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Primary Academy

Progression of Skills

Using the Essentials Curriculum, there are three milestones to show progression from KS1, to LKS2 and then to UKS2. These are organised into three main concepts: Develop ideas, master techniques and take inspiration from the greats.  

Threshold Concept


Milestone 1

Milestone 2

Milestone 3

Develop ideas

This concept involves understanding how ideas develop through an artistic process.


• Respond to ideas and starting points.

• Explore ideas and collect visual information.

• Explore different methods and materials as

ideas develop.

• Develop ideas from starting points

throughout the curriculum.

• Collect information, sketches and resources.

• Adapt and refine ideas as they progress.

• Explore ideas in a variety of ways.

• Comment on artworks using visual language.

• Develop and imaginatively extend ideas from

starting points throughout the curriculum.

• Collect information, sketches and resources

and present ideas imaginatively in a sketch


• Use the qualities of materials to enhance


• Spot the potential in unexpected results as

work progresses.

• Comment on artworks with a fluent grasp of

visual language.

Master techniques

This concept involves developing a skill set so that ideas may be communicated.


• Use thick and thin brushes.

• Mix primary colours to make secondary.

• Add white to colours to make tints and black

to colours to make tones.

• Create colour wheels.

• Use a number of brush techniques using thick

and thin brushes to produce shapes, textures,

patterns and lines.

• Mix colours effectively.

• Use watercolour paint to produce washes for

backgrounds then add detail.

• Experiment with creating mood with colour.

• Sketch (lightly) before painting to combine

line and colour.

• Create a colour palette based upon colours

observed in the natural or built world.

• Use the qualities of watercolour and acrylic

paints to create visually interesting pieces.

• Combine colours, tones and tints to enhance

the mood of a piece.

• Use brush techniques and the qualities of

paint to create texture.

• Develop a personal style of painting, drawing

upon ideas from other artists.



• Use a combination of materials that are cut,

torn and glued.

• Sort and arrange materials.

• Mix materials to create texture.

• Select and arrange materials for a striking


• Ensure work is precise.

• Use coiling, overlapping, tessellation, mosaic

and montage.

• Mix textures (rough and smooth, plain and


• Combine visual and tactile qualities.

• Use ceramic mosaic materials and techniques.



• Use a combination of shapes.

• Include lines and texture.

• Use rolled up paper, straws, paper, card and

clay as materials.

• Use techniques such as rolling, cutting,

moulding and carving.

• Create and combine shapes to create

recognisable forms (e.g. shapes made from

nets or solid materials).

• Include texture that conveys feelings,

expression or movement.

• Use clay and other mouldable materials.

• Add materials to provide interesting detail.

• Show life-like qualities and real-life

proportions or, if more abstract, provoke

different interpretations.

• Use tools to carve and add shapes, texture

and pattern.

• Combine visual and tactile qualities.

• Use frameworks (such as wire or moulds) to

provide stability and form.



• Draw lines of different sizes and thickness.

• Colour (own work) neatly following the lines.

• Show pattern and texture by adding dots and lines.

• Show different tones by using coloured pencils.

• Use different hardnesses of pencils to show line, tone and texture.

• Annotate sketches to explain and elaborate ideas.

• Sketch lightly (no need to use a rubber to correct mistakes).

• Use shading to show light and shadow.

• Use hatching and cross hatching to show tone and texture.

• Use a variety of techniques to add interesting effects (e.g. reflections, shadows, direction of sunlight).

• Use a choice of techniques to depict movement, perspective, shadows and reflection.

• Choose a style of drawing suitable for the work (e.g. realistic or impressionistic).

• Use lines to represent movement.



• Use repeating or overlapping shapes.

• Mimic print from the environment (e.g. wallpapers).

• Use objects to create prints (e.g. fruit, vegetables or sponges).

• Press, roll, rub and stamp to make prints.

• Use layers of two or more colours.

• Replicate patterns observed in natural or built environments. 

• Make printing blocks (e.g. from coiled string glued to a block).

• Make precise repeating patterns.

• Build up layers of colours.

• Create an accurate pattern, showing fine detail.

• Use a range of visual elements to reflect the purpose of the work.



• Use weaving to create a pattern.

• Join materials using glue and/or a stitch.

• Use plaiting.

• Use dip dye techniques.

• Shape and stitch materials.

• Use basic cross stitch and back stitch.

• Colour fabric.

• Create weavings.

• Quilt, pad and gather fabric.

• Show precision in techniques.

• Choose from a range of stitching techniques.

• Combine previously learned techniques to create pieces.


Digital media

• Use a wide range of tools to create different textures, lines, tones, colours and shapes.

• Create images, video and sound recordings and explain why they were created.

• Enhance digital media by editing (including sound, video, animation, still images and installations).

Take inspiration from the greats

This concept involves learning from both the artistic process and techniques of great artists and artisans throughout history.


• Describe the work of notable artists,

artisans and designers.

• Use some of the ideas of artists studied to

create pieces.

• Replicate some of the techniques used by

notable artists, artisans and designers.

• Create original pieces that are influenced by

studies of others.

• Give details (including own sketches) about

the style of some notable artists, artisans

and designers.

• Show how the work of those studied was

influential in both society and to other


• Create original pieces that show a range of

influences and styles.