Media Studies is the academic study of the mass media - its texts, industries, institutions and, most importantly, the role, benefits and influences of the mass media on individuals and on society. The department aims to give pupils a broad insight and understanding of the media and its operations within modern society, as well as some insight into the historical development of the media.
Students are taught to analyse a wide range of media texts in a stimulating, relevant and practical way. Students are also taught a range of practical production skills which they are encouraged to use and to apply creatively in the production of their coursework folders. It is hoped that the skills acquired during this course will equip students with the ability to sift and to question the material and "messages" delivered through the media in our daily lives. The skills should also be of benefit to any student wishing to pursue a media-related career or further programme of media-related study post-16. A new Media viewing and editing suite will be also be built into the new Arts building, giving pupils experience working with state of the art technology.
Media Studies is offered at King Ethelbert School at Key Stage 4 as a GCSE option following the AQA specification. Work is assessed at the end of KS4 with a combination of 50% coursework and 50% examination, based on pre-released material.
All topics covered include the study of basic media concepts such as Audience, Narrative, Genre and Representation. The units of study for coursework are Film (genre study); Television (Documentaries) and News (Tabloid Newspapers). These units require a written and a practical element. In addition, the Practical Production coursework topic – an option of either Local and Community Radio or Magazines is also undertaken. This unit is weighted towards practical work, with a supporting written evaluation.
The final examination for Media Studies takes the form of a "controlled test" and is simulation-based on a pre-released topic. Students are issued with copies of the examination paper 7-10 days before the date of the controlled test, in order to prepare the material needed. The topic for 2008-9 (the first GCSE cohort) is "Quiz Shows".