Latest on Ofqual consultations

David Buckingham (Media) and Ian Wall (Film) have both been attending the ‘stakeholder consultations’ with ofqual, the DFE and the exam boards. You will be pleased to know that several teachers have also been part of the groups, so that there is a strong voice for media educators. At the moment, progress sounds good, as David and Ian report:

The definitions of aims and subject content in Media Studies are being clarified and strengthened in several ways, but they should continue to reflect accepted definitions of the field in terms of four key concepts (media language, representation, institution, audience), and as involving critical analysis plus creative production. There is likely to be a somewhat stronger emphasis on historical as well as contemporary aspects of media (at both GCSE and A-level); and on global media (at A-level). The key issue as the process goes forward is likely to be the role of coursework. All the stakeholders (teachers, academics, industry representatives) were insistent on the importance of practical production and extended research-based essay writing: both were seen to be essential preparation for further study and for employment, and in many respects to be more demanding than timed tests.

Many of the areas covered in discussion regarding Film Studies mirrored those within Media Studies. As with Media Studies, the aims and subject content of Film Studies were clarified and strengthened, there was a clear agreement between all stakeholders of the importance of practical production and extended research based essays (the latter particularly emphasized by the academic members of the group). One key point at GCSE was the demand for more focus on world cinema.

Differentiation between Media Studies and Film Studies will also be an issue. Media Studies criteria will continue to specify at least three media, although film will often be one of these. The subject content may also be defined in rather different ways, with more of an’aesthetic’ emphasis in Film Studies and a more ‘sociological’ one in Media Studies. As the process moves forward, there is a need to avoid drawing up endless ‘shopping lists’ of favourite topics, and to ensure that the criteria remain reasonably future-proof.

The issue of AS and A Level being separate examinations with potentially different content raised issues regarding how courses might be organised to offer students flexibility of choice at the end of AS.



Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all MEA members.

We start the new year still awaiting news of the reforms to A level and GCSE Media and Film Studies. There is no reason to doubt that the subjects will be allowed to continue, but we are still waiting to find out the rules for the creation of new specifications to start in 2017.

Research into audiences for The Hobbit

We have heard from Martin Barker, who would like our help with a survey
which is gathering responses around the world on the films of The Hobbit. The survey can be found at: This is in many senses a re-run but more ambitious update on what they did with The Lord of the Rings a decade ago. Then, they had research teams in 18 countries, recruited in 14 languages, and managed to attract 25,000 responses. This time, they have research teams in 47 countries, are taking responses in 33 languages – and already have over 18,000 responses. The survey is also more ambitious in that they are trying to tackle through this some of the larger questions about the changing status of ‘fantasy’ generally (think Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, etc, etc).

Among the people we want to recruit are both teachers (people who might use The Hobbit either as book or film in the classroom) and young people, so we told Martin we’d try to get some responses from MEA members and their students!

Resource Productions Course News

Evening Film and Creative Writing Course
Ever wanted to write a script or shoot a film?
Then Resource Productions evening course for adults is for you!

Their experienced Script Editor and Film Producer will support you to develop your story ideas, draft a script, create a storyboard and film a scene.

Dates of course:
Monday 12th January – Monday 9th February 2015 (5 week Course) 6:30pm – 8pm

Windsor Firestation

To reserve you place now click here
For more information visit:

Arts Awards Adviser Forums

Arts Award is a unique national qualification that helps young people up to the age of 25 develop as artists and arts leaders. The programme helps to develop their creativity, leadership and communication skills.

Resource Productions will be running Buckinghamshire & Berkshire Arts Award Forum for advisers and those delivering the Arts Award based within both areas.

Berkshire Arts Award Forums

Slough – Monday 2nd February, 3:30-5pm

Want more information about Arts Award Adviser Forums?
Contact Oliver via 01753 553 374 or



Sky Academy Careers Lab

The National Schools Partnership, an education agency that produces free resources and runs events for schools and young people,  which works with well-known brands and companies to bring teachers fun and educational lesson plans, teacher notes, competitions and opportunities to take learning outside of the classroom is pleased to announce a brand new free full day learning experience for 16 -19 year olds: Sky Academy Careers Lab. Based at Sky’s headquarters in Osterley, West London, this innovative initiative brings careers in the media and creative industries to life, helps students build employability skills and provides a unique insight into the world of work at Sky.

Launched at the beginning of December by  Prince Charles, Sky Academy Careers Lab has already seen an amazing amount of initial interest and activity. Dates for January and February 2015 are already fully booked, however there is still some availability in March, with further dates due to be released in the New Year.

For more information on what students and teachers can expect on the day click here.



Conference 2014

Thanks to everyone for coming and thanks particularly to all our speakers and workshop leaders.


Friday evening saw those attending polish off all the wine that was fit to drink and then we watched Jamie Stone’s NFTS grad film ‘Skyborn’ which we screened as an advert for the forthcoming BFI/NFTS free online course on the FutureLearn platform Explore Filmmaking where it will appear as part of the first week’s material. This was followed by the very moving documentary Sodiq, and a Q&A with director Adeyemi Michael .

Saturday began with a provocative keynote from Julian Sefton-Green in which he revisited some of the students who were central to his and David Buckingham’s book Cultural Studies Goes to School. This work is published in the edited volume Learning and Literacy over time. Julian raised some interesting questions about whether studying media (or indeed school itself) made any positive difference to the lives of these Tottenham kids from the early 1990s.

The rest of the morning and the first half of the afternoon comprised choices of sessions and all options were well received.  Links to the material from sessions are here:

Julian McDougall’s slides

Tom Barrance’s material:

Film language ( This film covers as much film language as Tom could squeeze into 60 seconds. He gave participants on his workshop some of the rushes and they edited their own version.

Editsense ( DVD-ROM of editing practice footage


Mark Parsons’ presentation: MEA

At the end of the day, we considered the context for the changes to the curriculum for GCSE and A level and attendees were updated on what we know as of now from Ofqual and DFE. It was excellent to have representatives of WJEC, AQA and OCR present to ‘chip in’ with thoughts. Finally, we worked through the agenda of the AGM (see previous post). This included the announcement of the new PGCE in Media Studies with English from Goldsmiths in combination with the English and Media Centre, for which places are now being advertised. Anyone interested in offering placements is urged to contact us at the info address. Pete Fraser’s EMC blog about the PGCE is here.

See you next year!