Media Department

Welcome to the Media Studies department at Churchdown School

We live in a world dominated by the media, whether it is communication through mobile phones, the emergence of social websites such as Facebook, or the way in which computer generated images (CGI) enable spectacular films to be made. All are influencing our daily lives, whether we like it or not. It is all around us, all day, every day.

If you study Media Studies, you will gain an understanding of how the media influences modern life, and how you might get the best out of the Media. A knowledge of media is a life skill, and as such is useful in any future career such as journalism, teaching or advertising and marketing. GCSE Media Studies will also provide a solid foundation for further study of the subject at A-level and compliment other A-level choices such as Art, Drama, English or Business Studies.

You will study media topics from more traditional media such as newspapers and magazines, through to more ‘modern’ media such as social media and podcasts. You will develop digital photography skills, including editing on FinalCut Pro, and learn how to write and produce a music video. You will develop desktop publishing and journalistic skills, and develop analytical skills when watching TV programmes and movies.

KS4 Overview

AQA GCSE Media Studies

Unit 1: Investigating the media

1 Hour 30 Minutes  Exam       40%   

This exam is based on topical pre-released material which changes annually. It is designed to ensure content is up to date and relevant to the world of media at the time of release. The exam will test students understanding of the four key concepts and their applications to the scenario provided in the pre-release. The four key concepts include, institutions, representations, media language and audience giving the students a broad in depth knowledge of how media is produced, distributed and consumed.

The exam often has a practical element testing students creative abilities and their suitability towards a specific target audience. This may be in the form of storyboards, web site or phone app designs, posters or other promotional materials.

Unit 2: Investigating Small Business

Controlled assessment    60%   

Assignment 1 – Analysing the media (Analyse the opening sequence of a film) 20% of the total GCSE. Students use analytical skills to consider what they see on screen and why decisions on clothing, camera shots, editing techniques and sound all enhance the viewing experience for the audience.

Assignment 2 – Cross media study (Advertising) 20% of the total GCSE. A consideration is given in to how the media has changed and adapted over the years to keep up with changing social trends, audience behaviour and technology.

Assignment 3 – Production (Pop Videos) 20% of the total GCSE. Students are given the ability to film and edit a pop video to create a finished professional product along with the treatment made prior to filming and evaluating their work this is often the students favourite project of the year.

KS5 Overview

OCR AS/A2 Level Media Studies

Unit 1: Practical Coursework- Foundation Portfolio (50% of AS)

As a group, you will plan, film and edit your own media texts, based on your ideas for a new horror film. You will then produce an evaluation of your work.

Unit 2: Key Media Concepts (50% of AS)

You will study a range a media techniques and theory based units in preparation for the exam. The AS exam consists of two essay style questions. One question is based on your knowledge of news audiences and how their changing behaviour has led to dramatic changes in the way news is produced and distributed by the institutions. The other question will be a deconstruction of a previously unseen moving image extract taken from a TV drama where students will be able analyse the representation of particular groups or characters shown on screen.

What does the A2 course involve?

Unit 3: Practical Coursework—Advanced Portfolio (50 % of the A2)

This is the coursework unit. Like the foundation portfolio, you will work in groups to produce a horror trailer and then either a poster promoting the film or a website page for the film. A brief and evaluation also accompanies the coursework.

Unit 4: Critical Perspectives in the Media (50% of the A2)

This exam paper requires students to critically analyse their own development in terms of production skills from their coursework at AS level to A2. This part of the course also includes an investigation into how the development of the internet has had an impact on various media industries considering how they have reacted to the changes and how they are preparing for the future.

Extra Curricular Opportunities

The media studies computer room and dedicated Apple Mac media suite are open for students to come and complete coursework at break and lunch everyday. These rooms are also available until 4pm after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The department also run several key events on the school calendar including the ever popular and much talked about CAFTAs. Held at the Guild Hall in Gloucester the CAFTAs is Churchdown School very own version of the BAFTA awards. The aim is to reward students for their hard work and success for various elements of their production work from best director and best editing to best actor.


The Media department has a long running tradition of going on annual trip to Disney Land Paris where students attend the ‘Media Live’ conference. Here they get to hear from a range a special guest speakers all giving their personal insight to their experiences and the challenges they have faced in the world of media.

Past speakers have included game developers, producers from the popular BBC show ‘Top Gear’, and Sky Sports News presenters. Of course speakers from Disney also delve in to the wide reach of their media activities.

The department is also introducing a residential to New York from 2017 where students will experience all the bright lights and opportunities the Big Apple has to offer.

Next steps or Where the subject leads

By studying media studies at GCSE, A Level or even both students leave with wide range of skills from research abilities, design, creativity, team working skills, critical analysis, commercial and cultural awareness. Students will delve deep in to a brand new subject and be given creative freedom and the ability to express their ideas and interpretations against a range of media throughout the course preparing them for a range of exciting a reward higher educational routes and careers.

Media studies students typically enter careers in the media, cultural and creative industries. Areas of work include television and radio, film and video, digital media, computer games, journalism, writing and publishing, PR and media practice.

Maybe it’s time to find out where a qualification in Media could take you?

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