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

Media is based around four very big ideas which are common to all media products: Representation (the messages that a media product communicates about people, places or events); Media Language (how features such as colour, sound, costume and props communicate meaning); 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). Whether analysing a media product such as a film or magazine or whether creating your own media product, consideration of these four big ideas is key to both successful understanding and successful creation of a media product.

Why study Media?

The media industry is growing! It is estimated that by 2025 the UK media industry alone will be worth £88billion. This means that it is an area where the jobs market will continue to grow. Studying media at either key stage 4 or 5 is an ideal introduction to this growth industry which impacts our lives on a daily basis. In addition, 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? Studying Media enables 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 these messages and understand how an 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 at either Key Stage 4 or 5, students are immediately setting themselves a challenge by studying a subject that is entirely new to them. Moreover, Media is challenging because it involves both analytical and creative elements. Rather than simply watching a film or playing a video game or reading a magazine, students of Media have to train themselves to analyse these products that (up until this point) they have simply used for pleasure.  For example, watching a film becomes an analytical exercise in how colour, music and setting are used to manipulate the audience’s response. In addition, students of Media have to apply this understanding to their own practical productions which could involve producing a short film or selected pages of a magazine. This brings additional challenges as students have to master the hardware and software that will enable them to produce media products of excellent quality.  All of this makes Media an extremely challenging but also rewarding subject.

Vocabulary (Tier 2 & 3)

Knowledge Organisers are used for important key words and ideas in Media Studies.  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

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 encoded within the text. The only difference is that a media  ‘text’ could mean a music video or a film or a print advert and ‘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 Adobe Premier to edit or cameras to take photographs and Adobe Photoshop to manipulate and edit these images.

Assessment in Media

Year 11 GCSE: 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 also have a Non-Examined Assessment worth 30% of their overall Media Studies mark. Students will work with print media to create either a magazine or marketing print product.

For Year 10, the course has changed to the BTEC Level 2 in Creative Media Production. Unlike the traditional end of course exam favoured by GCEs, the BTEC involves more continuous assessment. Assessment for Components 1 and 2 is done through internal assessment at key points of year 10 and year 11. In order to prepare students for these assessments, students will have regular half-termly practice assessments which enable them to practice the skills they need when sitting the final assessments for each component. Component 3 is assessed trough an externally set practical assessment that students will have 10 hours to complete. In preparation for this assessment students will again have regular half-termly practice assessments which enable them to practice the skills they need when sitting the final external assessment.

At Key Stage five the Level 3 BTEC course allows for a range of different assessment methods: One unit is assessed through an external on-screen exam; another unit is assessed through an externally set controlled conditions assessment where students receive pre-release material from the exam board which allows them to plan their ideas prior to the external assessment window. Finally, there are two internally assessed practical units. In preparation for all of these assessments (both internal and external) students sit regular half-termly practice assessments to enable them to practice the skills that are necessary for each unit.

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