FILM – A LEVEL
WHAT WE OFFER
Because the new A Level specifications for Media Studies removed the film industry from the syllabus we have decided at Chatham Grammar School for Girls to offer the new EDUQAS Film Studies A Level from 2017. Brompton Academy will be offering the Media Studies course.
Film A Level is assessed by examinations at the end of Year 13 and 30% coursework (write and/or produce a short 5 minute film).
We aim for approximately 70% of our students gaining A – B grades at A level (the national average for Media Studies is closer to 40%).
WHAT WE DO
Naturally, if you do Film Studies at Chatham Girls’ Grammar, you will look at a wide range of films (and other media products) in the classroom, ranging from classic Hollywood to British cinema; silent film and European film. Documentaries are also part of the syllabus.
Alongside other appropriate trips to the cinema or to see national exhibitions, every year our Film Dept (in conjunction with MEBP) organises the successful Medway Film and Media Conference which takes place at the Central Theatre in Chatham in November (something we have been doing for over 17 years).
The most recent event which was attended by over 400 students from local schools and colleges, focused on gender. Students are encouraged to present at the conference and also contribute articles to the very impressive programme which is available on the day.
Next term’s event will focus on genre.
We are lucky at Chatham Grammar School for Girls to have our own (very small) film and media gallery - the lovely and unique Tate Monroe gallery where we host exhibitions of film and media products (the only school in the country to display Walt Disney’s autograph at one point) and occasionally host lunchtime events including poetry readings, art exhibitions, talks and, best of all, music recitals.
There is also a brilliant “life-sized” Marilyn Monroe standee in the gallery, which was kindly donated by former Year 13 Media students.
Film Studies fits in with creative subjects at A Level like Media, Art and Photography; essay based subjects like English Lit, History, Government and Politics and Sociology, although some of you might like to choose it as a “different” fourth choice.
To give you a flavour of what we do, here is an account of the work done last term by our Media students (who will be finishing off the old Media Studies syllabus in Year 13 whilst we launch Film Studies in Year 12).
Last term Year 12 and 13 Media students looked at, amongst other things, the media’s representations of gender, national identity; issues and events; ethnicity and age.
They looked at the bands Oasis and The Beatles in some detail; watched British TV (This is England 90, Happy Valley, Line of Duty plus Scandi –noir including The Bridge. Currently they have been studying the American shows Fargo, Bates Motel and True Detective. Documentaries (a surprisingly popular genre with our students) have also been studied in depth including The Punk Singer, The Salt of the Earth, Religulous and Love is All. They have also watched European films including Mustang, Les Combatants and Disorder and the great British film Sing Street which we screened at the conference.
Many of these texts are covered in the Media and Film area of the school’s Learning Resources Intranet. Here, alongside student essays and full details of the curriculum, you will find students’ presentations on pop stars of their choice and revision sheets describing many of the films, TV shows and documentaries we have studied.
Currently, our Media Students (who have been working on the old specifications – which change from 2017) have also completed their coursework which is worth 50% of the final grade. This consisted of designing a storyboard for the opening of an imaginary film; making its DVD box and conducting research into opening sequences in films and TV and researching into musical genres before making CD covers or publicity for imaginary bands.
It would be fair to say that Media Studies was always a popular and enjoyable course at Chatham Grammar School for Girls. It is a challenging subject and inspires its students. By offering Film Studies instead, we are certain that this will remain a popular course. Students planning to join us in September unanimously voted to follow the Film Studies course when asked at their induction in July 2017.
Many of our students will go on to study film, photography, media, advertising and so on at University and several former students are now working for media and film companies and building on the love of the subject which was nurtured during their time with us.
Film Studies is no soft option at Chatham Grammar School for Girls. Instead it is a course which will give their students a chance to find out about the extent to which the cinema can shape our lives; begin to develop their own opinions about a range of complex subjects and, most importantly, take seriously in the classroom some of the best films ever made.