HUNDREDS of children in the region could find themselves studying the movie blockbusters of today as part of a new GSCE media studies syllabus.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, out this week, is only one film likely to be included in media studies programmes under draft proposals from exam awards group OCR.

About 630 students in the North-East will sit the OCR-backed GSCE qualification this year, and that number is expected to increase in 2009.

Students will be asked to analyse and respond to a short extract from an action adventure film using key media concepts and techniques.

The film extract will be selected two years in advance, so students taking their exams in 2010 could be examined on the blockbusters and feature films of today.

Schools and exam centres will also be encouraged to develop their own examples of such films in the syllabus.

Elaine Kay, regional secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "The exam system like all things has to move with the times and it has to be relevant and of interest to children.

"If you can tap into aspects of popular culture and the kids learn from it, then it is all good stuff. If it keeps children engaged in their studies, then I am all for it."

Parool Patel, of OCR, said "Films such as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull are great examples of the action adventure genre.

"It is a particularly useful genre to study at GCSE level as students can familiarise themselves with genre conventions, the use and creation of dramatic effects and representation of characters and themes."