Media Studies


Why love Media?

In the Sci-Fi film called The Matrix, the main character Neo goes about his everyday life until one day he meets Morpheus who offers him a choice of two pills: the red pill and the blue pill. Morpheus tells Neo that the red pill will free him from the dream world he is currently living in and allow him to escape to the ‘real world’. Taking the blue pill will allow Neo to remain blissfully ignorant of the constructed reality he lives in. If you study Media, you are choosing the red pill. You are choosing to become consciously aware of the Media’s roles in constructing ‘reality’ for you, in presenting a version of the truth that will not be telling us the whole story.  If you study Media you will escape to the ‘real’ world, and become a media-savvy individual who questions rather than accepts the messages that the media bombards us with.

Big Ideas in Media

At Key Stage 4 Media Studies is based around four very big ideas which are common to all media products: Media Industries (the businesses and companies who are involved in the production of media products); Media Audiences (the specific groups of people that a media product is aimed at); Representation (the messages that a media product communicates about people, places or events) and Media Language (how features such as colour, sound, costume and props communicate meaning).

At Key Stage 5 Creative Digital Media Production focuses on the three big ideas in media production: pre-production (the planning that goes into the creation of a media product); production (the process of creating the raw material for a media product); post-production  (the process of combining this raw material into the final, flawless media product). Not only will students develop a theoretical understanding of these three big ideas, but they will also become actively engaged with them through the production of their own short horror film.

Why study Media?

The media bombards us with messages about the world, the people in it (and our own place in that world). But what if the messages that we receive from the internet, social media, TV, etc only tell us half of the truth? Media Studies allows students to look beyond the images, the words, the colours and the music that make up media products and to identify the messages encoded in these visual and auditory elements.  It empowers students to recognise why these messages are being communicated and how the audience is expected to respond to these messages. The Media is gaining more and more power in telling young people how to behave, how to look, what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’, what is ‘cool’ and what is not. The study of Media provides young people with the knowledge and skills to recognise these messages as versions of the truth that they have the power to accept or reject.

Curriculum Map
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In choosing Media Studies at Key Stage 4 or Creative Digital Media Production at Key Stage 5, students are immediately setting themselves a challenge by studying a subject that is entirely new to them. Moreover, this subject is challenging as it involves looking at the Media in a completely different way. At both Key Stage 4 and 5, students of Media have to train themselves to critically analyse those media products that (up until this point) they have simply used for pleasure.  Watching a film becomes an analytical exercise in how colour, music and setting are used to manipulate the audience’s response. Looking at a magazine cover becomes an analytical exercise in how image and text create messages about specific groups of people (women or the young for example). Media students also have to learn a vast amount of specialist media terminology and media theory that they will be expected to use confidently to their own work. All of this makes Media Studies an extremely challenging but also rewarding subject.

Vocabulary (Tier 2 & 3)

Both at Key Stages four and five, Knowledge Organisers are used for important key words and ideas in. These are an easy and accessible way for students to learn and reference the subject-specific vocabulary that will enable students to become specialists in Media. Students learn a vast array of subject specific terminology relating to the four key areas of the media framework: audience, industry, media language and representation.

Numeracy (if applicable)

An important part of Media Studies involves the study of audience and this often involves numbers. In both Key Stages 4 and 5, Media students will develop their understanding of audiences through the study of numerical data (such as percentages) and graphs (pie charts, bar charts, etc). Students will also develop their numerical skills in Media through accessing the numerical audience data found on a variety of audience research websites such as BARB and RAJAR.

Links with other subjects

The study of Media shares links with some extremely diverse subjects. Like English Language and Literature, Media students are expected to decode language in order to understand the deeper meanings that have been encoded within the text. The only difference is that in Media a ‘text’ could mean a music video, a film or a print advert whilst ‘language’ means much more than words:  it means all of the aspects that make up a media product such as the colours, the costumes, the settings and the music.  Like IT, Media involves learning how to use the hardware and software necessary for the production of a media product whether this is using video cameras to film and iMovie to edit or cameras to take photographs and Adobe Photoshop to manipulate and edit these images.

Assessment in Media

At Key Stage four (Years 10 &11) students have half-termly assessments linked to the set media products that they have studied during the half-term. These assessments will closely replicate the question-types found in the Media Studies examination papers (Component 1 and Component 2) thus ensuring that students are developing the necessary exam skills throughout the programme of study.  Students’ GCSE grade is made up of 70% external assessment and 30% Non-Examined Assessment. In the Non-Examined assessment, students will work with print media to create either a magazine or marketing print product.

At Key Stage five (Years 12 & 13) Media students are assessed in a variety of different ways with 58% of students’ final grade coming from external assessment and 48% of students’ final grade coming from internal assessment. Unit 1 (Media Representations) is externally assessed through a two-hour on-screen test that students will initially sit in the January assessment window when they are in Year 12. Unit 8 (Responding to a Commission) is externally assessed through a practical assignment which students have 6 hours to complete over a specified assessment window. Students will initially sit this exam in the May / June assessment window when they are in Year 12. This will enable those students who wish to improve their marks to re-take one or both of these unit assessments in the January assessment window of Year 13. Both Unit 4 (Pre-Production Portfolio) and Unit 10 (Film Production – Fiction) are internally assessed, although grades are subject to external verification by the awarding body. During the teaching of the external units (1 and 8) students will sit a practice assessment after each unit content area has been fully covered. During completion of the internally assessed practical units (4 and 10) students’ production work will be subjected to fortnightly formative assessment  to ensure students have a clear understanding of the grade they are working at and how this can be improved.

Years 10 and 11

Students will study the Eduqas GCSE Media Studies specification where 70% of their course will consist of the study of a variety of set media products (magazines, adverts, video games, etc). Each set product will be analysed against at least one of the following: media frameworks: language (how sound, colour, camera, etc comunciate meaning); representation (the messages that the media product communicates about groups, individuals or places); audience (how a media product is matched to a specific group of consumers); industry (who owns the media product and who regulates it). 30% of the course is assessed through Non-Examined Assessment where students will have the opportunity to use media production hardware and software to create their own media products.

Sixth Form

Students will study Pearson’s BTEC National Extended Certificate in Creative Digital Media Production. The externally assessed element of the course makes up 58% of the final grade and consists of the study of two units focused on the study of Representation (the messages that a media product communicates about groups, individuals or places) and Responding to a Brief, where students will be put in the position of a media production company competing to secure a commission by responding creatively to a brief and producing high quality planning documentation. The internally assessed element of the course makes up 42% of the final grade and will involve students in the pre-production planning, filming and editing of their own short film of a specified genre.
Useful links

Key Stage 4

GCSE Media Studies

Key Stage 5

Creative Digital Media Production

(Please ensure your select ‘Extended Certificate in Creative Digital Media’ from the dropdown menu)

Extra curricular opportunities

Into Film Club

Stop-Motion Animation Club

Extra-curricular trips to places of significance for example The British Film Institute and British Board of Film Classification in London; the National Media Museum in Bradford

Who to contact if you want further information

Ms Moyes