Duke of York's Royal Military School

Brand New To St James – Media Studies GCSE

Published by St James Senior Boys' School on Thursday 11th of May 2023

The Year 8 options morning on Saturday 29th April was a great chance to introduce the new Media Studies GCSE that will be on offer from September 2023.

This is something that I’ve been keen to introduce since starting at St. James, as I believe that it will provide an important creative outlet for students who are keen for a subject that bridges the gap between English Literature and subjects like Art, DT, and Computing.

It was also a chance to discuss with parents the demands of GCSE English, and to stress the importance of reading. As per last week’s column, the English GCSE is actually two separate qualifications, with almost eight hours of exams in total awaiting students at the end of Year 11.

Ideally, our students would consider taking Media Studies GCSE alongside both Literature and Language; Media Studies offers many of the same analytical skills as can be found in Literature, but with more chances for creative expression, and so can be an excellent way to bridge the conceptual gap between the subjects.

A full 30% of the GCSE is based on a coursework project selected by students in their own preferred format, whether this be making a music video, filming a news report, directing a short film, or creating social media or video game content.

The content is also frequently updated to reflect the changing media landscape, and equips students with many vital skills to support them in learning to engage with the media safely in their own lives.

This includes identity: How are groups from different ethnicities, religions, genders, or sexualities, represented in the media? How and why has this changed over time?

How much of our identity is formed by the media we engage with, and who controls the media that we watch, read, and play?

How can students make safe and effective choices in their engagement with social media, and their ability to spot bullying, media bias, fake news, or conspiracy theories?

Here are some Media Studies themed titles to consider:

KS3: ‘Caught in the Crossfire’ by Alan Gibbons – In a northern British town, right-wing groups are stirring up prejudice and hatred; the story follows six teenagers whose lives are connected by shocking and tragic events.

KS4: ‘Every Day’ by David Levithan - A love story about a teenager who wakes up every day in a different body with a new identity; there’s no warning about who it will be or where.

KS5: ‘The Collected Stories’ – by Philip K. Dick – A collection of sci-fi, dystopian and morality tales by an exceptional writer, exploring consciousness and existential questions.

Mr Gould - Head of English

Brand New To St James – Media Studies GCSE - Photo 1
Grace Education
Hazelwood School
The Ley's School Best School in Cambridge ad