Art and Design

Paper tearing, tower building, mark making, jelly sculpting, water colouring canvas, stretching storytelling, paint smearing, trees blowing, sound recording, word creating, fabric stitching, colour copying, print repeating, ink dripping, space invading, slowly looking, bodies moving, laugh alouding, video filming, photo printing, wire bending, people expressing, things hanging, wobbly drawing, alternative thinking, memory jogging…

In art, we keep an open mind as to what we may discover, and we pride ourselves on being a breeding ground of creativity. It is our aim to provide students with the best experience possible in the subject. We work with a wide range of materials which include drawing and painting, printmaking, textiles, sculpture, and photography. Originality and independence of thought is paramount - students learn to think and act as artists and designers whilst also learning to appreciate other art works, and to understand the context in which they are made.

Our four teaching staff are highly qualified, enthusiastic, and passionate about Art in all its guises. Our students have access to four spacious and bright studios, two of which are equipped with printing presses. We also have a reading and research room which houses an impressive selection of books, a massive collection of inspirational documentaries, as well as computers (which have paint on them). We subscribe to a number of monthly Art periodicals such as Modern Painters, Frieze, Crafts and Canvas.

There is no substitute for studying art at first hand. With the emerging and thriving contemporary art scene in Dubai we enjoy regular trips to Bastakyia, and Al Serkal Avenue art district. We encourage our students to stay up-to-date with the art world. We have enjoyed visits to Venice (The Venice Biennale), Rome, Barcelona and China. Each year we also hold our own art exhibition displaying works by GCSE and A level students.

Lower School

During Key Stage 3 students develop their creativity and imagination through sustained creative activities. These help them to build on and improve their practical and critical skills and extend their knowledge and experience of materials, processes and practices. Students engage with art, craft and design in the contemporary world and from different times and cultures. They become more independent in using the visual language to communicate their own ideas, feelings and meanings.

Our themes:

  • Year 7: Still Life, Food and Pop!
  • Year 8: Portraiture and Cubism
  • Year 9: Me and My Art

Each class group in Year 7 and 8 works in two blocks of 5-6 weeks, which move in a cycle with the Design Technology and Computer Science Departments. During each block, students receive three art lessons a week. Each class group in Year 9 works in two blocks in a 10 week cycle with Design Technology. Students receive two art lessons a week.

Whilst a large proportion of art work is done outside of a journal, students are also required to document their thoughts, processes, research and homework in a journal.

Middle School

GCSE Art and Design is a progression from the Year 9 art course, and students who have enjoyed art and are prepared to work hard to develop their skills and understanding in this subject will find the GCSE fulfilling, rewarding and fun. It is important that students are enthusiastic, keen artists and that they are prepared to work hard independently as well as in class.

The department follows the Edexcel Art and Design syllabus as it provides excellent opportunities for learners to develop skills, knowledge and understanding whilst using a wide range of materials and processes. The content of Edexcel’s GCSE Art and Design specification is appropriate and accessible to a range of levels of experience and ability. The specification focuses on art and design practice and the integration of theory, knowledge and understanding to reach a personal response. Assessment is via a mixture of coursework (60%) and an externally set assignment (40%).

During the Year 10 Art and Design course students develop one unit of coursework, based on a theme such as “Bashed, Smashed, Broken and Trashed” or “Bones, Stones and Chromosomes”. This is designed to introduce or strengthen the range of students’ practical and analytical skills across a wide range of media. These will include drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles and sculpture. Students are able to integrate the use of the computer to create or modify images and as a research tool. The study of the work of other artists as it relates to their own work is built into projects and so students will need to be prepared to read about art in general and to document their findings. Compilation of sketchbooks or “Journals” is an essential part of the course.

A second Unit of coursework with a different theme will be produced throughout Year 11. An “Externally Set Assignment” - the exam, is set in January, and this is similar to a coursework unit in content. Preparatory studies are done over an eight-week period, and a final piece is produced under exam conditions within a ten-hour time limit. All work is then exhibited by students for internal marking and external moderation by a visiting examiner from the UK.

