art & design
Art & Design

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Art & Design National 4 and 5 Course Information National 4 and 5 Course Information


Art and Design courses are about developing skills in the use of media and technology. These skills will be used creatively to communicate ideas and solve problems. Practical work is linked to contextual studies so that pupils understand and appreciate current working practices and the relationship of Art & Design with social and cultural issues past and present.


Drawing is the fundamental element in this subject. Emphasis is placed on nurturing and developing good OBSERVATIONAL skills which in turn rely on good CONCENTRATION skills. Pupils are taught to study and record a varied range of objects, both natural and man-made. From that basis, the S1 Course proceeds to build its structure taking as its focus the VISUAL ELEMENTS for example: Composition; Colour; Tone; Texture; Form; Line; Light and Shade; Proportion and Perspective. Lessons are devised to address one or more of these VISUAL ELEMENTS and may take the form of an EXPRESSIVE , DESIGN or CRITICAL outcome.

An important aim of the course is to develop a range of PRACTICAL and CRITICAL SKILLS through the handling of a variety of media and tools. Homework is used to augment and support the work done in class.


The S2 course builds on the progress achieved in S1 and recognises the range of skills already developed. The Course structure follows a series of conventional headings: Portraiture; Still Life; Natural Environment and Design. Within each heading there is the requirement for a major project but there is also flexibility in interpreting the topic in ancillary lessons which explore alternative approaches.

The Course culminates in June with a Public Exhibition of the year's work with all pupils represented. Pupils have a good deal of responsibility in the organisation of the event and parents are the special guests on opening night.


S3 students begin with a module based around analytical drawing from direct observation of natural and man-made forms; they then go on to explore and experiment with various printmaking processes, focussing on the areas of portrait and landscape. They will also undertake a design module, and a critical studies project.


There are 2 units:
  1. Expressive unit including contextual studies.
  2. Design unit including contextual studies.


There are 3 units:
  1. Expressive unit including contextual studies.
  2. Design unit including contextual studies.
  3. Added Value unit.
All units are marked internally


There are 2 units:
  1. Expressive Unit and Portfolio with contextual studies.
  2. Design Unit and Portfolio with contextual studies.
There is an additional written Art and Design studies exam.

The course assessment has 3 components:
Component 1: question paper, 50 marks, 1 hour 30 mins.
Component 2: expressive portfolio 100 marks.
Component 3: design portfolio.


  • Linear progression – N5 leads to Higher Art and Design. Higher Art and Design leads to the Advanced Higher course. This course leads on to Further or Higher Education or employment/apprenticeship in related business or industry.
  • kills progression –Skills learned on these courses include… researching, experimentation, media handling, visualising, problem solving, evaluating, communicating both verbally and visually, self-expression and confidence. Other courses that link to these could include Technology (particularly design) History (contextual studies)


The course focuses on creativity, problem solving and self-critical analysis. Contextual studies are an important element of the course.
Focus will be on experimentation with ideas and materials for refinement into 2D or 3D Projects.

There and 2 areas of study Expressive and Design.
Unit 1 - Contextual studies
Unit 2 - Practical unit
Portfolio Design
Unit 1 – Contextual studies
Unit 2 – Practical unit


There is a written exam on the Art and Design Studies aspect of the course.


The portfolio and the written exam are marked by SQA.


Pupils select either Expressive OR Design

Expressive studies with Expressive Enquiry: - this involves exploring and responding in an individual way to stimuli, researching challenging expressive art contexts and evaluating how artists respond creatively to stimuli.


Design Studies with Design Enquiry: - This involves exploring and researching challenging design contexts, issues and opportunities, and evaluating and incorporating visual stimuli and other information from a variety of sources.


All work is externally assessed. Evidence will include sketch books and a folio of up to 15 A1 sheets of work with the mandatory expressive studies and enquiry units OR design studies and enquiry units. Outcomes can be 2 D or 3D.

Website Links

Create your own online Portfolio curl

Art UK Art UK

National Galleries National Galleries of Scotland

Art Cyclopedia Art Cyclopedia

Wiki Art

SQA Art & Design SQA Art & Design