Media Studies

This is a relevant and popular subject that students can pick as a GCSE option in Year 11 (AQA specification), and then move on to studying it at A Level (WJEC specification).  Key Stage 3 students will have some knowledge of the media through their English lessons where magazines, newspapers and advertising may be studied.

There is a practical element to both GCSE and A Level courses where students plan, organise, produce and edit media products ranging from their own advertising campaigns, magazines, film openings and pop videos.  To assist students in creating high quality productions, the school has invested in an Apple iMac computer suite equipped with the professional editing software, Adobe Photoshop.

Teaching Staff:

  • Mrs C. McComb
  • Mrs C. Osborne
  • Mr P. Laverty
  • Mr D. McLaughlin

Why Study the Media?

Because the media goes to great lengths to study you!

UK's creative industries are worth £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy! Growth of almost 10% in 2012, outperforming all other sectors of UK industry.

Within Media Studies, students not only gain knowledge and understanding of a range of different media texts, they also study the context in which they were made; pupils are encouraged to question and evaluate the way that the media shapes the world around us, therefore developing critical thinking skills and independent thought, as well as gaining knowledge about the world in which we live.

Students study a range of different topics that affect the media; from audience, representation, construction of media texts and the industry itself. Many media platforms are covered including film, TV, advertising, digital technology and magazines, amongst others.

There is a lot of emphasis on independent study and we encourage students to carry out extra reading and research; a skill they can cross over into other subject areas. There is a clear balance on practical and written work; the creative practical production and the academic, critical analysis and evaluations.

Each coursework assignment requires planning, organisation, diligence and forward thinking. In addition, all assignments require an explorative written element, as well as a reflective evaluation. Media Studies encourages a range of transferable skills; co-operation, decision making, listening, ICT skills, researching and many more.


GCSE Media Studies Specification (AQA)

Year 11:We prioritise Unit 2 with the completion of controlled assessment tasks in class. It is expected that students will engage in independent research and preparation outside of class.

Year 12:Completion of controlled assessments in class. Unit 1 exam study – topics change annually.


GCSE Media Studies comprises of two units:

Unit 1: Investigating the Media - Exam worth 60 marks (40%) - 1 hour 30 minutes

The examination is based on a pre-released topic issued with guidance and stimulus. Before sitting their examination, students must familiarise themselves with the pre-release material (available four weeks before the exam) and plan accordingly so they can complete the four exam tasks. Previous tasks have focused on Action Adventure films, Newspapers, Video Games and Television News.

Unit 2: Understanding the Media - Controlled Assessment (task bank published by AQA) worth 90 marks (60%)

Three assignments:
  • Assignment 1: Introductory assignment (500-700 words) – DVD covers
  • Assignment 2: Cross-media assignment (1000-1200 words) – Advertising campaigns
  • Assignment 3: Practical production and Evaluation (700-800 words) – Magazine Research & Production


AS and A Level Media Studies Specification (WJEC)

A Level Media Studies requires more critical autonomy and independence from students. The coursework requires them to study an area of the media in which they are interested. They write an 1800 word critical research investigation and go on to make a related production. The exam then requires them to study three media industries, with three focus texts and their context in depth, focusing on genre, industry and representation.

Students begin by looking at a range of different texts and representations, as well as studying audience responses. Coursework at AS requires students to research and plan a media product, and then go on to make it and evaluate it.

Unit 1: MS1 Media Representations and Responses - 25% (50%) Exam worth 100 marks - 2 hours 30 minutes

  • Three compulsory questions, including one question on unseen audio-visual or print-based material (interactive media will be presented as print-based) (40, 30 & 30).

Unit 2: MS2 Media Production Processes - 25% (50%) Controlled Assessment worth 100 marks

  • Three components: one pre-production (20); one production which develops from the pre-production (40); and one report on the production process (40). (Group work permitted for audio-visual productions only.)

Study/Homework Requirements:

  • Students should be actively consuming a variety of media texts e.g. newspapers, internet, television etc.
  • Pupils are required to carry out important research and home learning tasks that will be used to prepare for the controlled assessment tasks and therefore will influence their final grade. Many of their home learning and research tasks will be handed in with their final assignments.
  • Pupils need to spend appropriate study time learning the key media concepts, terminology and theories.
  • Pupils must take and gather a variety of high standard images for their production tasks.

Key Points to Success:

  • Students should be prepared to seek out appropriate media texts for analysis
  • Students should have an interest in discussing and writing about the media
  • Students should spend adequate time researching and learning key notes in preparation for the exam and controlled assessments.