The school has a long tradition of offering courses in Film and Media Studies stretching back to the mid-70s. Media Studies is a well-established and popular component of the option schemes at both A/AS level and GCSE. The department currently consists of one full-time Head of Department (who is also Head of Arts), one part-time Media Studies teacher and a full-time Media technician, all specialists in their field, who are responsible for the delivery of courses to approximately 80 students at Key Stage 4 and up to 40 students at Key Stage 5. Although the department is run as a ‘stand-alone’ unit, we are also one of the three ‘Arts’ departments; along with Drama and Art we deliver a wider Arts programme at Latymer.
The department and its staff hold an excellent reputation nationally for innovative teaching and for developing contemporary schemes of work for their own teaching and for use by other Media Studies teachers. We use the AQA syllabus at GCSE and OCR at AS/A2, and are recognised for our contributions to OCR Annual Conferences and to the annual exemplar materials used at national INSET events. Our students regularly submit their production work into national competitions and we have won several prestigious awards for both film and music video over time. Our work with music video has globally recognised, with many of our productions featuring on MTV.
Our pedagogy is underpinned by a commitment to active, investigative and work-related learning and to providing a rigorous, challenging and enriching educational experience for all students, where individual needs are catered for and the opportunity to develop and achieve potential is provided, regardless of ability. Video, print and web production work is integral to our courses, and the commitment to providing a wide variety of practical learning opportunities is essential in maintaining high academic standards at all ages and levels. For all video, audio and photography production work, we use the Adobe CS5 Creative Suite on PC-based workstations, but have additional Apple Mac computers for further specialist work, also running Adobe software. We have Canon and Sony HD video and photography cameras. The media area houses 10 stand-alone editing workstations, 4 Macs, 10 ipads, 15 networked PCs, 2 interactive whiteboards, scanners, colour printing facilities and wireless broadband internet. Students are able to book out camera, sound, lighting and special effects equipment to shoot their films and music videos off-site, and can also work with green screen and other backdrops and specialist lighting technology in the studio.
We usually teach 2 classes in each year group from Year 10 through to Year 13. GCSE classes are no more than 20 students, and A level classes are no more than 16. We have high academic expectations of all our students, with most of our A2 and GCSE students achieving A/A, (for example all students across all exam groups achieved at least an A in 2016, with 78% A at GCSE and 30% A* at A2) and we expect this level of achievement to continue in the future. We are committed to developing and maintaining industry links, and regularly invite media professionals in to work with our students. We have an effective programme of UCAS advice and enrichment, and many of our students go on to study on the most competitive and respected Film and Media-related degree courses in the UK. Other students apply to the most recognised and respected higher education institutions across the country, including Oxbridge and all the Russell Group universities, to study on a range of different degree programmes, from medicine and the sciences, to languages and the humanities and of course, the Arts.
Year 7 - 9
At Key Stage 3, Media Studies is not formally offered as part of the curriculum, but instead we offer taster days, film making workshops and cross-curricular projects.
Year 10 - 11
AQA GCSE Media Studies 4810 (single award) The main areas you will study on this course will be advertising, magazines, film and television, and all these areas are impacted upon by cross media areas such as music, gaming and the web. Media Studies itself has links to many other GCSE subjects, yet it has its own unique character and its own way of doing things.
60% of the course is project based - 2 individual projects on advertising and one on film promotion and one group project, where you come up with a new TV show and shoot and edit a TV trailer to advertise the show. 40% of the course is focused on the exam, which is based on a pre-release case study, centred around a contemporary study topic such as Television Crime Drama, The Music Industry, Action-Adventure Films, and Television News for example. The exam includes both creative and written challenges and you are given several weeks before the exam to prepare your responses.
You will learn how to understand the media and how it works, and you will learn how to analyse the media and the way it is made. We will teach you how and why the media is produced the way it is, then you can try out the techniques for yourselves and produce your own media – and most people say that’s the best bit.
We provide you with everything you will need, and teach you how to use it from scratch, so being very technical before you start the course is not necessary at all. You will get training from your teachers and the media department’s technician who is always around to help. In Media everybody gets to have a go at everything – script writing, directing, camera, sound, lighting, editing, even modelling and acting if you want to, although many people prefer to stay behind the camera. The media teachers enjoy running practical workshops in lessons, where you get the chance to try out lots of different techniques before making your own productions. We love doing ‘re-makes’ in Media – for example, remaking a scene from a famous film enables you to practice a range of film making techniques and have fun at the same time.
If you are thinking about the way GCSE Media will combine with your other GCSE subjects, think about it as something a bit different - a very modern, relevant course with skills and learning that will benefit you in the future regardless of what direction you may want to take. And ultimately it’s a great introduction to studying the media if that’s something that particularly interests you.
Year 12 - 13
OCR AS and A Level Media Studies (AS H009; A level H409)
We like to think that Latymer students like a challenge and there are plenty of these built into the Media Studies A level course. They are mainly challenges to do with problem solving, coming up with ideas, using your imagination, learning to work with new people, with new technology and so on. But as with any A level there is an expectation of advanced knowledge and understanding of theory, and an ability to write about that academically. A willingness to learn and enthusiasm is more important than actual experience. As long as Latymer offer you a place in the Sixth Form that is good enough for us! Media GCSE is really helpful to have, but not essential. We love creating media at Latymer, specifically moving image, web and print products. We will teach you the proper techniques needed to shoot and edit using HD video technology. There are plenty of opportunities for practical work, and ‘non-exam assessment’ (or NEA, formally known as coursework) is predominantly practical, although underpinned by academic principles. We build trips, workshops and visits from professionals into the course to support and enrich the kind of learning you will be doing.
