Art & Design

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Course Introduction

Welcome to the Art & Design Department of Islay High School. Within our Department there are various challenging subjects offered to students. All working to build the students enthusiasm, motivation to learning, desire to reach high standards, self-reliance and an openness to new thinking and ideas. 



The department is part of the Faculty of Art, Design, Technology & ICT and has four members of staff; Russell Pollock (Faculty Head) rt Teacher), Mary Ann Featherstone (visiting artist) Iain MacArthur (Technical Technician), Greig Barker (ICT Technician) and Harry O'Farrell (ICT Technician). These staff members are passionate about the subjects areas and are excited every year by the opportunity to inspire new pupils and help current ones develop even further. Our main aims are for each pupil to develop their full potential in the subject and gain a real sense of achievement and fun.


Broad General Education

Students start in the department in S1, with two periods a week. Students get to experience a variety of topics such as Portraiture, Landscape, Still Life and Mask Design. We have a variety of local and national artists visiting the department regularly. In S2 pupils can choose choose between Art, Business and Music. If they select Art they can continue their learning of topics with the addition of Textile Design, Print Making and Clay Sculpture 



We currently offer the SQA’s Art & Design course from National 3 – Advanced Higher level. The purpose of the Course is to provide a broad practical experience of art and design and related critical activity. The Course provides opportunities for learners to be inspired by experimenting with how they can visually represent their personal thoughts and ideas and create imaginative expressive and design work. In the Course, learners will experiment with using art and design materials, techniques and/or technology in creative and expressive ways. They will develop their critical thinking skills as they develop and produce their own creative work and develop their understanding of art and design practice. 

The aims of the Course are to enable learners to:

♦ communicate personal thoughts, feelings and ideas through the imaginative use of art and design materials, techniques and/or technology

♦ develop knowledge and understanding of art and design practice

♦ plan, develop, produce and present creative art and design work

♦ develop understanding of the social and cultural influences on artists and designers and their work

♦ develop problem solving, critical thinking and reflective practice skills 



Our teachers offer assistance to all students at any point during the school day. We also offer Drop-In Session during lunchtime and after school on a Monday and Tuesday for any student who wishes extra time to work on their projects.



It is the policy of the Technical Department to encourage a love of learning from each pupil. Driving pupils to work to the best of their ability and take responsibility for their own learning and progress. As a result we expect pupils to work at home where appropriate and ensure the tasks that they are undertaking are worthwhile and not set simply to issue homework.

A work/life balance is important to all, this importance should not be underestimated for teenagers. As a result homework tasks are always considered and negotiated with pupils and become more formalized as pupils move up through the school.

General Guidelines

Homework is closely related to classwork currently underway e.g. finishing a folio page begun in class, re-drafting, and reading in preparation for a forthcoming project

Additional Help

Opportunity is given to pupils to access additional help through daily drop in centres at lunchtime and also after school classes where homework can be completed or additional conversations/study can be undertaken


Generally the amount of homework generated is related to not only the complexity of the course they are following but also the pupils’ interest in the topic.

We encourage parents to discuss product and technological issues at home, as studies have shown that a continuing conversation is the most effective way for a pupil to learn.

E.g. my kettle is rubbish because… Why are chairs the size they are? What’s the point of the Internet? How do they make that?

While acknowledging the difficulty in recommending a set amount of homework for each year group, the following should be taken as a general guide:-

S1 : occasional task

S2 : occasional task

N4 : one hour of study per week and finishing classwork

N5 two hours of study per week and finishing classwork

Higher : three hours of preoperational study per week


Useful Links 


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