The intent behind the Sociology curriculum is to help students to better understand the world they live in and the reasons why the structures in society have developed in the way that they have. Students studying Sociology A level are provided with the skills to feel empowered to challenge injustice in all its forms to affect change.
To do well at A Level, the students need to understand the trends in modern society, be able to explain why these trends have developed using sociological perspectives and evaluate the contribution of sociologists’ perspective, concurrently critiquing their research methods to come to an informed opinion. They should be able to make synoptic links across the topics that they study as well as applying their real-life knowledge and examples. The two core themes of the A Level are socialisation, culture and identity and social differentiation, power and stratification. They must understand the significance of key concepts such as conflict and consensus, social structure and social action as well as the role of values.
The course at A level is divided into a two-year course. Schools have a choice on the topic for Paper 2 and Families and Households has traditionally been chosen because it inspires greater interest from students and is universal in that all students can easily relate material to their own experiences and of those around them. Research methods are taught as a discrete but vital part of the course as they form a separate part of the exam in both paper one and paper three. Once content has been covered in Year 13, there is plenty of time allocated to revision for the exams. Students are provided with tailored skills and knowledge they need to understand how they learn, are supported to build success and develop passions that will last for life. In Year 12, Families and Households is taught alongside Education where opportunities for links are identified, especially with perspectives and first order concepts which transcend to specific subjects such as norms and values. Crime and Deviance is one of the more demanding units and is therefore taught in Year 13 when students already have knowledge of the key theories, therefore easing the cognitive load on students.
Sociology is delivered through lessons which include high intensity retrievals, teacher instruction, discussion, and debate (both in pairs and as a class), note making or answering questions, application tasks and practice of exam technique, using model answers and scaffolded plans. Homework and study work is based on classwork and recall and they have textbooks to consolidate their learning, working through questions in a workbook to guide their notes. Study work includes directed reading of relevant news articles to keep their knowledge up-to-date and unique. Additionally, students are encouraged to engage with the work of reputable sociologists as well as requiring their theoretical knowledge to known situations. Furthermore, students are provided with bespoke experiences which will enrich their learning within and beyond the classroom and equips them with the right tools to ensure that they are able to make informed choices about their future.