GCSE media studies students will learn about footballer Marcus Rashford’s use of social media for the first time following his influential charitable work and his stance against racism in sport.
AQA has included the Manchester United and England footballer to the course as a result of his rising prominence and influence over a variety of social issues during the epidemic.
The new addition to the GCSE course is part of the exam board’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
AQA is also establishing an expert group to discuss representation in assessment and curriculum.
Rashford began a campaign in order to get the Government to offer free meals to all vulnerable children during the English pandemic. It led to several Government U-turns.
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
In May, the 23-year-old highlighted the torrent of racist messages he had received on social media after Manchester United’s Europa League final loss.
In July, Rashford said he was sorry for his missed penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy but said he will “never apologise” for who he is after he suffered racist abuse on social media.
Rashford successfully uses social media to promote his campaigns against child food poverty and ensure that all children have access to books.
He became the youngest person to top the Sunday Times Giving List by raising £20 million in donations from supermarkets for groups tackling child poverty.
Rashford, who received free school meals himself, was made an MBE in the delayed 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
It is hoped that the inclusion Rashford will allow students to study how he uses social media to influence, and also to learn more about the social issues and race issues he raises.
The course will also include Black Widow, a Marvel Universe character, Kiss Radio Breakfast Show, Heat magazine, and His Dark Materials, a TV series based on Sir Philip Pullman’s novels.
Sandra Allan, AQA’s head of curriculum for creative arts, said: “I’m really excited by the changes we’ve made – they’re engaging and relevant and will inspire and motivate.
“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.
“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.”
She added: “There has never been a better time to become a media studies student.”