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Westminster Special School

College Park School Federation of Westminster Special Schools
& Bi-borough Inclusion Service


The inclusive approach

We have an inclusive approach to art at College Park School. We have developed a student centred approach where their needs inform the teaching; this is facilitated by AfL (Assessment for Learning).

Curriculum design

Art at College Park is delivered across the school from early years to post 16 and a range of pedagogies; teaching styles are used to support the young person’s development.  These are informed by the young persons need and age.


Engagement is a central tenet of inclusion and we look to facilitate engagement through AfL .

Primary curriculum

We use engagement to inform how we teach the young people and we have decided to place learning within a play based paradigm within the primary school. We made this decision as the majority of the students are operating at this level schematically and they correspond with where they are developmentally

Therefore we felt that to develop meaningful and appropriate experience that this would be the most useful starting point.


We focus on the process rather than the product. Often  artwork will be produced as a by- product of the process.

Engagement, Experience, Exploration and developing skills  

We value the student’s experience, for some of our population this will be a more passive experience where we ensure that these students explore stimulus which they enjoy and respond to. These experiences are of a sensory nature and use various sensory pathways to support the student’s perception such as sight, sound, touch and smell. As a student develops we offer a range of opportunities where they engage with materials that support precursor learning skills and their understanding of the world around them.  These activities are usually termed as messy play.

Messy Play

This involves exploring materials in an active manner; this might be rice, pasta, corn flour and so on. These materials are then explored. The materials might be poured, placed into a container; water might be added to change their texture or smells added. These activities take many forms such as a student exploring independently or with another child (parallel play) or with an adult where they will be requesting materials or actions. This playful exploration is key in development as the child learns through discovery which supports their conceptual understanding of the world around them.  

Use of tools such in art; developing skills  

During this period we look at extending the student’s engagement and using this as way of assisting the student’s development. As the young person moves through the stages of development we support their urge to create by offering them a range of tools such as pencils, paints, brushes and we support them in making choices.

Secondary curriculum

Although there is some overlap between the play based curriculum and a skill based curriculum as students move up through the school, the learning here is framed by and  informed by artists.

 Artists create a context in which the students make art as a response. We use the artists to support understanding of different cultures. Examples of artists we have used are: Yinka Shonibare, Yayoi Kusama to Miro. 


As the students develop through their understanding of different art practices and artist some students will progress on to accredited courses such as GCSE and Entry level art.  Through these courses we support the student’s enquiry, development and realisation of an idea.

Autonomy and a sense of self

We acknowledge the uniqueness of each student and how art and creative play allows the student to express and explore the world around them, through these actions the students start to develop a sense of self. We support choice making and encourage independence and autonomy through collecting their own resources and making choices.  As a young person develops this is explored further with them making choices to develop a piece of art as a personal response through enquiry that is self directed.

Partners and the breadth of experience

We work with a number of cultural institutions such as the Royal Academy of Art, The Wallace Collection, Rolls Royce, Cirque du Soleil and the Royal Albert Hall. We also work with a SEN potter and we are currently developing a multi- disciplinary and multi-sensory workshop with Creative Futures

A culture of celebrating the Arts 

The arts are displayed throughout the school, on display boards. Art is also central to the summer arts festival. 

 Paul Morrow (Lead Practitioner of the Creative Arts )

 Nile Peppas (Teaching Assistant of Art)

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