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Student and teacher perceptions of the differences between "academic" and "vocational" post-16 media coursesMuch debate about the relative merit of academic and vocational media courses in the UK is framed by a wider national and international discussion about the status of vocational education more generally. This paper reports the initial findings of a small scale study (set against larger, publicly available data on vocational education) which seeks to examine teacher and student perceptions of the key differences in academic and vocational media courses in the UK - both of which involve elements of production work as well as critical and theoretical perspectives - through a series of interviews with teachers and students, as well as scrutiny of the work they produce. The study hopes to shed some light on the skills, knowledge and criticality required by students on both types of course, as well as beginning to address some of the polarisation that takes place in discourses around academic and vocational education. Rather than suggesting that the choice for students in media education is one of "either vocational or academic", this paper will explore the idea that these two concepts are simply lenses through which students and teachers view very similar kinds of learning.