​What is this subject about? 

The BTEC National Diploma and BTEC National Extended Certificate are courses designed for innovative, creative students who have their eye firmly set on a career in the creative industries. They are nationally recognised technical and vocational qualifications designed to give the next generation of TV and filmmakers a thorough understanding of industry techniques, trends and practice. This is achieved through the continual assessment of practical work working towards set briefs. The Diploma is the equivalent, in size and value, to two A Levels and involves the completion of ten units over two years. The Extended Certificate is the equivalent, in size and value, to one A Level and involves the completion of five units over two years.

What will I study over the two years? 

There are a range of units covered that allow you to develop a professional understanding of the industry and the skills you will need to be successful in your future career. Through these units you will developing practical capabilities in lighting, sound recording, cinematography and editing. You will also work both individually and in crews to script, storyboard, produce and edit, a music video, film and television products. 
The likely units to be studied are:

Extended Certificate units (equivalent to ONE A Level over two years)

  • Storyboarding
  • Lighting Techniques – techniques for different genres and forms
  • Single Camera Techniques – where you will create a music video
  • Film Production – where you will produce an opening sequence or short film
  • Digital Media Skills (externally assessed)

 Diploma units (equivalent to TWO A Levels over two years)

  • Storyboarding
  • Scriptwriting
  • Lighting Techniques
  • Sound Editing
  • Single Camera Techniques
  • Film Editing
  • Film Production
  • Media Enterprise
  • Digital Media Skills (externally assessed)
  • Responding to a Commission (externally assessed)

​How is the course assessed? 

The course is assessed throughout the two years by a number of coursework assignments, where students complete a series of tasks set in a work-related scenario. These coursework assignments are centre-assessed and then externally moderated by the exam board. Coursework assignments may include short reports, PowerPoints, presentations, portfolios and films. There are two externally assessed units for the Diploma course and one for the Extended Certificate.

For the externally assessed units you will demonstrate the skills you have developed through your coursework units to create a TV or film product responding to a brief, set by the examination board. 

Skills developed and areas of study 

You will gain academic, vocational, technical and practical skills. You will be taught how to critically analyse the media and learn about the practices and functions of the media industries focusing on film and TV production. You will be taught practical skills which focus on video and film making. You will learn how to research information effectively through the development of your independent learning skills. It is our expectation that industry related experience will form part of the course. 


​What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

Progression to further qualifications, such as degrees in media production-related subjects, is a likely route for Diploma students. Recent alumni have progressed to degrees at Bournemouth, Bournemouth Arts, Ravensbourne, Portsmouth, UCA and Southampton Solent. Students have also been able to take short courses with the British Film Industry in short film production, documentary and animation. This qualification also enables students to enter employment at a trainee /apprenticeship level, and the work-based learning component of the course equips them with relevant skills and experience to apply to workplaces. Possible stepping stones into future production careers might include Technician, Researcher, Runner or Production Assistant. 

Entry Requirements

​What are the formal entry requirements for this course?

Aside from the general entry requirements that the College requires, you need to achieve a minimum of: 

  • Grade 4 in GCSE English Language
  • Grade 4 in GCSE Media Studies is required to study the Diploma (if the subject has been taken)

 You will need to have a good level of creativity as there is a strong creative component, and an interest in using filmmaking technology and software. The ability to work independently to professional expectations, to be self-motivated and to meet deadlines is essential.


Extra Support

​What extra support/enrichment activities are on offer? 

The department has strong links with Southampton Solent University, University for the Creative Arts, and other educational providers. We regularly seek guidance on how best to advise our students about progression opportunities. We also offer support and enrichment workshops, invite in guest speakers and help students build more of a practical portfolio. At the end of the second year we celebrate student achievement with our own Esher Oscars. All students taking this course will have the opportunity to organise and undertake a work experience placement towards the end of their first year of study. 

Subject combination advice

​Subject combination advice: 

We expect students who are taking the Diploma course to be committed to a media-related degree or employment, and so in many cases subjects such as Film Studies, Music Technology, Graphic Communication, Art or Photography may be appropriate. However, the course is also enriched by subjects such as English, History, IT, Sociology or Psychology. For those students who opt for the Extended Certificate, studying another creative subject such as Photography or an essay based related subject such as Film Studies, would be complementary. We would not necessarily advise taking BTEC Media with Media Studies A Level unless the student has a firm commitment to pursuing a media related degree or employment.

What are the main differences between the BTEC Media courses, Media A Level and Fim Studies A Level? 

The focus in BTEC Media, for the learner, is the acquisition of professional media skills which are theoretically underpinned. This is a 'hands on', practical course. The dominant learning paradigm is to 'learn by doing'. The sharpest contrast between BTEC and A Level lies in the assessment of work. With A Level, Media Studies looks at a range of media texts including music videos, radio, TV programmes, webpages, advertising etc. Film Studies only looks at films and requires a passion for watching a range of texts including black and white, independent and foreign language films.