Thursday, August 21, 2008

GCSE Media Results 2008

Today's results have one significant headline. Media Studies is one of the few subjects showing a significant increase in entries in a year when the overall entries are down to the lowest figure since 2003.

There are some 6,000 less 16 year-olds according to the Joint Council for Qualifications. Add to this some students taking exams early and others shifting to vocational qualifications and this is given as the cause of decreases in some national curriculum subjects. Media Studies rose by 5.1% to 69,823 (1.1% of all entries). This quite an achievement for a non–NC subject. It represents a faster increase than seen in the A Level figures. Interestingly, ICT saw a significant decrease of 6.2%.

My main concern with the overall figures is the steep decline in French, German and Spanish which will have repercussions at A Level and therefore for media work in foreign language cinema post-16.

The results show A* grades for Media running at 3.7% (5.1% for girls only) and with 16.3% for Grade A, this means a rather higher percentage getting the top grades than for Media and Film at A Level.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Level Results August 2008

The headline news is that candidate numbers for 'Media/Film/TV Studies' (shouldn't we be agitating to get rid of this grab-all category?) are up again, but that the rate of increase is falling.

Results were announced across the UK for:

45,766 AS students in 'Media, Film and TV Studies'
32,749 A2 students in 'Media, Film and TV Studies'

5,616 AS/A2 Comms students
1,577 Applied Media AS/A2 students

Total candidate numbers for AS and A2 in Media, Film and Comms Studies: 85,708.

That's roughly 4% of all A Level entries, possibly a slight fall as a % this year, even though Media AS entries increased by 3% and A Level by 2.7%.

'A' Grades for Media fell as a %, even though they rose in many other subjects (and the rise of 'A' Grades to 25% of all awards has been the major angle of news stories so far). Are the exam boards reacting to the pressure from those who claim the subject is 'soft'?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Don't panic - what are we really worrying about?

This weekend many of us will be meeting in London for the MEA annual conference, titled Don't Panic. So what's to panic about? Plenty, it would seem. If you're a primary teacher, it might be about the multitude of media pressures impacting on your pupils:issues of online safety, access to inappropriate texts, covert marketing in schools, social networking, commercial interests making kids grow older younger - let alone the difficulties of tackling these issues in a still over-tested curriculum. If you're working with secondary-age pupils, it may be more of the same, plus the huge impact of continuing curriculum change, from the revised KS3 Framework to new specs at GCSE and A level, the introduction of the Diploma, functional skills, and so on. Not to mention the broader media education concerns we're confronting both withing formal education and in the public sphere: the unprecedented pace of technological change, the new world of Web 2.0 and the raft of cultural, creative and critical skills we need as teachers, together with questions of access, entitlement, and pedagogy - what do we really need to teach, and how do we do it? And finally, there are the so-called 'moral' panics - not new to media education, but particularly acute now in the light of the media's representations of the Byron Report, inner-city youth violence, debates about videogames, commercialisation, and children's health . . . A big agenda.

MEA invites you to tell us what you are really panicking about - if indeed you are. During the Don't Panic conference, we will be looking to identify the issues which are really concerning teachers of media, and ways of addressing them, as the start of an ongoing dialogue. We'd like to know, in 50 words or less, what your own media education priorities are, and what for you are the things we should really be panicking about. Post your response below. We're looking forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Diploma uptake only 20,000

The Press Association today announced that only around half the target cohort for The Diploma have actually signed up so far for September 2008. It looks like the government have been made to look out of touch again as what is essentially a 'pilot' year has recruited a more sensible number of guinea pigs. Well done to schools, colleges and students. The PA release is here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Don't Panic Conference, London, June 13-14, 2008

MEA's London Conference, June 13-14, download both the poster and the programme/booking form by clicking on the images and saving/printing direct from your browser.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Is the Diploma too complex in structure?

Probably the best piece of journalism I've seen on the development of the Diploma was written by Mike Baker in Education Guardian on March 18. Find it here. Baker concludes that the government's desperate attempt to ensure the 'academic respectability' of the qualification will create confusion amongst the students who would benefit most from a new approach.

"The desire to give diplomas academic respectability is understandable in view of the British tendency to devalue vocational qualifications. But that desire is the cause of the confusion, complexity and ambivalence that could scupper this much-needed reform."

Couldn't agree more. It's well worth reading this piece (but not the two predictable comments that follow it).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Creative and Media Diploma

The next issue of in the picture magazine, soon to become the Media Education Association's Journal will carry several items related to the launch in September 2008 of the Creative Media Diploma. We already have a blog on the Diploma (see but the magazine will widen the debate. If you want to add to this, please post a comment here, on the other blog or on the MEA website forum. I'll pick it up and try to incorporate and respond.