Media Curriculum Overview
Media and Film are an important part of everyone’s lives, we are constantly surrounded by both Media and Film; these forms are evolving at a rapid and exciting rate. Our vision, here are Southmoor, is to build on enthusiasm and passion for Media and Film; exploring varying forms in a variety of contexts. Through the study of Media and Film, at KS4 and KS5, students will gain an analytical ‘toolkit’, develop creativity and explore original ideas in a fair and inclusive context.
Media and Film is an intensive and academic field of study with a specific film and media terminology and a range of theorists’ ideals to explore and examine. You will need commitment, drive, ambition; high expectations are the key motivators to inspiring, achieving and excelling within this exciting and unique area of study.
The media studies curriculum at Southmoor Academy aims to develop our students’ confidence in critically engaging with media texts of all styles and types. Across the course of study, students will develop an understanding of and analytical approach to television, radio, music, video games, advertising, film, print media and online and social participatory media. The curriculum is designed in order to encourage critical evaluation skills and personal approaches to a variety of texts- within the study of these close study products (CSPs), students will be prompted to consider their own experience and approach to the media industry and analytically consider the role that it plays in their own lives. Within the media curriculum there are frequent opportunities for cross curricular links with aspects of English language, history, politics and psychology and sociology. In particular the reference to multiple theoretical studies allows students to explore how media texts are purposefully manipulative, and the strategies that media production teams have utilised and refined over the last century. The media curriculum is underpinned by an engagement with the key concepts of media studies: industry, audience, language and representation. Each of the fifteen CSPs will be used as a representative example of their specific sub-category of media text and are designed to invite close scrutiny and analytical evaluation. The media curriculum includes a deliberate focus on broadening students’ media technical language, something that is supported by our knowledge organisers, as students are actively encouraged to experiment with the application and use of technical and theoretical terminology throughout their studies. The development of analytical skills across Year 10 also builds the required familiarity with the rigorous requirements of the GCSE exams and frequent and purposeful practise of key exam questions and styles is built in for termly review. Within the Non-Exam Assessment students will be given an exciting opportunity to independently approach a topic of their choice within the AQA stipulated task. This independent coursework task will allow students to creatively design and produce a media product of their own and actively apply the theoretical approaches to the industry that they have acquired across the course. The freedom of personal choice in their design represents the overriding intent of the media course, which is to encourage passionate, personal interaction with this vast, creative and constantly shifting industry.
Throughout our programmes of study, every attempt is made to make explicit links to careers and the world of work. In addition to subject specific links, we aim to explicitly reinforce the skills and aptitudes which support employers say are important in the workplace;
- Resilience (Aiming High, Staying Positive, Learning from Mistakes)
- Collaboration (Teamwork Leadership Communication)
- Creativity (Originality, Problem Solving, Independent Study)
The British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect of those with different faiths and beliefs are taught explicitly and reinforced in the way in which the school operates.
Sequence and structure
Key Stage 4 Media Studies Curriculum
Our Key Stage 4 Curriculum
Term 1 2 3 4 5 6 Year 10 Key Concepts:
The key concepts represent the toolkit required by media students in order to
engage with media texts critically and analytically. The four concepts are:
industry, language, representation and audience. At the beginning of their
media course, students will be exposed to
audience theory and consider the ways in which audiences are manipulated by
media texts. They will critically evaluate
the extent to which these audiences are aware of their own manipulation and
consider their own experiences of media manipulation. Media language will be
introduced to students to allow them to
articulate ideas about the production of
media texts and technically consider their construction of reality. Industry will be
introduced through the consideration of how texts are approved and made, as well as monitored and regulated. The
concept of representation, perhaps most crucial, will involve a comprehensive
consideration of varied groups within society and the multitude of ways in
which these groups are depicted and constructed within mainstream media
CSP: Television (Class and Doctor
In this unit, students are introduced to their first two CSPs (both ‘in-
depth’). With an initial focus on the
specifics of the BBC industry and its’ production expectations, students
will study how ‘Class’ has garnered cultural significance and
demonstrates emerging trends in the
development of media. Through the study of character construction,
students will discuss and debate the
raised issues of social significance, particularly through the
representations of groups and individuals. The significance of
historical context is highlighted by
studying similarities and differences
between this product and another television product: Dr Who, An
Unearthly Child (1963). Through cross referencing these two texts,
principles of development of genre
conventions and the impact of new technologies on the production process will be critically explored.