The course offers an excellent foundation for further studies in this subject and for related career options.

Career Prospects

There are many careers related to art, craft and design.  Those that are directly art related will require further study at university.  The GCSE course offers an excellent foundation for further studies in this subject and for related career options. For many UK students, we recommend that they embark upon a Foundation course, which provides opportunities to discover the most suitable degree course.  Students that apply to the US or UK are required to submit a portfolio. This is based on A Level coursework and we provide lots of help with applications and assistance in preparing portfolios. Many of our students also opt to study Art at A Level but choose not to specialise directly in Art. We have, for example, had art students who have gone onto to study Economics, Mathematics, English Literature, Anthrophony, Psychology, Philosophy, Computer Science, Physics, Medicine and Biological Sciences at university. Studying and making art gives students the opportunity to learn how to think critically. Since most questions regarding a piece of art do not have a specific answer, students are encouraged to come up with their own solutions. These problem solving and research skills which students acquire over the GCSE and A Level courses will prove useful no matter what specialism the student may eventually choose to follow. 

Sixth Form

The A level Art and Design course encourages an adventurous, open-minded and enquiring approach to the subject. Successful students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of art from a range of time periods and cultures. They should be able to produce practical work that embraces a variety of ideas and experiments, documenting this process in sketchbook journals.

Students work on one coursework unit per year, followed by a timed examination or “Externally Set Assignment”, which is similar in format to a coursework unit. We aim to develop practical skills in drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture, constantly referring to as many sources and other artists as possible. ICT and photography are integrated as research and presentation media. An appropriate working vocabulary is extended throughout the course.

A level Art and Design presents an opportunity for students to produce highly personal creative work and to pursue individual interests. It is vital that students are able to work independently and that they are well-motivated and enthusiastic about art in all its guises.

Year 12 - Component 1: 60% of marks:

Students develop their understanding of the expressive nature of art and design, using a wide variety of drawing materials, paint and collage to explore formal elements such as colour, tone, texture and line. This is a real opportunity to explore new and traditional materials and techniques at a higher level. This is then developed into a personal project which is concerned with the relationship of ideas and art and design practice.

Year 13 – Component 1: Practical Project and Personal Written Study: 60% of marks (including Year 12 work). Component 2: The Externally Set Assignment: 40% of marks

Component 1 incorporates two linked elements: practical work and a personal written study. It is essential for both elements that students build on their prior knowledge and experience developed during the course. Practical work aims to provide opportunities for students to pursue their own creative, visual ideas in a chosen area of art, craft and design. Students should develop their practical, creative ideas in the light of their chosen focus.

Externally Set Assignment: Component 2

This represents the culmination of the course, an eight-week preparatory period and a fifteen hour timed test.

The Work Journal

In order to comply with established good practice and to ensure continuity and progression, it is a requirement that students keep a work journal at GCSE and A level for each coursework unit. The work journal is a combination of sketchbook and time-based record. The work journal should not merely be seen as a sketchbook. The form of the work journal will reflect the student’s approach but most particularly the contents will provide evidence of the student’s ability to address the assessment objectives. The work journal will contain evidence for assessment objective 1 (developing ideas), assessment objective 2 (experimenting) and assessment objective 3 (recording). It could also contain evidence of assessment objective 4 (presenting a final piece and making connections between visual elements), this is most likely where the student makes informed connections with the work of others. The journal must contain evidence of the development of ideas, including reference to the work of others, showing understanding of meanings, contexts and the ability to make skilled judgements, using an appropriate visual/verbal form. The work journal is a vital tool in supporting and stimulating the artistic process and has a major role in the production of preparatory work through offering a context for exploration and discovery. Its use encourages creative thinking and can improve students learning skills.

What makes a good teacher at Dubai College?

