Media & Film Studies (Key Stages 4 & 5)

Over the last two years here at Trinity, our Media and Film Studies courses at both GCSE and A Level have proved extremely popular with many students. We have also provided a BTEC Certificate course in Creative Media Production that may run again if future demand is high. A large proportion of those who study either (or both!) of these subjects have clear aspirations of working within the creative media sector and use these courses as their ‘stepping stones’ before embarking upon a Media or Film degree at University. The media has been a powerful social, artistic and political tool for many decades and we now utilise and consume it more than we ever have before. Incorporated within this, film is widely acknowledged as the major art form of the 20th century and today, film continues to be an important part of most people’s cultural experience.

The Media & Film courses we currently run at Trinity are as follows (examining body in brackets);

Key Stage 4

  • GCSE Media Studies (AQA)
  • GCSE Film Studies (WJEC)

Key Stage 5

  • AS & A2 Level Media Studies (OCR)
  • AS & A2 Level Film Studies (WJEC)


Course information

  • GCSE Media Studies (to be studied as an English GCSE option from September 2012)

GCSE Media Studies uses four major concepts which form the basis of the subject content. Students should develop their knowledge and understanding of the subject within the parameters of these concepts;

–          Media Language: forms and conventions

–          Institutions

–          Audience

–          Representation


Areas covered include;

–          An extensive and meaningful coverage of media theory and practice

–          Practical work which integrates theories and concepts

–          Giving students the chance to study across a range of different media, including print, moving image and advertising.

–          Providing students with opportunities to learn about real media products and industries. This could influence their progression to A/AS-level Media subjects or associated further education courses.

Assessment Methods:

Unit 1- 90 minute examination (externally assessed at 40%) taking the form of unseen tasks based on a media topic exemplified in the pre-released stimulus materials.

Unit 2 – candidates will produce one introductory assignment, one that requires a close look at cross-media platforms which more closely reflects the media industry today and one Practical Production & Evaluation, each chosen from a different bank of assignments (each specified by AQA and internally assessed as a combined 60%).


  • GCSE Film Studies (commencing 2016/2017)

Film StudiesFocusing on the various elements of ‘Film Language’, this course allows students to study films and the ways in which they are experienced, the importance of visual representation in today’s global society and the place film has in communicating ideas, attitudes and cultural beliefs, both now and in the past. It is designed to build upon students’ own experience of film (as consumers and creators).



  • Micro and Macro elements of film language

Focused case studies that allow engagement with mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, sound, visual effects, genre, narrative and representation.


  • Exploring Film

Applying these elements of film language to a set genre – Superhero Movies. Students will also have the opportunity to explore a film of their choice from another genre


  • Exploring Film Outside of Hollywood

A wider study of the global movie industry with a main focus on the 2005 South African Film ‘Tsotsi’ directed by Gavin Hood


  • Film Marketing

A practical case study as to how movies are produced, distributed and exhibited with specific audiences in mind.



External Assessment – Examinations (50%)

  • Paper 1: Exploring Film 30% (1 hr 30 minutes) – Four compulsory questions focusing on one film genre (Superhero Movies)


  • Paper 2: Paper 2: Exploring Film outside Hollywood 20% (1 hour) – Three compulsory questions on one film produced outside Hollywood (Tsotsi)


Controlled Assessment (50%)

  • Exploring and creating – Two main items: a film exploration (two tasks) and a production (four tasks).
  • Exploring a film of the candidate’s choice – two tasks (30 marks)
  • Production – four tasks (70 marks) as students produce a marketing campaign for their own original film idea



Homework is frequent within the classroom based topics. At least once a fortnight students will have a focused research task that links into the areas of film language they have been analysing in the classroom.




  • GCSE Film Studies (pre 2016/2017)

This course is designed to build upon students’ own experience of film (as consumers and creators) and to encourage a recognition of the complexity of this experience within an increasingly globalised, interconnected environment.

Starting with familiar mainstream films and moving on to those made outside of Hollywood, the course allows students to study films and the ways in which they are experienced, the importance of visual representation in today’s global society and the place film has in communicating ideas, attitudes and cultural beliefs, both now and in the past. The specification approaches this through three inter-related study areas, which act as a framework for studying and creating film:

–          the ‘language’ of film

–           the organisations which produce, distribute and exhibit films and

–          the audiences for film.

Assessment Methods:

External Assessment (50%) Studied in the first year of the course – Exploring Film (Paper 1 Examination, 90 mins, 30%), Exploring Film outside Hollywood (Paper 2 Examination, 60 mins, 20%)

Controlled Assessment (50%) Studied in the second year of the course – Exploring and Creating (One film exploration – 15% and one production – 35%)

More information for the GCSE Film Studies course can be found at:



  • A Level Media Studies (overview of both the AS & A2 courses)
AS Media Studies:

The aims of the of the AS course are to;

–          Enhance students’ enjoyment and appreciation of the media and its role in their daily lives.

–          Develop critical understanding of the media through engagement with media products and concepts and through the creative application of practical skills.

–          Explore production processes, technologies and contexts.

–          Become independent in research skills and their application.

