To ensure that art and design has a secure place in a broad and balanced curriculum for every child and that all children are given the opportunity to explore ideas, learn skills and techniques and gain a wider appreciation of how art and design have shaped, continue to shape and tell us about the world around us.

Design – key concepts

At Holmes Chapel Primary School, we strive to offer the children the opportunity to develop their creativity and artistic ability through a range of different experiences.  Children are provided with several artistic activities that are usually linked to their topics and involve a wide variety of media, including drawing, paint, print, clay, collage and 3D sculpture.  Relevant skills are taught and demonstrated to further the growth and development of the children and they are also introduced to the work of significant artists, from the past and the present.  Art work feeds into the children’s topic books and the rich displays that celebrate their work and make our school a stimulating and vibrant learning environment.

Sketch books

Sketchbooks provide a record of the children’s learning and progress in art from EYFS to Year 6. They are used to develop the National Curriculum expectations for Art and to make our children more independent and confident artists.  In the National Curriculum (England), sketchbooks are only mentioned in Key Stage 2. The guidance states that children should ‘create sketchbooks to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas.’ This doesn’t mean they are exclusive to Key Stage 2 and we use them in both key stages.


Investigating and making

  • The sketchbook is used as an initial way of recording responses to various stimuli and the most common form of this is through drawing.
  • The children should think of it as the place to practice, develop and focus their work. Sometimes work started in the sketchbook is developed into a finished piece of work elsewhere; in some cases it is not.
  • It is a reference source of what each child has drawn and is a resource for future work. The work dated and given a title with an ‘I can’ statement to provide a suitable record for both the teacher and the children themselves.


There are three main areas when using sketchbooks:

Taking In, Testing Out and Reflecting,

though in reality these activities will interweave each other throughout the sketchbook.

Taking In (Be a Magpie! “I like so I borrow!”)


The sketchbooks are used to collect:

  • Photographs
  • Photocopies of art works – even of other children’s work
  • Pictures from magazines, comics, cards, calendars, stamps etc.
  • Samples of textures, fabrics, and other materials
  • Lists of resources that the children might need to produce a piece of art

Activities: Collecting, Cutting, Drawing, Noting (single words, lists, sentences, quotes), Record, Photograph, Video, Commenting on artists, designers and architects work


Testing Out

Sketchbooks are also used by the children to record their own, or other children’s exploration of media.  Examples include:

  • Colour strips from colour mixing
  • Tone bars from tone work
  • Studies of the effects of media on different types of paper
  • Comments and notes on the use of media e.g. how to mix a certain colour or how to get a certain effect


The children are encouraged to comment on the media and techniques used, even at a basic level ("You smudge it with your fingers.").

Activities: Drawing, Doodling, Mark-making, Painting, Printing, Collaging, Writing.



  • Sketchbooks are used by the children to record their thoughts on the artwork that they have produced.
  • They take part in a critical dialogue identifying positive features in their work and ways in which their work could be developed or improved. In its simplest form this takes the form of a list of comments (alongside a photograph or photocopy of their work) saying what they like about the picture and what they would do differently if they did it again.

Activities: Looking, Talking, Writing, Sharing, Drawing

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