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Secondary Schools

We welcome Secondary School groups to the Gallery to creatively and critically engage with our Collection and temporary exhibitions through artist-led practical workshops, discursive enquiry sessions, and tours, each linking to subjects on the national curriculum.

Click on the links below to jump to the relevant section.

Collection Connections (KS3-KS5)
   Studio Workshops
   Masterclass Series
   Gallery Enquiry
   Guided Gallery Tours
Exhibition Explorers (KS3-KS5)
   Ribera Themed Studio Workshop (only KS5)
   Ribera Exhibition Enquiry Session (only KS5)
Access and How to book

Collection Connections

The Gallery owns one of the finest collections of Old Master paintings in the world. School visits to our Collection give pupils the chance to see works ranging from Tudor times to the 19th century, by artists including Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Poussin.

Through our Collection students can explore the themes of Love, Identity, Nature and Conflict, and each of the following workshops will be based around your choice of one of these four themes.

Studio Workshops: KS3 - KS5

10-11.45am or 12.45-2.30pm

These artist-led workshops open with looking at a small, themed selection of paintings in the Gallery to initiate enquiry-based dialogue and conversation. Using the paintings, the artist will set the theme for the workshop in context, encouraging mindful looking and questioning from the group. Back in the studio students will be supported to experiment with a variety of materials, processes and skills while continuing to consider the workshop theme.
Choose theme: Love / Identity / Nature / Conflict
Curriculum links: Art and Design / Literacy / English
Available: Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10 September 2018 (available to book now)
£3.50 per student

Masterclass Series: KS3 - KS5


Artist-led workshop. Students work from a nude or clothed model inspired by the poses, gestures and movements of our Collection. This workshop supports students eager to expand their portfolio, and can take your choice of theme as its focus: Love / Identity / Nature / Conflict.
Curriculum links: Art and Design
Available: Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10 September 2018 (available to book now)

Ways of looking, materials and processes

An intensive artist-led workshop that will introduce students to new methods and materials, working with the themes process, gesture, colour, and under the surface. The workshop will boost students’ technical skills and confidence to experiment as students will develop more sophisticated ways of using materials familiar to them: graphite, charcoal, watercolour and acrylics. Students will have the opportunity to explore collage, experiment with painting on clear film and use colour theory to develop harmonious colour schemes.
Curriculum links: Art and Design
Available: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 10 September 2018 (available to book now)

Masters of Fashion

Students work with a fashion/textile designer to look at our collection through the lens of identity, gender, social status and branding. Students will discuss selected paintings with a focus on the materials and fabrics to unravel the meaning of the surface aesthetics. Students will discuss how fashion is used to communicate a message and identify with a certain culture and class, making contemporary links to the fashion industry and production. Taking the theme of Nature in our Collection and making links to how clothes were upcycled, students will discuss ‘green’ fashion, sustainability, ethics and the global impact of the industry. Taking inspiration from the details and patterns of our paintings, students will sketch their own ‘object of identity’ from which they will develop their own brand, story and design piece.
Curriculum links: Art and Design / History / PSHE
Available: Wednesdays and Thursdays, October-November 2018 (available to book now)

Masterclass workshops 10am-12pm or 1-3pm for a half-day, 10am-3pm for a full day (including a break for lunch). Advice on timing is offered upon booking. Please note, Masters of Fashion is only available for a morning or full-day session; Ways of Looking is only available as a full-day session.
Masterclass half-day £150 per class
Masterclass full-day £250 per class

Gallery Enquiry: KS3 - KS5

10.30am-12pm or 1-2.30pm

Gallery-based discussion sessions inspired by our Collection. Supported by expert artist educators, the session will develop students’ looking and thinking skills using open-ended questioning and dialogue. Students will come away with new vocabulary and increased confidence in articulating their ideas and opinions.
Choose theme: Love / Identity / Nature / Conflict
Curriculum links: Art and Design / Literacy / English
Available: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10 September 2018 (available to book now)
£3 per student

Guided Gallery Tours: KS3 - KS5

10.30am-12pm or 1-2.30pm

Themed tours of our Collection with a member of our Schools Programme.
Choose focus: Portraits / Landscapes / Still-life / Narrative / A general highlights tour covering a selection of our paintings
Curriculum links: Art and Design / Literacy / English
Available: Tuesdays-Fridays, from 10 September 2018 (available to book now)
Free, donations welcome

Exhibition Explorers

Ribera Sessions

Ribera: Art of Violence will be the first UK show of work by the Spanish Baroque artist and printmaker, Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652), bringing together his most sensational, shocking and masterfully composed work. The schools sessions themed around this challenging exhibition will examine the body, pain, ecstasy and spirituality through Ribera’s challenging depiction of bodily violence and suffering, with particular attention to the complexity of his aesthetic and historical context.

Studio Workshop: KS5

10-11.45am or 12.45-2.30pm

Drawing from life models, students will work with a series of moving, twisted and curving poses with a focus on the materiality of flesh, light and shadow.
Curriculum links: Art and Design
Available: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 26 September 2018 - 27 January 2019
£3.50 per student

Exhibition Enquiry Session: KS5

10.30am-12pm or 1-2.30pm

Artist-led enquiry session. Immersed in the exhibition, students will be supported to confront, discuss and understand the historical and aesthetic complexity of Ribera’s challenging and at times shocking works through sensitively-led dialogue.
Curriculum links: Art and Design / English / History
Available: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 26 September 2018 - 27 January 2019
£3 per student

Images: Edward Bawden, [Aesop’s Fables] Gnat and Lion (detail), 1970, Colour linocut on paper, Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery (The Higgins Bedford), © Estate of Edward Bawden; Jusepe de Ribera, Saint Sebastian Tended by the Holy Women, c.1620-23, Oil on canvas, 180 x 231 cm, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. ©Bilboko Arte Ederren. Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao


All of the above sessions can be adapted for SEND groups, please contact us for more information about how we can meet your group’s needs.

How to book

Our days and timings can be flexible to suit you, please enquire upon booking. 

Please complete the enquiry form below and we will follow up with booking information. If you have any questions you can get in touch with us at or 0208 299 8730.

If your school is not able to meet the cost of a visit we can offer a bursary to assist with all or some of the costs. Please contact us on the email or telephone number above to find out more.

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