Students embarking upon this course should also be prepared to understand and discuss the processes of production, distribution, marketing and exchange as they relate to contemporary media institutions, as well as the nature of audience consumption and the relationships between audiences and institutions. In addition, candidates should be familiar with:

  • the issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice;
  • the importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production, distribution and marketing;
  • the technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exchange;
  • the significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences;
  • the importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences;
  • the issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions;
  • the ways in which the candidates’ own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour.

Students will also study the inner workings of TV Drama and practical theories that will allow them to understand how such media products are produced for specific audiences. They will focus on how media language such as mise-en-scene, sound, editing and cinematography (camera shots, angles, movement and composition) can provide representations of age, gender, regional identity, sexuality, ability / disability and ethnicity.

Assessment Methods:

The examination is two hours (including 30 minutes for viewing and making notes on the moving image extract) and candidates are required to answer two compulsory questions. The unit is marked out of a total of 100, with each question marked out of 50. There are two sections to this paper:

Section A: Textual Analysis and Representation (50 marks)

Section B: Institutions and Audiences (50 marks)

This examination makes up 50% of the AS Media Studies award. The remaining 50% comes from the coursework element of the course (all materials for which will be uploaded onto individual web-logs), entitled the Foundation Portfolio.

Usually working in small groups, the aims of this Foundation Portfolio are to allow the candidates to engage with contemporary media technologies, giving them the opportunity for development of skills in these technologies. The key technological area that will be studied in this unit is Video across two tasks;

a)      Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.

b)      Main task: the titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of two minutes.

A2 Media Studies

Assessment Methods:

The A2 course progresses from AS very smoothly as the Foundation Portfolio becomes the Advanced Portfolio. Here, students will produce the following coursework tasks and again individually blog their materials for assessment;

  • A promotion package for a new film, to include a trailer, together with two of the following three options:

–          a website homepage for the film;

–          a film magazine front cover, featuring the film;

–          a poster for the film.


The A2 examination has two sections;

Section A: Theoretical Evaluation of Production (50 marks)

Candidates answer two compulsory questions. The first requires them to describe and evaluate their skills development over the course of their production work, from Foundation Portfolio to Advanced Portfolio. The second asks them to identify one production and evaluate it in relation to one theoretical concept.

Section B: Contemporary Media Issues (50 marks)

One question to be answered from a choice of six topic areas. There will be two questions from each topic area. Two areas will be studied in the classroom during the build-up to the exam.

The topic areas require understanding of contemporary media texts, industries, audiences and debates. For the purposes of examination a contemporary media text is defined as being a media text that was published or released within five years of the examination date. Topic areas are;

–          Contemporary Media Regulation

–          Global Media

–          Media and Collective Identity

–          Media in the Online Age

–          Post-modern Media

–          ‘We Media’ and Democracy

More information on the A Level Media Studies course can be found at:


  • A Level Film Studies (overview of both the AS & A2 courses)

The A Level Film Studies course, building on what the students have studied at GCSE, deepens the students’ understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of film, the major art form of the twentieth century, and one developing new modes of expression and exhibition in the first decades of the twenty-first century. The scheme of learning builds on the cine-literacy learners have developed informally since childhood. They will study film deriving from a variety of production contexts and experienced in a variety of viewing situations. They will also engage with a wide range of different kinds of films, developing skills of observation, critical analysis and personal reflection, as well as developing their creativity and practical skills, either in audio-visual or written form. A variety of forms of assessment are used, with the intention of producing imaginative, active learners.

Assessment Methods:


Unit 1: FM1 20 % (40%) Internal Assessment

Exploring Film Form

• One analysis of how the micro aspects of a chosen extract from a film of candidate’s choice produce meanings and responses (1500 words) (30)

• One creative project based on a film sequence or short film (50: sequence or short film [40]/reflective analysis [10])


Unit 2: FM2 30% (60%) External Assessment (2½ hours Written Paper)

British and American Film

Three questions, one from each section:

Section A: Response to stimulus material set by Awarding Body based on producers and audiences of film (40)

Section B: Topics in British Film (40)

Section C: US Film – Comparative study of two films (40)


A LEVEL (the above plus a further 2 units)

Unit 3: FM3 25 % Internal Assessment (Film Research and Creative Projects)

• a small-scale research project (40)

• creative project (60 – 45 product/15 reflective analysis)


Unit 4: FM4 25 % External Assessment: (2 ¾ hour Written Paper)

Varieties of Film Experience: Issues and Debates

Three questions, one from each section:

Section A: World Cinema topics (35)

Section B: Spectatorship topics (35)

Section C: Single Film – Critical Study (30)


More information on the A Level Film Studies course can be found at:


Delivery of Media & Film Studies

We are fortunate to have Media Suites on both our Secondary and Sixth-Form sites here at Trinity, the latter of which has a dozen editing stations with facilities for private editing rooms when required. Digital and HD recording equipment is used and can be hired for location shooting via a special booking system run by the associated staff.

Staff involved in delivering Media and Film Studies at A Level include;

–          Mr. James Walton (Curriculum Team Leader for Media & Film Studies)

–          Mrs. Kathryn Donnelly

At GCSE Level, a selection of staff from the English department will be delivering elements of the Media Studies modules from September 2012, allowing Mr. James Walton to take up the teaching of GCSE Film Studies in both Years 10 and 11.