Media Studies: GCSE to A-Level


Media Studies is a subject that continues to see significant numbers of students countrywide selecting it as an option, both at GCSE and A-level. We live in an age of social media, streaming, convergence and other great technological innovations. The internet has changed the ways in which we consume and engage with media products as well as how those products are being constructed and marketed.  

Media Studies students will analyse and deconstruct media texts across a variety of platforms including television, radio, websites, magazines, advertising and music. Students will also engage with a range of theorists and look to understand both their strengths and weaknesses in the modern age. They will have the opportunity to produce their own media products following both industry and genre conventions as well as use a range of technical software that is used by the media industry such as Adobe In Design and Photoshop.


The GCSE Media Studies Journey:

Year 9:

This year will introduce the theoretical framework, which forms the basis of the new GCSE. Students will gain an introductory understanding of: Media language, Representation, Audience, Industry and Context.

Students will work on a range of unseen material, developing their ability to apply analytical skills to new products, as well as study a range of set media products in depth.  They will develop their ability to understand that media texts are constructed purposefully and with clear intentions to appeal to target audiences; they will learn about the nature of audiences, both passive and active, and discover some of the theories behind why we consume media.  Students will also consider how stereotypes have been built up over time and how context plays an important part of understanding a media product.

The set texts for Year 9 will include: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Friends, Katy Perry’s Roar and Bruno Mars’ Up Town Funk as well as a range of adverts and front covers from The Mirror and The Guardian newspapers.

Throughout the year students will also have the opportunity to produce their own media products building up their initial knowledge of computer programmes such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premier Pro. Students will be given briefs, similar to that of a GCSE exam brief, that they will have to work to ensuring that they are implementing their theoretical knowledge and understanding to their own creation.


Year 10

The course will continue to develop students’ awareness of the theoretical framework increasing their knowledge of key terminology as well as conventions of media products.  Students will develop their ability to apply their knowledge and understanding to the analysis of both set products and unseen texts.  A new focus of their analysis will be student’s ability to compare unseen products with those that they have studied. In this year students will begin their work on the set texts for the GCSE examination at the end of Year 11. The introduction of the component 1 set texts, which focuses students on having a breadth of knowledge across a wide range of products and platforms, will begin.

In addition, students will undertake the coursework component of this course during Year 10. It will take place in the summer term once the Exam board has released the brief.  This element of the course will be worth 30% of the students’ overall grade and will take 12 weeks of the summer term to complete. Here students will need to work independently on their own project ensuring that their ideas meet the exam brief and that they meet the deadlines set for them. This will give students a great opportunity to be creative but also to put into practice their understanding of how media products are constructed to appeal to a target audience.  All of the work the students complete must be their own and again they will have opportunities to work with media software.

Year 11

In the first part of this year students will undertake a focus on the Paper 2 element of the exam, which is concerned with an in-depth look at a number of set products including Luther and The Sweeney, Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood and Pharrell William’s Freedom.

Students will continue to develop their understanding of the theoretical framework and the key terminology to support their analysis work. They will learn about all elements of the framework – audience, industry, representation and media language – in relation to the set texts.

Students will then spend the second half of the year revising the content from Year 10 and their in-depth study from Year 11 in preparation for their final exams.


A Level Media Studies

Students taking A Level Media Studies will find themselves engaging with a much wider variety of theorists from Roland Barthes theory on semiotics to Stuart Hall’s Reception Theory in relation to audiences. Students will not only have to grasp what underpins these theories but they must also be able to evaluate them; discussing their strengths and weaknesses as well as their relevance in today’s society. Students will have to grasp a range of media terminology that will enable them to provide analytical readings of media texts in relation to the representations and audiences as well as have an acute understanding of the relevant industries.

Similar to that of GCSE Media Studies, the course is underpinned with a unit that focuses on a wide ranging breadth of media products, representations and media platforms. Students are expected to analytically deconstruct these set products as well as be able to offer their own independent analysis of unseen material.  The second unit focuses students’ attention on developing a very detailed and in-depth look at set material. 





Core Subjects





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