News Archive May 2014

Good News 1 – Jonathon Dutton, Weatherhead High School

Today we are launching Good News, a series of testimonials from former GCSE and ‘A’ Level Media and Film studies students, telling us about some of the fantastic things they have achieved in the creative industries and beyond. These students explain how the skills and knowledge they acquired from their Media and Film Studies qualifications transferred into the work they have done since, and explain why it is vital that these programmes are retained and supported as respected GCSE and ‘A’ Level qualifications.

Our first case study is Jonathan Dutton, who studied ‘A’ Level Media Studies at Weatherhead High School on Merseyside. 

Jonathan has recently completed a stint as Unit Assistant and 3rd Assistant Director on Emmerdale (ITV), in addition to working as a researcher on Emmerdale at 40, The Talent Show Story and The Nation’s Favourite Dance Moment.  

Jonathan Dutton on location for The Talent Show Story (far right)

Jonathan Dutton on location for The Talent Show Story (far right)

So what inspired Jonathan to work in the TV industry? “I can say right now that it was doing Media Studies GCSE and ‘A’ level that inspired me. If I hadn’t had the opportunity  to study Media, I’d probably be doing something boring and hating going to work everyday, but I love my work.”

Since getting a B at ‘A’ Level, Jonathan went to Leeds University and graduated with a 2:1 in Television Production. His CV has made impressive reading ever since: “I’ve been working on Hollyoaks, X Factor, Video Game shoots for the Sony PSP, its been really great doing different things.”

Jonathan is a fantastic example of how Media Studies GCSE and ‘A’ Level qualifications can translate into a successful career in Television Production.



Update on Visit to DFE

The following have agreed to form the group to visit the DFE on 5 June:

  • Dr. Jon Wardle, Director of Curriculum and Registrar, National Film and Television School
  • Dr. Paul Gerhardt, Director of Education, British Film Institute
  • Paul Reeve, Chief Executive, Into Film
  • Rob Carlton, Subject Specialist for Media and Film Studies, OCR
  • Jeremy Points, Leader, Creative Arts and Subject Officer for Film Studies, WJEC
  • Jessica Lober Newsome, Qualifications Manager, A-level English, Media & Drama, AQA
  • Nikki Blackborow, Head of Media Studies, Latymer School, Edmonton
  • Professor Kate Oakley, Institute of Communications, University of Leeds
  • Professor Natalie Fenton, Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Phillip Wheatley, Headteacher, Raynes Park High School, Merton
  • Keren Abse, Director, City and Islington Sixth Form College
  • Pete Fraser, Chair, Media Education Association

This means that awarding bodies, headteachers, higher education and film industry bodies are all represented as important ‘stakeholders’. We have a range of perspectives to use in support of our argument, which will build upon the document previously issued on the site:



DFE Agrees to meet with MEA

We are pleased to report a positive response from the DFE to our request for a meeting to discuss the future of A level and GCSE in our subject areas. We are arranging for a delegation to go to present the case in early June, which we hope will include representatives from HE, the BFI, the NFTS and awarding bodies, as well as supportive headteachers. This is a big step forward. Thanks also to a number of colleagues for e-mails over the past few days responding to our last newsletter and offering helpful suggestions, such as the need to include Communications and Culture ‘A’ level in our case. The letter from the DFE is reproduced below:


Dear Peter,

Thank you for your email. I’d be happy to meet to discuss the reform of Media and Film Studies at GCSE and A level. I recently took on responsibility for cultural education – including the Department’s relationship with the BFI and others involved in film education – so have a keen interest in this both from the qualifications reform perspective and from a broader curriculum perspective.

I should probably explain that Ofqual is due to consult shortly on the process for reforming the remaining GCSEs and A levels for first teaching from September 2017. We are expecting Ofqual to propose some principles that all GCSEs and A levels would need to meet, and a process whereby awarding organisations can set out the content requirements for each subject. DfE will not determine the content for these subjects, indeed, we are not doing so for the subjects that will be introduced for 2016 first teaching, beyond the EBacc subjects. You will, I am sure, want to respond to Ofqual’s consultation in due course.

Best wishes


Anna Paige

Deputy Director, Qualifications and Curriculum Division