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Buyers Guide: How to Choose a Primary Art & Design Scheme

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

A new subject lead with a budget? Or have you been tasked with turning around art progress in your school? This buyer's guide will introduce you to the many different schemes of work available for teaching primary art & design, and offer some guidance as to how to select the best one for your school.

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As a teacher I've seen art & design (as well as design & technology) being allocated minimal timetable slots, or simply not taught at all. I think many teachers are guilty of using art as a Friday afternoon activity, when it's delivered as an afterthought to a busy week. No judgement here - I've been there myself! I feel it's also a subject - like music and languages - that many primary teachers don't have much prior subject knowledge of. Hence art and design is a subject where using a scheme of work can really help.

Like the rest of our guides to choosing schemes for primary subjects, let's first talk about budget. Are you buying the scheme as an individual teacher from your own pocket, or are you buying on behalf of the school from a central budget? This is probably the first determiner on what suits your needs.

If the former, consider a monthly subscription-based scheme. Some of them may lack the CPD and subject expertise of the larger schemes, but they offer fantastic value for money as the subscription generally means you have access to other subjects too (depending on the tier you subscribe at). Hamilton Trust and Twinkl both offer subscription based memberships that also include access to other core and foundation subjects (although Hamilton Trust's art resources are, as of writing, just for KS2). If you have a subscription to one of these services give their art resources a browse to see if they meet your needs first.

If you’re an individual teacher - or a school looking to add to a CPD library - it’s also worth looking into buying individual books that have art planning. These can work out as quite cost effective, as well as not having to have a password to remember as for the subscription sites! Although be mindful that as they’re books they won’t be updated as much like the resources from subscription services mentioned above. There are plenty on offer for Art & Design. Bloomsbury’s Teaching Primary Art & Design from their popular Curriculum Basics series is a great starting point. Bloomsbury also have a dedicated Art & Design planning book from their 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers series. Also worth checking out are Teaching Primary Art & Design from Sage, and Scholastic's art planning from their '100 Lessons...' series.

Now we move onto schemes which are dedicated to Art & Design, and often more in-line with the central school budgets rather than an individual teacher’s. For such examples, check our Kapow Primary's dedicated art scheme as well as the one from Lion Learning Pathways.

These might be towards the higher end of the budget scale, but generally are more comprehensive and cost effective if you’re purchasing for a whole school. They’ll also often come with specific CPD opportunities (sometimes included in the price, sometimes for an additional cost) as well as onboarding support and initial staff training.

Another option is a dedicated art specific scheme from Access Art, which caters for individual teachers as well as whole school purchasing, with plenty of support and CPD opportunities available.

With all the options above, it’s also worth thinking about the level of art expertise in your school already. Some schools use a scheme more than others because that subject has no staff champions or specialists in their school. Other schools may have a particularly passionate art lead who’s tasked with planning for the whole school. In this instance, supplementary resources - like those included with resource subscription sites - may suffice as opposed to a dedicated scheme.

Whatever your requirements, make sure you browse the many different options available on our Art Planning Page, and please get in touch if you’d like some further guidance on choosing the right scheme for your school.

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