"He who works with his hands is a labourer,

    He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman,

    He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist."

    St Francis of Assisi

    In the Art Department we aim to:

    • enable children to record from first-hand experience and from imagination, and to select their own ideas to use in their work;
    • develop creativity and imagination through a range of complex activities;
    • improve the children’s ability to control materials, tools and techniques;
    • increase their critical awareness of the roles and purposes of art and design in different times and cultures;
    • develop increasing confidence in the use of visual and tactile elements and materials;
    • foster an enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts and a knowledge of artists, craftspeople and designers.

    Teaching time

    In Forms 3, 4 and 5, pupils have a double lesson, totalling 70 minutes, every week.  In Forms 6, 7 and 8, pupils have a triple lesson, totalling 1hr and 45 minutes,  every week for one half of each term, (for the other half of the term, they do Design Technology).  Art activities are available on Mondays and Tuesdays for the junior classes and on Tuesday evenings for senior classes.  There are four Art in Games sessions each week, where pupils can elect to miss a games session and come to the Art Department instead, to work on independent projects.  Boys are allowed to attend one of these sessions a week and they sign up on a termly basis. 


    Pupils are given A4 soft cover sketchbooks in Form Three and A4 hardback sketchbooks in Form Seven. Sketchbooks are kept from one Form to the next and replaced as they are filled.  Pupils are encouraged to use their sketchbooks to sketch as well as to explore ideas and experiment with techniques.  They are also used to collect visual information and inspiration.  Pupils are encouraged to see their sketchbooks as a personal space to explore their creativity; they are not marked by the teacher but they are monitored on an individual level and encouragement and guidance are given.  Although sketchbooks are stored in the Art Department, pupils are encouraged to take them away and work in them regularly.

    Drawing Skills

    Pupils are challenged to draw:

    • From observations, imagination and experience using their sketchbooks where appropriate
    • At different scales and on different surfaces
    • Using a variety of media such as pencils, graphite sticks, pastels, chalk and charcoal

    For different purposes, for example to explore ideas, to explain ideas to themselves and others, to record information about what they have observed. 

    The Art Team

    Mrs Fenwick is Head of Department and teaches all forms ART to all the boys.  She also runs junior and senior activities as well as Art in Games sessions. 

    Mrs Williams is a local artist who, together with Mrs Fenwick, works with the scholars to help them prepare their portfolios.  She also runs an evening activity most Monday nights after supper, for the boarders and any other interested boys. 

    Independent Learning

    Visiting museums and galleries

    At least once in their time at Aldro, pupils participate in whole-form outings to a gallery or museum.  In past years, Form Seven has enjoyed a combined Art/History trip to Alton, visiting the Allen Gallery which has an extensive collection of local ceramics through the ages, or Winchester where we have visited the cathedral and admired the architecture as well as the art adorning it.  This year boys will visit the Rural Life Centre in Tilford, where they will investigate how the rural landscape in Surrey has changed over the years.  They will also have ample opportunity to draw as well as gain first-hand experience of local crafts.  Smaller groups have visited the Watts Gallery in Compton and the Mortuary Chapel.  Pupils in Form Eight have the opportunity to participate in a continental art tour.  Recent destinations have included Prague, Holland and Rome.  These tours give the pupils ample opportunity to sketch and photograph, as well as visit well known galleries and museums.  Although places are limited, this experience is open to all pupils in Form Eight.

    Exhibitions and competitions

    At Aldro there are several opportunities every year for boys to see their work exhibited in and out of school and enter their work into local and international competitions. Some examples are:

    The Aldro and St Hilary’s Art Competition encourages boys to select a piece of work either from their school art folder, or from work done at home.  The competition is independently judged and prizes are awarded in age categories.  The prize giving ceremony is an evening event, allowing artists to invite friends and family to attend and celebrate their achievements. 

    The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Art Competition is an international competition, run by a local wildlife artist.  Successful entrants have their work exhibited at the Natural History Museum and they are invited to attend a prize giving ceremony and meet David Shepherd. 

    The National SATIPS Art Exhibition celebrates the fantastic work that is being created by children in Prep schools all over the country.  Schools are invited to submit a maximum of eight pieces of work to represent their school and depending on the location of the exhibition, pupils are invited to attend the exhibition to see their own work on show and enjoy the work of other children of a similar age. 

    Website Links

    Here you can find out information about the latest exhibitions.  You can also view almost the entire collection online for free, and find out fascinating facts about your favourite artists and paintings, or discover new ones.

    This website will give you access to the Tate Britain’s online collection as well as information about current and upcoming exhibitions.  You will also find links here for the Tate Modern, the Tate Liverpool and the Tate St Ives.  The website also contains online resources for young people where they can play, create and upload their own art.  (Please always adhere to Online Safety Guides.)

    This is the website for the National Portrait Gallery.  Here you can view the entire collection of 185 000 portraits, discovering work by particular artists, or portraits of specific people.   You can search for portraits from a particular period, including The Tudors as well as much more modern works by current artists.  You can also find information about current and upcoming exhibitions here.

    This link will take you to the Kids’ Zone of the National Gallery of Art in Washington.  Perhaps a little far away to visit, but this educational area of the website offers opportunities for online art-making and exploring. NGAkids Art Zone offers an entertaining and informative introduction to art and art history.

    Featuring a variety of art-making tools that encourage exploration and creativity, these activities are suitable for all ages.  You will need to have Adobe Shockwave installed on your PC or Mac in order to access the activities. 

    In This Section