CSP: Social and Participatory
Media (Zoella, Kim Kardashian,
In this unit, students will consider the representation and construction of female characters and voices in
modern media texts and the impact of this on audience
experience. The study of Zoella
invites a scrutiny of the extent to which she embodies and
reinforces gender stereotyping. With regards to Kim
Kardashian, her representation is central to the creation of her
brand but some critics argue that she trivialises female
gender identity. Considering
all three female characters students will explore and
investigate related interests,
concerns, values and beliefs. In addition to their own
responses, students will
consider the critical reception of these three female
characters. Ultimately, students will use audience theory to analyse the demographics
and psychographics of target audiences for each product
and investigate why they have proven to be so popular.
CSP: Advertising and
Marketing (OMO, NHS,
In this unit, a focus on semiotic analysis allows
students to develop their understanding of how
codes and conventions
of adverts and marketing materials are used to
communicate meaning. The focused study of narrative theory and
aspects of intertextuality
and contextual factors of
the adverts builds on the elements of
branding that has been
covered in earlier units.
Through considering three very different
campaigns, students will improve their ability to
make precise, evaluative cross references and show a specific
understanding of how consumer culture is
subject to contextual attitudes and beliefs.
CSP: Film and Music (Doctor
Strange and I, Daniel Blake,
Artic Monkeys and One
Within the film and music unit, a focus on industry research and evaluation allows
students to explore
production budgets, release campaigns, merchandising
tie-ins and certification. Within
the study of Doctor Strange, students will consider the
nature of globalization and analyse a critique of the
effect that the domination of
Hollywood has on national cinema production
worldwide. Students will
critically consider budgets of
films and draw conclusions on the subsequent effects on
audiences. The study of two
contrasting music videos also allows students the
opportunity to study
media industries, the role of
video in reaching audiences
and the relationship between producers and audiences.
NEA (Non-Exam Assessment)
For this non-exam assessment unit, students must complete an independent piece of media
production. This needs to meet the requirements of a brief,
created by AQA and changed each academic year. Students
are given broad freedom within the chosen brief to select a topic and focus for their product. They will then independently draft a
Statement of Intent which outlines their focus and
intentions before designing,
producing and editing an
individual media production for
an intended audience, applying their knowledge and
understanding of media language and representation.
Term 1 2 3 4 5 Year 11 NEA Completion
Students will continue to design, produce and edit an individual media production
for an intended audience, applying their knowledge and understanding of media language and representation. This represents 30% of the GCSE and is
subsequently given increased class time.
During this unit, revision of some of the topics, skills and strategies covered in
Year 10 will be referred to and revised.
CSP: Magazines, Newspapers and
In this final CSP unit, students will analyse specific newspaper front
pages and stories (selected by AQA and changed annually). This will allow them to develop an
understanding of the ways in which
the conventions of newspapers –
headlines, selection of image,
choice of written language, formatting – are used to
communicate meaning. It will also include revision of technical
vocabulary and semiotic choices and narrative theories. Within the
study of both the newspaper and
magazine chosen sources, students
will investigate the representation of social groups, issues or events
featured, identifying how selections made construct versions of reality, convey particular points of view,
messages, values and beliefs which reflect the political and ideological position of the media institution.
Within the study of the two Radio
CSPs, students will also be invited to further consider this type of
representation, alongside a study of
the role and relevance of radio in an online landscape.
Revision of GCSE Media Exam CSPs.
Interleaving of all topics, skills and strategies.
Revision of GCSE Media Exam CSPs.
Interleaving of all topics, skills and strategies.
Revision of GCSE Media Exam CSPs.
Interleaving of all topics, skills and strategies.
