John Hibbert, Subject Advisor for Media and Film Studies
In this blog, I talk about the new set products for AS and A Level Media Studies, which have been developed using feedback from teachers.
We’re updating some of the set products for AS and A Level Media Studies (H009 and H409), for first teach in September 2023 and first assessment in 2025 (2024 for AS Level). You can see the complete list on our subject update webpage.
We’ve used feedback throughout the process of updating our set products. This has included getting teachers’ views on the current set products, which products they would like to see updated, and then asking them to review the shortlisted products. I’m particularly pleased that the changes to set products for advertising and marketing and music videos were a direct result of feedback from teachers.
We’ve sought to add new set products which are contemporary, diverse and engaging but we’ve also been conscious to try to keep the amount of change to a minimum.
An example of this is the changes to the set films. We've updated the set products but have kept the focus on Disney to reduce the amount of change for teachers. The new set products will allow students to explore how Disney has developed from the production of their first feature film in 1937 to a global media conglomerate.
The study of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings gives students the opportunity to consider key developments in the film industry, the concentration of media ownership, the dominance of franchises in contemporary cinema, and the increasing importance of diversity as a social and cultural context.
As Rahma Mohammed, a teacher from London, in our focus group commented: “The cultural significance of understanding how Disney started has massive significance. You can make that journey from Snow White to the Marvel films and say how did we get here, literally have the whole conversation about media ownership and all of that, so it brings in the conversation about representation but also to have that journey of Walt Disney and how it became Walt Disney of being everywhere.”
Our new set products are more diverse in terms of both media representations and production personnel. The updated products will add greater representation to the specifications, including representations of sexuality, disability, and race and ethnicity.
Commenting on the River Island advert, Claire Pollard, the programme leader for the Media Studies PGCE, said: “Even though it is just one text, one image, it will encourage teachers to show lots of other examples of images of disability used in advertising and open up important conversations in the classroom about representation.”
And speaking about Lupin, Rahma Mohammed went on to say: “I really like having other representations of the black diaspora because a lot of the time we talk about black people in America, black people in the UK and we forget about black people all across Europe.”
We’ve also tried to include set products that are more diverse in terms of production personnel. This includes the Black and LGBTQ+ key creative personnel on our new music videos, and the Asian-American director and writer of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
There are also more media products produced by women, including the female showrunners and writers responsible for Killing Eve and Atypical.
We’re producing a range of resources to support teachers with these changes, including factsheets and a new delivery guide. The factsheet on the new set films for A Level Media Studies is available now and further resources will be available early in the summer term. You can view this and all other resources on our dedicated landing page.
If you have any questions about this topic, please comment below or get in touch via email email@example.com or Twitter @OCR_Media_Film. You can also sign up to our mailing list for information about resources and support.
John Hibbert has worked at OCR since April 2018 and is Subject Advisor for Media and Film Studies. Prior to joining OCR John taught a range of Media and Film Studies qualifications in secondary schools, and was a head of department for the last eight years. Predictably, in his spare time he is a keen filmgoer, and in addition enjoys reading and miserable indie music.