Media Studies at St Martin’s school is a popular and high achieving subject. It offers pupils the opportunity to develop a range of skills, including Literacy, ICT, and Artistic creativity. It is offered as a distinct option subject at both KS4 and KS5 and consistently attracts high numbers of students who reliably exceed target grades, enjoy success, and often pursue the subject further at degree level.
The media has a profound influence over our lives. Whether we use the media for pleasure, information, or to widen our interests, it is difficult to escape the media messages which constantly invade our lives. One of the most exciting elements for students is that they already engage with the subject matter on a daily basis, spending much of their free time consuming media texts, and so already have an implicit understanding of the subject. Media Studies is a subject whose subject matter extends beyond the classroom and into the lives of the students who study it.
It is clear that students enjoy their Media Studies work, and take immense pride in creating products themselves, where they put theory into practice. It is a subject which offers the less able the chance to make maximum use of their own media experience and special interests, while at the same time it enables the more able students to access A* grades. Students are encouraged to use their analytical skills through complex study of case study texts underpinned by appropriate concepts, using complex terminology and creating production work to a supremely high standard.
Key Stage 4
We follow the WJEC GCSE specification here at St Martin’s school, and pupils who opt for the subject at GCSE Level currently have 5 lessons a fortnight. There is a nice balance between analysing media texts and creative opportunities whereby students have to apply their knowledge by creating media products.
We will be following a new specification from September 2017 and the proposed course is really exciting! We will be studying the Music industry, particularly focusing on Music Magazines and Music Videos and a promotional tool. We will also be exploring how both the Computer Games and Advertising industries represent men and women. Additionally we will evaluate how the TV industry in Wales has evolved and changed, and how our TV viewing habits have been altered with new technological developments. We will also study contemporary Hollywood films and how they are marketed. These units will be assessed by 2 exams in year 11, both worth 30% of the grade.
Controlled Assessment remains a significant part of the course, where pupils develop skills of independent research and learning by responding to a brief and ultimately creating their own media production work. Utilising software like Photoshop, students will have some Photography lessons and an introduction to basic editing in order to produce believable pieces of work that allow them to put their theory into practice. This is worth 40% of the grade, which is reassuring for students who might not enjoy examination pressure.
GCSE Media is a popular and current course and we consistently enjoy high results as reflected below:
- 2014: 93% A*-C; 63% A*/A
- 2015: 86% A*-C; 30% A*/A
- 2016: 87% A*-C; 33% A*/A
Regardless of ability, the course enables all pupils to exceed their target grades, and many students continue to study the subject further at A Level and on to Degree level.
Key Stage 5
The A Level Media Studies course at St Martin’s school is a popular choice with students, regardless of whether they studied the subject at GCSE level; each year there is a mix of pupils who have had previous experience of the subject and those new to the course. Pupils enjoy the stimulating course content and the mix of theoretical, analytical discussion of media texts and industries combined with practical coursework, enabling students to put theory into practice.
The course combines committed and energetic teaching methodology and excellent levels of support, with an expectation for students to complete some independent research, preparing them well for the rigours of university academic study.
From September 2017, year 12 will follow the new specification set by the WJEC, outlined below and it comprises a balance of examination assessment with controlled assessment work.
AS Course structure:
- Unit 1 exam module: [24% A Level] Essays/questions on:
- Section A: Advertising and Marketing (music videos and advertising campaigns).
- Section B: News in the online Age (online newspaper, news website, social networks).
- Section C: Film – from Wales to Hollywood (One Welsh film and one Hollywood film studied in-depth).
Unit 2 coursework module: You will choose a brief from a selection set by the WJEC and will produce and evaluate your own media product! [16% A Level]
A2 course, which is more heavily weighted as the final year:
Unit 3 – exam. Media in the Global Age [36% A level]
An in-depth study of media language, representation, industries and audiences.
Section A: Television in the global age – 2 TV programmes studied in-depth.
Section B: Magazines – mainstream and alternative Media – 2 brands studied.
Section C: Media in the Digital Age – Video Games – 2 games brands studied in-depth.
Unit 4 – Coursework. Creating a Cross-Media Production [24% A Level]
A cross-media production, including individual investigative research and development, created in response to a choice of briefs set by the WJEC. An individual critical analysis of the production.
The department has consistently high results:
- 2016 - AS results: 18 entries. 62% A-C [74% exceeded target grades]
- A Level results: 11 entries. 92% A*-C [36% A*/A grades]
- 2015 - AS results: 20 entries, 85% A-C [50% A/B grades]
- A Level results: 13 entries, 92% A*-C [A*/A grades 54%]
- 2014 - AS results:18 entries, 94% A-C [A grade: 44%]
- A Level results: 17 entries, 94% A*-C [A*-B 55%]
- 2013 - AS results: 20 entries, 100% A-C [40% A grade]
- A Level results: 20 entries, 80% A-C [A*-B 45%]