New Art Computers: Investment from The Knowledge Schools Foundation Trust (KSFT)
The Art Department welcomed new computers at West London Free School (WLFS), including 12 at the Sixth Form, last year thanks to investment through the Knowledge Schools Foundation Trust. The new devices have opened up new learning opportunities for students as they are now being taught programmes such as Photoshop and SketchUp. With the new set up there is an allowance for one computer per student in lessons.
Thomas Newman, Chairman of KSFT said, "The trustees at KSFT were pleased to receive and approve a request from Mr Bacchi-Andreoli for the high specification computers for the Art Department which would allow the Sixth Form pupils to use technology in their course work and A-level projects. This is exactly the role that KSFT looks to fill using the generous donations from parents and carers to enrich the education of pupils where the government grants would not cover the funding. We all are grateful to the parent and carer donors."
James Bacchi-Andreoli, Head of Art and History of Art, said, “Whilst the use IT in the Art Department was certainly propelled by the lockdown, it has always been bubbling away and the new computers will really help solidify the use of technology to support the work we do. It also allows students to have a more consistent access to computers during school time.”
Students have already been taking up the new digital resources to build their own artwork and portfolios, creating their own websites and making their own digital books, which can then be published.
The Art Department published a series of short stories entitled, 'Modern Fables' created by Year 12 students, by putting a contemporary twist on Aesop's fables. Also, many Year 13 students have designed and made their own published books.
Traditional mediums are still encouraged and emphasized throughout the curriculum, especially in drawing but the new technology is empowering students with transferrable skills for creative industries, especially fashion and architecture. Many students last year won places at exceptional universities such as University of the Arts London and Loughborough, with digital portfolios.
While technology has slowly been integrated into the art curriculum at WLFS, lockdown and remote learning pushed for the schemes of work to be adapted. Free apps such as Brushes, which artist David Hockney uses for his work, to more complex animations and collage apps, have opened up opportunities within the curriculum. Year 8 for example made digital drawings of houseplants and Year 12 curated and designed their own exhibition and gallery using SketchUp in lockdown, developing their skills and techniques. The change was challenging at first but in the end yielded fantastic results.
The school has also seen an increase of students applying to higher education courses such as Graphic Design and Illustration. Alumna Gwen and Lolita, who completed their A-levels in 2019, are now both furthering their skills learnt at WLFS on their BA courses in Animation and Fashion respectively.
Bacchi-Andreoli added, “As one of the flagship departments in the school with the new Sixth Form Art scholarship as well starting in September 2021, we need the technology to maintain our strong position and make us even more attractive than our competitors especially for the Sixth Form. In general, Students are excited by the prospect of learning programmes such as Photoshop properly and we are very much looking forward to teaching more design on the new computers.”
Year 12 students are currently taking part in an architectural graphic design project for the White City Regeneration
Year 7 digital art houseplants
Year 9 response to Deathburger
To view more artwork visit the Art Department website.
To donate to the Knowledge Schools Foundation Trust click here.