There are so many different types of good teachers. In Art, it is really important that we get to know our students well as often, the best art is deeply personal, and is about self-expression. Good teachers help build confidence.

What are you trying to encourage and instil in your students?

A strong work ethic and a life-long love and appreciation for art.

In your opinion, what makes Dubai College special?

Most definitely the art department; this is one of my favourite places in the world. But in seriousness, it is the students. Their engagement, intelligence, love and passion for learning, zest for life, constant smiles, politeness and support, amazes and inspires me, at the very least, ten times a day.

Who or what inspires you?

Louise Bourgeois, David Hockney, Henri Matisse, Emin on occasions, Grayson Perry, Robert Rauschenberg, Joan Miro, Mona Hatoum, Bernini, Joe Tilson, Frank Stella, envelopes, Francis Bacon, Peggy Guggenheim, Bob and Roberta Smith, Cornelia Parker, Gabriele Beveridge, Andy Goldsworthy, the shape(s) of numbers, Pablo Picasso, Cy Twombly, arriving in Venice that time, Antony Gormley, Sheila Hicks, Richard Rogers, definitely trees, Hokusai, music, Claus Oldenburg, Paul Smith, Vincent Van Gogh, Sean Scully, Lucian Freud, Charles and Ray Eames, Art Dubai, Alexander Calder, The Tate Modern…and most other buildings that house art, Yayoi Kusama, Mark Rothko, construction sites, white paint, the smell of roses and peppermint, and most recently Phyllida Barlow.

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.

I once beat Mr Case in a race swimming around the Burj Al Arab!

Also, I do not subscribe to Facebook or certain other technologies. Whilst I am passionate about ideas, and the sharing of ideas, I would much prefer my students to experience ‘art’ (as an eleven to eighteen year old) through a paint brush or pencil.

Mrs J Bailey, Head of Art


2017 Rebecca Hamer
2017 Vicky Stogiannidou
2017 Victoria Ewert
1992 Debbie Martin
1994 Joanna Keighwin (2)
1995 David Kerr
1995 Maha Abdul Majeed (2)
1995 Nadia Muna
1997 Gurpreet Sembi (2)
1997 Taskeen Ahmed
1998 Joanna Orr (2)
1998 Karen Pitcher
1999 Caroline Burgess (2)
2000 Elizabeth Allen (2)
2001 Karling MacKaskill
2002 Dalia Hamati (2)
2006 Ellie Smith 2006 (2)
2008 Anushka Chugani(2)
2009 Rosie Ryan (2)
2009 Rosie Ryan 2 (2)
2009 Saanya Papar (2)
2010 Ciara Hartley
2010 Helen Panayi (2)
2010 Katy Hassal (2)
2011 Raeleen Murugan (2)
2011 Sara Shukar
2012 Frith Connold (2)
2012 Genna Daya (2)
2012 Lydia Morgan (2)
2012 Natacha Karam (2)
2013 I Love Art (2)
2013 Jo Hartley
2013 Kathryn King
2013 Veljko Mladenovic (2)
2014 Chelsea Feather(2)
2014 Clara Thownsend (2)
2014 Helena Wick (2)
2014 Mark Gavigan
2015 Charlotte Style 2015
2015 Helena Wick (2)
2015 Leah Mitchell (2)
2015 Nermeen Islam (2)
2015 Sophie Rhys Maitland
2015 Tabetha Davis
2016 Alexandra Franks
2016 Amy Henderson
2016 Ashna Gupta
2016 Emma Murray
2016 Tilsim Palfreyman
2017 Janne Meijer

Meet the staff

Jane Bailey

Jane Bailey

Titles: Head of Art
Dawn Blessing

Dawn Blessing

Titles: Teacher of Art
Gareth Case

Gareth Case

Titles: Teacher of Design & Technology, Graphics Coordinator
Martina Doherty

Martina Doherty

Titles: Teacher of Art
Jonathan Tate

Jonathan Tate

Titles: Deputy Head of Sixth Form (Y13), Teacher of Art

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