MEDIA STUDIES – AN INTRODUCTION
WHAT WE OFFER
Media Studies at Chatham Grammar School for Girls is offered at A/S and A2 Level. We follow the WJEC syllabus for both qualifications (which is 50% coursework – students make their own print media products including DVD boxes, CD covers, magazines and advertising campaigns).
We aim for approximately 70% of our students gaining A – B grades at both A/S and A2 levels (the national average for Media Studies is closer to 40%).
WHAT WE DO
Naturally, if you do Media Studies at Chatham Girls’ Grammar, you will look at a wide range of media products in the classroom, ranging from pop videos, through to adverts and from TV show to magazines.
However, the main focus with the sixth form last term was issues and events and it is my policy to try and ensure that what we study in the classroom enhances what you experience outside of it. Thus, I see no place for The Hobbit, The Avengers, Big Brother and Pop Idol in the classroom, but instead I like to get you to experience media products which you would not usually consume (sub-titled films; “water-cooler” TV shows like Broadchurch; classic black and white movies etc.). I believe you already know about the more popular products (you consume them, after all) and to bring these into the classroom would de-value the subject (which still has an unfair reputation of being “easy.”).
Media Studies therefore fits in with creative subjects like Art and Photography; essay based subjects like English, English Lit, History, Government and Politics and Sociology, although some of you might like to choose it as a “different” fourth choice.
We also continued to put on challenging events in the lovely Tate Monroe gallery, outside L11 where we had a Valentine’s themed photography exhibition and a range of lunchtime events including poetry readings; talks on glamour, film and literature and, best of all, a music recital by the Lynch sisters.
There is now a brilliant “life-sized” Marilyn Monroe standee in the gallery, which was kindly donated by 13A Media students when they left school recently.
All our Media Studies students (including Year 11s interested in finding out more about the subject) attended the 15th Medway Media Conference in November which focused on Horror. The annual event, organised by CGSG, is attended by up to 300 local Media Studies students and this year concluded with a screening of the chilling British horror film The Village of the Damned.
This year’s theme is Passions and the event takes place on 11th November. As ever, Year 11 will be invited to attend to give them a “taste” of what the subject can offer.
In the National Into Films festival, we went to the cinema to see the British drama The Double. We stayed on to watch The Drop or Interstellar.
All students went to London to see the Guy Bourdin and Tate Modern War photography exhibitions (alongside Art and Photography students).
To give you a flavour of what we do, here is an account of my work as Head of Media last term.
YEAR 12 A/S
Last term Year 12 students looked at the media’s representations of national identity; issues and events; ethnicity and age (which came up in the examination) and studied the documentaries:
- Advancing Style
- The Beckoning Silence
- Before Stonewall
- Les Invisibles
- Finding Vivien Maier
- Out of the Blue
- Waiting for Superman
- West of Memphis
- In the Land of the Free
- The Missing Picture
- In the Shadow of the Moon
They also completed their coursework which is currently worth 50% of the final grade. This consisted of writing a script for an imaginary film; making its DVD box and conducting research into opening sequences in films (including Goodfellas, Stranger Than Fiction, Magnolia, Casino etc.) and the scripts for American Beauty and Nic Roeg’s Don’t Look Now.
They will conclude the year by “dipping into” TV and watching Utopia: Series Two and True Detective.
YEAR 13 A2
Last term, Year 13 students investigated genre, narrative and audiences in relation to TV and music. This meant we all became fans of the “quality” TV shows:
- Peaky Blinders
- The Bridge
- Generation War
and listened to, amongst others:
- Red Hot Chilli Peppers
- Ed Sheeran
- The Jam
- Amy Winehouse
- The Streets
- Louis Armstrong
- The Clash
Students also completed their coursework worth 50% of the final grade, which consisted of making CD covers; advertising campaigns or magazine pages devoted to music.
Much of this will be on display during the end of year Art Exhibition, which runs from Thursday 16 July – don’t miss it..
Many of these texts are covered in the Media 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 choices and revision sheets describing many of the films, TV shows and documentaries we have studies.