Media has been taught in schools since the 1970s but has experienced a dramatic increase in demand in the 21st century. The subject is embraced at Shiplake College and our Media Department offers an enjoyable and rewarding A Level course to anyone with an interest in how the media operates. Course content and delivery is based on ongoing consultation with leading experts, providing pupils with an accurate, inspiring insight into the rapidly evolving industry. With so many jobs available in this growing area, many pupils view studying Media as the first stepping stone on their desired career path.
The Media Department is situated in the listed Stableyard area of the College campus, with its own dedicated classroom. The College owns an abundance of state-of-the art kit including cameras, camcorders, lighting and sound equipment. Pupils also have access to advanced editing software in order to complete their film-making coursework tasks.
Pupils bring their own laptops to lessons in order to manage their workload and access digital learning resources.
Media is only taught in the Sixth Form, but no prior experience of the subject is required to embark on the A Level course. The combination of theoretical, analytical and practical work allows pupils a certain degree of flexibility to choose topics of interest to them and discover areas of expertise. Those who enjoy working as part of a team relish the opportunity to collaborate with others in creative coursework tasks. It would be beneficial for an prospective candidate to have gained at least a C grade at either English or English Literature at GCSE.
In Year 12, groups produce the titles and opening of a new fiction film. The portfolio task in Year 13 requires pupils to create a promotional package for a music album which includes a video, digital pack and magazine advert. In addition to coursework tasks, pupils are examined in each year on Key Media Concepts and Critical Perspectives respectively.
Media experience is valuable in the workplace, in areas including marketing, public relations and web design.
Universities offer a wide range of related courses. Some cover specific topic areas such as film studies, whilst others cover a broader spectrum, such as cultural studies, as well as practical courses where students can learn specific media skills such as editing or lighting. Employers in many other domains value people with media experience.
Leading micro-budget film producers visit Shiplake to discuss opportunities available in this area. Pupils often take inspiration by attempting a project of their own. In the past this has coincided with the Drama Department’s whole-College productions. In January 2014 Media pupils helped to film an entertaining car chase scene from Bugsy Malone.
There are, of course, opportunities to watch films for enjoyment purposes rather than purely for critical analysis. Teachers often run film afternoons or evenings in the winter months to offer a well-earned break from physical exertion.