Impact:To ensure that all students successfully master the broad and wide-ranging bank of technical language, theories and concepts within media, formative assessment will take place for students in the form of weekly knowledge organiser quizzes. Teachers will additionally monitor and assess the application of this core knowledge within termly GCSE style written assessments which mirror the expectations of the final Year 11 papers. Assessment data is used to judge the success of the curriculum and progress towards mastery, with teaching time allocated to the re-teaching of specific knowledge. Particularly in Year 11, a large proportion of curriculum time is given to interleaved revision of the broad curriculum content to ensure that the students are confident to approach and respond to each area of the course. The impact of the very independent NEA project will be seen through positive and passionate content created by the students and their confidence in utilising and manipulating the media equipment. Regular reference to such a great variety of media texts will positively impact their confidence at approaching new texts of any style or type and demonstrating a personal approach and response to these. The impact of building students’ passionate and purposeful engagement in media studies will be assessed through students’ engagement with media texts outside of the classroom, perhaps through vlogging, online magazines or personal research that demonstrates the students broadening media literate communication skills. Through the inclusion of such a varied, diverse range of close study products – students are given a sense of the huge range of careers involved in an innovative, ever-changing media industry and will consequently be able to consider this as a potential option for their further study. By offering the students opportunities to engage with this diverse curriculum, in addition to allowing them to practise and hone their technical ability with a practical project, it is hoped that students will feel confident and excited at the prospect of continuing their media study at A Level and BTEC at Sixth Form and beyond.
Key Stage 5 Curriculum
Key Stage 5 Curriculum:
Media Studies builds upon the expertise attained at GCSE level, alongside introducing a more expansive range of media language and theoretical perspectives. The study of AS and A Level Media Studies is more expansive and accompanies more media forms: advertising and marketing, film marketing, music videos, newspapers, video gaming, radio, television, magazines and video blogs. Within each form, there is a specified set text for students to develop their understanding of the varying areas of the media studies theoretical framework: Media Language, Representations, Industries and Audiences.
At both levels of study, students will complete 2 examinations, as well as completing original production pieces using ICT packages. As an academic AS and A Level, there is an expectation of dedication to independent study and revision.
Year 13 – AS Level Media Studies (70% exam / 30% coursework)
- Advertising & Marketing: Tide, Kiss of the Vampire and Water Aid
- Film Marketing: Straight Outta Compton
- Music Video: Beyoncé – Formation
- Newspapers: The Daily Mirror
- Radio: Late Night Woman’s Hour: Home
- Video Games: Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
- TV: Humans S1 E1
- Magazines: Vogue (July 1965)
- Video Blogs: Zoella
- Research portfolio into magazines
- Statement of Aims and Intentions (10 marks)
- Production – creation of a wholly original: Magazine cover, contents page and double page feature article
Year 14 – A Level Media Studies (70% exam / 30% coursework)
Set products involve a more in-depth study of text covered during AS Level study, alongside:
- Film Marketing: I, Daniel Blake
- Music Video: Vance Joy: Riptide
- Newspapers: The Times
- TV: The Bridge: Life on Mars
- Magazines: The Big Issue (Oct 17-23 2016, No. 1227); Vogue.
- Video Blogs: Zoella: Attitude.
- Research portfolio into films
- Statement of Aims and Intentions (10 marks)
- Cross-media production:
- 3 print products: DVD cover and 2 theatrical posters for differing global audiences
- A sequence from a new mainstream radio or television news, current affairs or chat programme to promote your film to its target audience.
Key Stage 5 Film Studies Curriculum
What’s A Level Film Studies about?
This course is ideal for students who want to explore how and why films are made. A level Film Studies focuses on the analysis and deconstruction of film over a wide historical time frame. It allows you to engage with films from early silent cinema to 1930s Hollywood films to contemporary and experimental cinema.
Film Studies A level, involves studying 12 different films. These are separated into set categories, which are;
- Silent Film.
These are analysed via a number of different study area frameworks, including:
- film form
- meaning & response
- critical debates
- theoretical debates.
You work with your peers to debate and pull apart the set film texts and to develop a sophisticated contextual understanding of the world at the time these films were made. Film Studies requires that you develop an inquisitive mind and consider the deeper social, political and economic contexts of those films.
You also explore the work of a wide range of influential film directors, such as Alfred Hitchcock, Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers.
