to take on some of the responsibility for their own learning and equip them with mechanisms to aid full recovery. External excursions will be encouraged. Students will have the opportunity to develop their research skills using the wide range of resources available in the classroom. It will provide students with opportunities for personalised work to actively explore current artistic topical issues close to their heart and give them opportunities to acquire a deeper knowledge to enhance their personal growth, ability to manage setbacks and general understanding of the ‘unknown’ an ‘uncertainty’.

 Progression Pathways and Careers

Artistic Expression at Northgate School offers a way of progression and personal growth. It assist young people in providing peer support whilst at Northgate School and helps them move towards a successful discharge from hospital. It enables students to express their informed ideas clearly and confidently, work confidently within a group, develop their self-presentation skills by giving them opportunities for discussion, improved self-esteem and self-worth. Artistic expression helps them to develop perseverance by providing them with opportunities throughout key stages and separate from their mainstream school work in regards to tactile and sensory experimentation with materials, tools and processes to review, re-evaluate and revise their current circumstances as a group. Students will be encouraged to relate these essential skills to their future employment choices and listen to the views of others and respect and adhere to the laws within the UK both at home and general employment laws.

For further details Contact

Mr Soren Jensen           email: sjensen1.302@lgflmail.org