English and Media

Exam Board: AQA

Exam Board Website: AQA – Assessment and Qualifications Alliance externallink

English Curriculum Summary
Year 7 This section will be updated shortly.
Year 8
Year 9


English and English Literature

General Information

Every pupil is required to take English Language and Literature as a GCSE subject.  Studying English is imperative to engaging and succeeding in all GCSE subjects.  Apart from learning how to communicate, read and write, pupils will also develop planning and research skills, as well as gain knowledge of history, culture, philosophy and even human behaviour.

The courses include engagement with classic novels, plays and poems from the literary canon, as well as equipping students to explore and analyse non-fiction texts. Pupils will have opportunities to develop their writing skills through the crafting of both creative and non-fiction writing.  These are then all assessed through final non-tiered exams. 

The spoken word is also an integral element in the study of English and this is assessed in a spoken language presentation.  Pupils will receive a separate grading for this and it must be completed as part of the endorsement for the GCSE English Language qualification.

English is taught over 9 lessons a fortnight by experienced and passionate English experts.

It is strongly recommended that pupils own their own copies of the literature texts to annotate and support their studies of the texts.

Key themes through the GCSE Key Stage

Throughout their GCSE journey, pupils will complete the following:

English Language

  • Read and explore a range of fiction and non-fictions extracts
  • Creative writing
  • Non-fiction writing
  • Spoken language

English Literature

  • A study of a Shakespeare play
  • A study of a 19th century novel
  • A study of a modern novel or play
  • A study of an anthology of poetry 
  • A study of a range of unseen poetry

Pupils will learn the skills of:

  • Reading with insight and understanding
  • summary
  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Comparison
  • Appreciating the contextual ideas that may influence a writer
  • Writing academic essays

Exam Structure

All pupils will be awarded 2 separate GCSES: English Language and English Literature.  Pupils will complete 2 English Language exams and 2 English Literature exams.

English Language
Paper 1: creative reading and writing 1 hour 45 minutes 50%
Paper 2: Writers’ perspectives and viewpoints 1 hour 45 minutes 50%
Spoken Language endorsement Completed in school N/A
English Literature
Paper 1: Shakespeare and 19th century novel 1 hour 45 minutes 40%
Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry 2 hours and 15 minutes 60%

What it can lead to after leaving Swanmore College?

English is good for any job that involves communication, writing and / or literary knowledge. These include: advertising and marketing, writing and journalism, law, consultancy, business, teaching, performing arts, academia, government, linguistics, foreign languages, media and design. 

Careers in the sciences, engineering, technology and maths also need more English than you think. Writing proposals, academic papers and articles and communicating with others is key to getting funding for projects and reaching people with your work.


Media Studies
GCSE General Information

‘The media’ refers to the different channels we use to communicate information in the everyday world. Media Studies involves the close analysis of the images, sounds and text that we experience via the media. It is the study of individual media texts (such as films, TV shows, magazines, websites) and 
  • Who made them (“institution”)?
  • How they were made (“process”)?
  • Why they were made (“purpose”)?
  • Who they were made for (“audience”)?
  • What rules were followed when making them (“conventions” and “genre”)?


Media Studies is also about appreciating the skill and creativity which goes into the production of media texts. Just as analysing the different techniques used in the creation of a poem or novel helps you appreciate the talent of the writer, so does learning about media techniques help you appreciate value the skill with words and pictures that the creators of a media text must possess.


What does a successful Media Studies student look like?

  • A passion for English Language
  • Someone who always questions why and how?
  • A person who is perceptive and observant to the world around
  • Someone with an interest in history and a changing, developing society
  • A creative and critical thinker 
  • A person who can think outside of the box, be completely independent and be reflective
  • A confident user of IT programmes
  • An editor of their own work
  • A competent writer, using standard English to articulate viewpoints and perspectives
  • A follower of current affairs and entertainment news
  • Access to magazines and newspapers
  • An analytical mind


Subject content

GCSE Media Studies engages students in the in-depth study of media products in relation to the four areas of the theoretical framework:

  • Media language
  • Media representation
  • Media industries
  • Media audiences.

Students will study media products from all of the following media forms:

  • Television
  • Film
  • Radio
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Online, social and participatory media
  • Video game industry
  • Music industry


How is it assessed?

Component 1 exam: 

    • 1 hour 30 minutes
    • 80 marks
  • 40% of GCSE final grade

Section A will focus on Media Language and Media Representations. Questions in this section will test on two from the following: magazines, marketing (film posters), newspapers and print advertisements. 

Section B will focus on Media Industries and Media Audiences. Questions in this section will test on two from the following: radio, film industry, newspapers or video games.

Component 2 exam: 

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 60 marks
  • 30% of GCSE final grade

Section A will be based on a screening from an extract of one of the television Close Study Products and can test any area of the theoretical framework.

Section B will be based on the music Close Study Products can test any area of the framework.

Non-exam assessment – creating a media product:

  • A choice of one of five annually changing briefs on a range of media
  • 60 marks
  • 30% of GCSE

Students will produce:

  • A statement of intent/ a brief explaining what they intend to create and why
  • A media product for an intended audience


What it can lead to after leaving Swanmore College?



Designer (Costume/ Set)

Production (Radio/TV, Film)

Sound engineer

Multimedia architect


Games Designer

Presenter (TV/Radio)


Camera operator





Project manager


Media research

Web design

Editing and proofreading


Public relations

Event management

And many more!