AS Media Studies is a one year linear qualification made up of an exam component worth 70% and a ‘non-exam assessment’ (NEA) component (formally known as coursework), worth 30%. The NEA component, entitled ‘Creating Media’ is completed individually and worth 30 marks. For this component, you will study television advertising and make a television advert that targets an audience of your choice. Alongside this, you will produce an online ‘evidence trail’ of the research and planning you completed in order to develop your idea. You will also sit an exam which is worth 70% of the total marks. The exam component ‘Media Today’ is two hours long, features three sections and is worth 70 marks. Section A ‘Unseen Analysis’ (30 marks) requires learners to respond to unseen materials, which include an audio-visual extract and a print based or online source. Learners will be required to interpret how media language and representation are utilised in the extracts. Section B ‘Newspapers and Online Media’ (20 marks) requires learners to consider the impact of online media on the news, and assessment is through a choice of extended response questions in this section. In Section C ‘Television Drama and Online Media’ (20 marks), the focus is on television drama and the development of long-form storytelling, including online. Again, there is a choice of extended response questions in this section.
The A level course is a 2 year linear qualification, featuring two exam components worth 70% and one NEA component worth 30%. For the NEA component ‘Making Media’, learners will work to a brief to produce a promotional campaign for a new media product for an intended audience, consisting of three connected elements: a moving image element, a website element and a print element. Alongside this, you will produce an online ‘evidence trail’ of the research and planning you completed in order to develop your ideas. There are two written exam papers. The Component 1 exam ‘Media Products’ is worth 30% of the total A Level (60 marks) and consists of two sections, to be completed in one hour and 45 minutes. In Section A ‘Unseen Analysis’ (35 marks) learners will interpret unseen materials that are focused on a representation of a particular group in society. The unseen materials will consist of three sources; a moving image extract from a mainstream British television news broadcast, a front page of a national British newspaper and an online source. There is one question in this section and it is an extended response question.
In Section B ‘Theoretical Evaluation of Production’ (25 marks), learners will be asked to comment on their own cross-media production (completed for the NEA component) by applying academic ideas and arguments to their own work. The Component 2 exam ‘Media in a digital age’ is worth 40% of the total A Level (80 marks) and consists of three sections, to be completed in two hours. In Section A ‘Changing Platforms’ (20 marks) learners will comment on the way in which the media forms of film, radio and magazines have changed from pre-1970 to the present day. In Section B ‘Evolving Media in the Digital Age’ learners will comment on the media forms of music video and video games and how these forms are changing as digital technology evolves and presents new opportunities and challenges for audiences and regulators. In Section C ‘Long Form Dramas in the Digital Age’ (30 marks) learners will comment on the media genre of Television Drama and how new narrative structures are potentially creating new experiences for audiences. Learners will also comment on how media industries are using this new form of television drama to reach audiences. In Section B and C there is a choice of extended response questions.
It’s not just young people who want to go into the media that will benefit from studying the media and how it works. In this technological, global age, media-related and ‘soft’ skills are a basic requirement in most professions – not just in the Media. This includes people skills, communication skills, creative thinking (finding creative solutions), problem solving (and being pro-active when facing challenges), being able to work in a team and having confidence in your abilities with ICT. So the skills you will learn in Media Studies will help to equip you to work in any industry or profession, not just the Media industry. This makes it a suitable subject for anyone to study. From surgeons to film producers, from city traders to lawyers, vets to IT consultants, accountants to architects – those who work their way up the career ladder, increase their money-earning potential and achieve professional success, tend to offer these skills and qualities, on top of the specific professional skills needed to do their job. The Media Industry itself is one of the biggest employers in London, offering excellent job opportunities for young people with the right kinds of skills and education, across the fields of TV and Radio Broadcasting, advertising and PR, journalism, the film and gaming industries, and in online and digital media. These industries will always need the creative people – producers, writers, designers, editors, web designers. But there are also many other careers within the media - managers, accountants, lawyers, engineers, IT experts – that you may not have thought of before.
Our Hollywood Trip runs every two years; it is optional and just for fun, although it is amazing the amount you will learn about film making, the television and music industries and how a major studio operates. It’s quite an expensive trip so start saving as soon as possible if you want to go! Sixth formers can also join our video crew, who take responsibility for filming and editing whole school events, trips and performances.
Activities and Recent Highlights
- 6th form Hollywood Trip every 2 years during February half term
- Annual LAFTAs Ceremony, September (Latymer Awards in Film, Television and Advertising)
- Digital Photography Club Year 10 and above (Spring/ Summer)
- Annual Year 7 Arts Day Film Making workshop, July
- 6th Form Video Crew, all year
- The annual Year 8 Harry Potter Studio Tour and Exhibition
- Short-listed for National Awards in Film and Music Video Categories in 2015
- 4 times winner of a national/BFI Music Video Award/ BFI 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018
- Winner of national Film Award/ BFI 2013
- 2 times winner of BBC/BAFTA Awards for Music Video 2008, 2009
- Winners of 2 Cineclub Silver Star Awards for Film Making 2008, 2009
- Winner of Best results for boys taking Media/Film/Communications Studies at GCSE in any school nationally 2007