Film Studies A level also takes in the forefathers of cinema by evaluating the impact of key pioneers on the film industry including The Lumiere Brothers, DW Griffiths, Charlie Chaplin, and Sergei Eisenstein.
What sort of work is involved?
Film Studies A level will introduce you to a wide range of film-making processes so that you develop, through discussion, analysis and debate, a wide range of technical skills for both constructing and deconstructing film. This will give you the ability to develop your own creative skills as you explore these film-making techniques from different times and places. The coursework element allows you to experiment with a variety of film-making technology and film-editing software to develop your creative skills.
You will be expected to think independently and to develop your own ‘voice’, and you will be expected to expand your knowledge outside of the classroom through reading about and watching film. This is likely to involve going to film festivals and exhibitions. In essence you will need to live and breathe the cinema!
What background do I need?
A passion for a wide range of cinema is essential for success in Film Studies A level but it is not necessary to have studied either Film or Media at GCSE. It is an academic subject and suits students who have flourished in essay-based subjects like English Literature or History. As a rule, students who have achieved a minimum of 5 GCSE’s 9-4 (equivalent to A*-C) will fare better in this subject.
Where can it lead?
A level Film Studies students can go onto study Film, TV or Media at University. Students have the option to study a practical degree, theoretical degree or a combination of the two. This can lead to a very broad range of professions with many students able to develop skills that will enable them to apply for production roles within the Film, TV and Media industries. Some students opt for careers within Journalism and photojournalism.
A good degree in a creative arts subject like Film Studies can also develop a wide range of transferable skills including analysis, visual communication, problem solving, as well as communication, presentation and organizational skills.
For the Eduqas board (WJEC) 70% of your mark is assessed through two 150-minute exams at the end of the two-year course. One focuses on American and British Film, whilst the other focuses on global, documentary, silent and experimental film.
Coursework makes up the remaining 30% of the Film Studies A Level. You can choose to create a either short film (4-5 minutes) or produce a screenplay for a short film of between 1600-1800 words. The screenplay must also be accompanied with a digitally photographed storyboard of a 2-minute section of the screenplay. and you must write an evaluation of your production, of between 1600-1800 words.
How does our Curriculum cater for students with SEND?
Southmoor Academy is an inclusive academy where every child is valued and respected. We are committed to the inclusion, progress and independence of all our students, including those with SEN. We work to support our students to make progress in their learning, their emotional and social development and their independence. We actively work to support the learning and needs of all members of our community.
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age. (CoP 2015, p16)
Teachers are responsible for the progress of ALL students in their class and high-quality teaching is carefully planned; this is the first step in supporting students who may have SEND. All students are challenged to do their very best and all students at the Academy are expected to make at least good progress.
How does our curriculum cater for disadvantaged students and those from minority groups?
As a school serving an area with high levels of deprivation, we work tirelessly to raise the attainment for all students and to close any gaps that exist due to social contexts. The deliberate allocation of funding and resources has ensured that attainment gaps are closing in our drive to ensure that all pupils are equally successful when they leave the Academy.
How do we make sure that our curriculum is implemented effectively?
- The curriculum leader is responsible for designing the Media and Film Studies curriculum and monitoring implementation.
- The subject leader’s monitoring is validated by senior leaders.
- Staff have regular access to professional development/training to ensure that curriculum requirements are met.
- Effective assessment informs staff about areas in which interventions are required. These interventions are delivered during curriculum time to enhance pupils’ capacity to access the full curriculum.
- Curriculum resources are selected carefully and reviewed regularly.
- Assessments are designed thoughtfully to assess student progress and inform future learning and progression.
- Work scrutiny is carried out within departments to check consistency of marking and feedback.
- Analysis of pupil progress through use of SISRA to identify gaps in pupil progress / Target groups.
How do we make sure our curriculum is having the desired impact?
- Examination results analysis and evaluation
- Termly assessments-analysis and evaluation meetings
- Lesson observations
- Learning walks
- Work Journal/ text book scrutiny
- Regular feedback from Teaching Staff during department meetings
- Regular feedback from Middle Leaders during curriculum meetings
- Parental feedback