Alt Bridge Photography Curriculum Intent 2020-21

In Photography at Alt Bridge we aim to support young people who want to deepen their engagement with the arts, build creative and leadership skills and achieve a national qualification. We aim to prepare our learners for their future by giving them the opportunities to gain knowledge and develop skills that will equip them for an ever-changing world. Skills like collaboration, communication, confidence, planning, resilience and reflection are routinely experienced, promoted and supported. Focusing on developing skills that are important for the student’s future both at home and for employment.

At Alt Bridge School, Photography is taught as an option in years 10 and 11 for two lessons a week. The Photography curriculum is delivered through our own scheme of work; built upon the Trinity College Arts Award Regulated Qualifications Framework. We now have a personalised curriculum to meet the varied needs of our students.

The Photography lessons are designed to place young people at the heart of the Arts Award process. Every lesson in our scheme has been individually planned so that it can be effectively taught using the infrastructure we have in place at school and so that it can meet the needs of all our pupils. Our scheme has been closely referenced against whole school attainment targets in order to ensure progression and coverage.

We provide key concepts and vocabulary with specific examples related to the topic through knowledge organisers. Students use these to check understanding and inform their research and application of skills towards their research, photography and experimentations. As each step in the learning journey develops, we aim to incorporate a deeper understanding of prior learning.

Having Photography experiences and activities off-site as well as on-site means that the students are able to develop depth in their knowledge and skills over the duration of each of their Arts Award assignments. With the aim to increase young people’s experience and understanding of arts practitioners and cultural organisations, these first hand experiences of photography and the arts explore spiritual, moral and cultural contexts. Where possible, every effort is made to link these opportunities to current local exhibitions or national focus. Students are provided with visits to local galleries like Kirkby and Tate Liverpool and will take part in focused photographer led workshops and research. Some photography students use such visits to form links to professionals and provide them with insight and experience for planning, implementing and reflecting on their own exhibitions in school.

We want pupils to develop their autonomy, independence, employability skills, as well as confidence and enjoyment from their activities. We want the course to be accessible and inclusive to every pupil with an interest in photography. Not only do we want their creativity to develop but to strengthen resilience and problem-solving and critical thinking skills. We want our pupils to have a breadth of experience to develop their understanding of themselves as individuals within their community, but also as members of a wider global community.

Students are provided with opportunities to explore careers and pathways in the arts and develop their leadership skills through planning, delivering and reflecting on their own arts projects, thus providing ample opportunity for targeted individual reflection of progress towards knowledge and skills.

Employability skills are communicated, promoted and tracked to enable staff to cumulatively embed knowledge and skills into the planning and delivery of sessions.

In Photography lessons, the pupils will use either computers or iPads in order to access a range of apps and software. As well as this, pupils will have access to cameras and other mixed media materials, with the aim of embracing new art forms and technologies. Lessons will focus on the assessment criteria of The Arts Award qualifications, with the flexibility to work towards an Explore, Bronze or Silver Arts Award. All students are challenged to think, act and speak critically as photographers would. Student progress is documented through both sketchbooks and online learning journals. Pupils’ progress is assessed both formatively and summatively. Pupils are given feedback and ways to improve their work either written, verbal or via the Seesaw app.

Within each lesson and experience, the subject aims to provide an adequate balance of knowledge and skills for the pupils to draw from. The arts, as a creative industry, is open to entry by students, ranging from potential career pathways and further study, to events like internal and external gallery submissions. In Photography we recognise that knowledge underpins skills and that there is a critical symbiotic relationship between both. We define the knowledge needed by students.

In Photography we encourage conversation, discussion, critique and debate about the work of photographers and movements. Through such methods we are able to work towards embedding and extending our students’ knowledge of concepts and principles, with appropriate language for discussing photographic works. Students are expected to think, respond and create, learning across the curriculum to achieve well.

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