Topic outline

  • KS3 - Year 7

    • Heroes & Villians in Film

      Media Studies is not taught as a separate subject until Years 10 and 11, but to introduce students in Year 7 to the concept of representations in the Media students will focus on how heroes and villains are portrayed. Throughout the unit, students will study a series of stories and films, looking at how characters are represented, often in a stereotypical fashion.

      Students read look briefly at the work of theorists Propp and Todorov, who discovered that many great stories have unifying features in terms of narrative development and character types. To understand these narratological concepts, the film Stormbreaker is deployed, after which students can readily identify heroes, helpers, despatchers and villains. When the key texts have been studied, students examine how the film industry promotes its products using posters and DVD covers. Students then work on examining how the media represents 'good' and 'bad' characters. Final assessment is a film review.

  • KS3 - Year 8

    • Magazines in the Media

      Students in Year 8 focus their study on Magazines in the Media. They begin by deconstructing the cover and conventional layout of magazines aimed at a variety of target audiences. Work is conducted to build knowledge and understanding of the codes and conventions employed by the print media industry. Study is also done into non-fiction writing, especially in the form of articles and opinion pieces.

      Final assessment for the unit is the creation of a magazine which is suitable for a teenage audience.

  • KS3 - Year 9

    • Representation in the Media

      Students start this unit my looking at how fast food companies try to represent, sell and market their products to various audiences. Students also read various opinion pieces on the effects of poor diet in the UK. They watch a documentary on the fast food industry, and take part in debates about the benefits of healthy eating.

      Final assessment is a written report to the Principal about the standard of food in the school canteen.

  • GCSE Media Studies

    Click the logo or link below if you would like to view the full course specification from the AQA Exam Board website.

    Exam Board Qualification Specification
    AQA Exam Board - GCSE Media Studies (4810) GCSE Media Studies 4810

    Many students spend over four hours a day in a mediated environment – The Internet, TV, or film; it informs us, entertains us and even persuades us which MP3 player to buy and who to vote for.  Studying the mass media will shape you into a competent decoder of the messages that surround us and influence our lives, allowing you to be an independent thinker.


    Coursework 60%

    Carried out under controlled conditions, these will be chosen from a bank of assignments created by AQA which include:

    • An introductory assignment
    • A cross-media assignment involving moving image and new
    • A practical production such as the opening sequence of a teaser trailer

    External Assessment 40%

    A different media topic is set each year.  The exam paper is released a month in advance to prepare.

    Is it for me?

    The emphasis on detailed analysis makes Creative Media a demanding subject.  Candidates need to be able to communicate their ideas and understanding fluently, therefore it is strongly recommended that only students with a real interest in film, TV, the Internet, the press, and a Level 5 or above in their Key Stage 3 English SATs should choose this option.  Despite some perceptions that this is a 'soft' subject, it is both demanding and fascinating.  A familiarity and competence with ICT is essential since the use of computers is at the heart of media studies.

    Other Information

    Not only will this GCSE prove useful for potential journalists or those seeking to work in media industries such as web design, marketing and film, it will also equip you with transferable analytical and production skills.  Creative Media GCSE provides an invaluable grounding for GCE or other media-based diplomas and qualifications.

  • BTEC First (Level 2) in Creative Digital Media Production

    Click the here to go to the Edexcel/Pearson website

    Key features of the BTEC Firsts in Creative Media Production

    The BTEC Firsts in Creative Media Production have been developed in the digital media production sector to focus on:

    • Providing an introduction to learners who want to study in the context of the vocational sector
    • Education and training for those who work or who are intending to work in the digital creative media industry, including entry level work as assistant web designers, editorial assistants, junior photographers, assistant game designers, production assistants or games testers. 
    • Providing opportunities for those who work or are intending to work in the digital creative media industry to achieve a nationally recognised Level 2 vocationally specific qualification
    • Providing opportunities for learners to gain a nationally recognised vocationally specific qualification to enter employment in the digital creative media sector or to progress to higher education vocational qualifications such as the Edexcel Level 3 BTEC First Certificate in Creative Media
    • Providing opportunities for learners to develop a range of skills and techniques, personal qualities and attitudes essential for successful performance in working life.


    75% of the qualification is internally set and assessed by the classroom teacher. Grading of these internal units is on a Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction* basis. The final award is worth one GCSE. A Pass is worth one GCSE at C grade, a Merit is equivalent to a B grade, a Distinction is equivalent to an A grade, and a Distinction* is equivalent to an A*.

    25% of the qualification is externally assessed via a paper-based exam. Edexcel sets and marks these assessments. The external assessment will be one hour and will be undertaken by the learner under examination conditions. 

    All tasks are presented in a work-related context, to better prepare students for work or further study in digital media production.

    If learners do not achieve at Level 2 they may be awarded a Level 1 grade. Learners whose level of achievement is below a Level 1 will receive an unclassified U result. 

    Unit 1: Digital Media Sectors and Audiences

    In this introductory unit, learners will explore the digital media industry and all the five sectors that fall under it (Digital Moving Image, Digital Audio Production, Digital Publishing, Website Production and Digital Games Production). They will explore the different types of audiences and how audiences can engage with each sector.

    Learners will also be given an introduction to wider media landscape, the organisations within it, how they are funded and their working practices. They will learn to look at ‘the bigger picture’ of local, national and global media and how organisations of all sizes and structures produce media. 

    This unit will be externally assessed.

    Learning Aims:
    1. to understand digital media sectors, products and platforms.

    2. understand audiences for digital media products

    Unit 2: Planning and Pitching Digital Media Products

    In this unit, learners will use their verbal, written and visual communication skills to enable them to formulate, develop and pitch ideas for a product, which they plan to produce. 

    Coursework task: To formulate, develop and pitch an idea for a new mobile phone app.

    Learning Aims:

    1. understand how to develop ideas for a digital media product
    2. pitch ideas for a digital media product
    3. produce planning for a digital media product

    Unit 3: Digital Moving Image Production

    In this unit, learners will investigate key features of digital moving image productions, including structures and generic conventions. Practical production focuses on the use of camerawork and how it is used to convey meaning in a specific product.

    Coursework task: To create a 30 second television advert for a new tea product. 

    Learning Aims:

    1. understand key features of moving image production
    2. understand technical construction of a digital moving image production
    3. produce and review a digital moving image production

    Unit 4: Digital Publishing Production

    In this unit, learners will gain the knowledge and skills required for design and development of digitally published products. They will also understand how to source materials and combine them to create a whole product. Learners will organise and manage the production of a digitally published product.

    Coursework task: To create an online e-zine for the students of Soham Village College.

    Learning Aims:

    1. know about digital publishing opportunities
    2. understand use of digital publishing technology and techniques
    3. produce material for digital production

    Unit 5: The Media Industry in Context: The World or Work

    In this unit, learners will investigate employment in the media industry. This will include studying the advantages of different contracts of employment and how recruitment practices are changing across all of the media sectors. 

    Coursework task: Students will create a portfolio of their work throughout the course, along with a working CV.

    Elements of this unit will be included in the external assessment. 

    Learning Aims:

    1. understand professional working practices
    2. know about employment in the digital media sectors