The Media department is a dynamic, technically ambitious department, which is underpinned by a sophisticated academic programme, comparable to undergraduate studies at Year 13. The department is run by Charlotte Bennett, Head of Media Studies, who is supported by Media Teacher Rebecca Doig, and Media Technician Sam Wilcockson. The department comprises two classroom areas, including a recent addition in the form of a new, brightly coloured teaching area fitted with PCs and a state-of-the-art interactive screen. We also support technical production with two purpose-built Edit Suites. Students have access to Mac computers for print and film editing and all filming is completed on brand new Panasonic HD cameras. Students leave the department proficient in a range of advanced software, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Indesign and Final Cut Pro X editing software. They consistently produce high quality production work, often liaising with specialized bodies, and professionals, such as internet psychologist Graham Jones, to produce professional works used in the wider community.

Recent successes have included the nationally distributed The Art of Artistry and Wired, two Year 13 productions which were picked up for promotion by the online television channel, leics.tv, and have featured in the local press. Our students have also worked with professional singer-songwriters and world-famous media theorists in the production of their music videos and short films respectively. We strive to achieve excellence and this is borne out by our academic success.

Productions can be found on our Youtube channel. 

The subject has a history of excellent academic achievement; it is currently the best performing subject in the College at A level, in terms of value added, and students achieved 100% A-B at A level in 2015. We have experienced similar success in adding value to students’ academic performance at GCSE, where 60% of students achieved A/A* in 2015, and this has created opportunities for students in terms of moving onto higher education. A large number of students who pursue the subject at A level go on to read the subject at university, with Media Production degrees being extremely popular.

 

Academic Programme

Media Studies is offered at GCSE, AS and A level.

At GCSE, the subject is 60% controlled assessment. This comprises three coursework pieces, which cover an academic understanding and production practices related to: tabloid newspapers, film promotion, and advertising or music video, dependent on student preference.

     

The remaining 40% is completed in the June of Year 11, where students sit an examination on a given topic. The topic for 2017 is Television Game Shows.

At AS level, students complete an extended Foundation Portfolio which asks them to research, produce and evaluate a media product, chosen from a list of briefs. This accounts for 50% of the course. The remaining 50% is an examined unit which asks students to answer two set questions on representation in television drama and the institutional practices of the British film industry, respectively.

At A2 level, students repeat practices learnt in Year 12, in an Advanced Portfolio. However, this extends students by asking them to research, produce and evaluate three linked products. This again, accounts for 50% of the course. Students then complete the A2 level by sitting an examined unit. This asks them to apply media theory to their coursework productions in the first instance, and then examines the development of the online age, with a specific focus on online news and social networking. Elements of the A2 academic programme echo modules taught at university level so expertly prepare students for their undergraduate year.

All Media Studies classes are mixed ability.

Extra-Curricular Activities

We pride ourselves on a thriving extra-curricular programme.

Film Club initiates eager film buffs into the Media department. Students can join from Year 7, and have the opportunity to view a student-nominated film in a prep screening, and then debate its merits at a lunchtime meeting. Previous successes include Clint Eastwood’s Gran Turino and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, whilst, unfortunately, The Maze Runner fell foul of our discerning viewers!

We also run two photography societies. Young Photographers is aimed at students in years 7-9 and introduces them to the tips and tricks needed to capture striking images. Links with the Art Department have led to a professional photography studio, complete with green screen and photography backdrops. Young photographers have embraced this facility, producing both still life images and light painting. The Sixth Form School Photographers group, on the other hand, is more designed as a marketing service, where students sign up to photograph key school events, such as church services, sports fixtures and Sixth Form socials. Both groups are very popular and develop both student confidence and technical expertise.

In addition, to the activities above, Mrs Bennett runs an extremely sought after board game club, known as Game kNight, which offers six limited places to the keenest board game aficionados. The group meet weekly and twice now have taken part in board game charity marathons, raising over £1200 for such worthy causes as the Autistic Society and Special Effect, a charity which provides video game entertainment for severely paralysed individuals. This year, the board game marathon is in aid of The Samaritans. The club is a legacy of Ratcliffe alumni Daniel Chin, who has also played a key role in the club’s charity work.

Staff

Miss Charlotte Bennett, Head of Department, cbennett@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Miss Rebecca Doig, Media Teacher, rdoig@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk
Mr Sam Wilcockson, Media Technician and Website Support, swilcockson@ratcliffe.leics.sch.uk