Marcus Rashford to be included in GCSE media studies course

Pupils will learn about footballer’s use of social media to highlight social and race issues he cares about

Marcus Rashford’s much-lauded use of social media to pursue his campaign against child food poverty and persuade the UK government to expand free school meals is to be studied by pupils as part of their GCSE media studies course.

The Manchester United and England footballer has won plaudits for his social justice campaigns, including tackling racist abuse and launching a book club to improve disadvantaged children’s reading, and his use of social media has been key to his ability to spread his message and influence debate.

Pupils studying AQA media studies from next September will be able to learn about Rashford’s online presence and his communications on social media platforms, and the way in which they have successfully engaged followers. They will also learn more about the social and race issues he cares about.

The move is part of a wider effort by exam boards to diversify their qualifications to make them more relevant to and representative of modern students. AQA has set up an expert group in equality, diversity and inclusion to look at representation across the curriculum and assessments.

Sandra Allan, the head of AQA’s creative arts curriculum, said the footballer’s inclusion on the course would inspire and motivate pupils.

Other new topics, or “close study projects”, in the updated curriculum include the Marvel character Black Widow, the Kiss radio breakfast show, Heat magazine and the television series His Dark Materials, based on Philip Pullman’s novels.

“Marcus Rashford is one of the most influential and inspirational young people in the UK, so students can learn a huge amount from how he uses social media to make a real impact,” said Allan.

“It’s not just an opportunity for them to learn about social media – it’s also a great way to learn about important social and race issues as part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in the curriculum.”

Rashford’s social media messaging was crucial in his campaign to persuade ministers to provide free school meals for vulnerable pupils in England throughout the school holidays during the pandemic, which prompted a series of embarrassing government U-turns. He has since been described as one of the country’s top lobbyists by PR industry leaders.

Media studies courses have been much maligned and dismissed as a “soft” subject, but Allan said there had never been a better time to do a media studies course that would help students develop creative, analytical, research and communication skills.


Sally Weale Education correspondent

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Marcus Rashford backs MPs’ push for free school breakfasts
Footballer throws weight behind cross-party bill guaranteeing extra funding

Patrick Butler Social policy editor

12, Oct, 2020 @4:28 PM

Article image
Marcus Rashford: public rallies behind campaign to end child food poverty
Covid-hit firms tweet offers of food donations after MPs reject free school meals plan

Alexandra Topping and Patrick Butler

23, Oct, 2020 @10:59 AM

Article image
Taking inspiration from Marcus Rashford | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to the government’s U-turn on free school meals, after a campaign supported by the Manchester United striker


17, Jun, 2020 @4:59 PM

Article image
'It is never about him': how Marcus Rashford became such a devastating activist
An injury set the England footballer on a mission to tackle inequalities he faced as a child

Caroline Davies

21, Nov, 2020 @7:00 AM

Article image
Attainment gap widens for disadvantaged GCSE pupils, study finds
Persistently disadvantaged pupils are almost two years behind peers by the time they finish GCSEs

Sally Weale Education correspondent

29, Jul, 2019 @11:01 PM

Article image
Marcus Rashford calls for urgent review of free school meals system
Footballer’s request comes after Boris Johnson admits quality of some food parcels was sub-standard

Patrick Butler, Sally Weale and Jessica Elgot

13, Jan, 2021 @6:45 PM

Article image
The Guardian view on Marcus Rashford's triumph: a political masterclass | Editorial
Editorial: By persuading the government to extend the free meal voucher scheme, the Manchester United footballer has taught the prime minister a lesson on solidarity


16, Jun, 2020 @5:31 PM

Article image
Racist responses to Marcus Rashford's campaign for children are no surprise | Afua Hirsch
The narrative of ‘personal responsibility’ is a way of blaming communities for the suffering of their members, says Guardian columnist Afua Hirsch

Afua Hirsch

09, Sep, 2020 @2:12 PM

Article image
Money raised after Marcus Rashford mural defaced to go to food charity in Manchester
Footballer, who is campaigning to end child food poverty, says funds will go to FareShare

Clea Skopeliti

26, Jul, 2021 @7:41 PM

Article image
Rashford demands a 'meal a day' for all school pupils in need
Footballer says his campaign to end child food poverty in England still has a ‘million miles to go’

Patrick Butler Social policy editor

20, Jan, 2021 @2:56 PM