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Media Studies

Media Studies in Key Stage 4 is a modern, highly relevant subject which at this level is new to students. It examines the media constructions and representations at play in today’s society. It allows students to develop their own skills of analysis and also to use what they have learnt to produce their own texts.

Key Stage 4 GCSE


In Year 9 we study key media concepts of genre, narrative, representation and audience through a range of different texts like film posters, trailers and adverts. Students are assessed on their ability to analyse a range of media texts and also to plan ideas for creating their own products.

Year 10 is dedicated to coursework which is worth 60% of the GCSE grade. Students write two controlled assessment essays: one centred around genre in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and another examining the use of narrative in ‘Stan’ by Eminem. They also research, plan, produce and evaluate their own magazine for a specific target audience.

Year 11 is spent working on the examination topic, which is a series of written, essay-style responses to a range of questions in Section A, and a creative response to a question in Section B. Topics change every year and are set by the examination board: the next few years are centred around advertising.

Students must already be good at and enjoy English to be successful at this subject. It involves similar skills of analysis and interpretation, writing well structured, detailed essay responses to questions and being creative enough to develop their own narratives and ideas.  The ability to be organised, work at a consistently good standard and able to meet deadlines is also essential because this course has such an extremely high coursework component.

Extension and Enrichment

We offer a range of enrichment activities – some related to developing coursework skills on software packages such as Photoshop and other trips to events relevant to the examination content. This year we took students to a conference based on crime drama at the British Film Institute.


A Level/Pre-U

Students do not need to have studied GCSE Media Studies to take the subject at A Level, although it provides them with a good foundation of skills which they can develop. The A Level course extends  students’ skills of analysis, expecting them to demonstrate their knowledge through the rigor of formal academic essays. It also allows them to use their creative skills designing and creating their own texts.


The AS and A2 Media Studies courses are two equally weighted units - one exam module worth 50% of the AS grade, and one coursework module, also worth 50%. 

In AS, the exam module aims to provide students with a framework for analysing the media and has requires them to explore representations and audience/user responses. We explore genre, narrative, representation and audience reactions through a range of media texts, ranging from television and film sequences to magazines, newspapers and webpages. The coursework module allows students to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills in media production processes through research, planning, production and evaluation. Students produce three pieces of linked work: a pre-production storyboard for the opening sequence of a film, a marketing campaign for the film and a report describing the research for the two pieces and evaluating their successes.

The A2 course consists of an exam module which asks students to study in depth nine case studies based on the industries on advertising, television and music. Within these they look in depth at analysing the texts, their representations and audience responses and also investigating the industry context of production, marketing and regulation. The A2 coursework requires students to write their own question based on either narrative, representation or genre, and then create their own media texts which links to their findings

Extension and Enrichment

Enrichment activities are frequently based around individual tuition on computer packages like Photoshop and InDesign to push students to create excellent coursework production pieces. We also take students on trips when relevant – the most notable this year being a visit to Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studios.

More detail on the a-level course can be found here