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Sociology Curriculum Rationale


Sociology is the academic study of human society and involves exploring the social interactions and relationships between different groups of people.  Many students find the subject interesting as it is relevant to their lives as we investigate topics that are familiar to them such as the family and education.

Ways of thinking

Critical thinking is central to the study of sociology and we focus on the following to develop this way of thinking:

  • Encouraging students to be curious about what they are learning and wider society
  • Promoting open-mindedness about different perspectives about the world
  • Learning to communicate verbally and in written expression clearly
  • Helping students to analyse evidence so they can form their own well-founded judgements about the world

This involves our students looking at society and the people within it by asking questions about who, what, where, when, why and how?


Sociology aims to develop wisdom, so that students are open-minded and curious about not only their own society but also the wider world. As a subject sociology will expose students to a wealth of perspectives and viewpoints that will be at difference with their own. Being respectful and tolerant of these is key to studying sociology because by doing so we can explore how society might be innovated.


As part of the sociology curriculum we offer students experiences that will not only support them with their academic studies but also life beyond the academy. To develop key life skills every student will learn to construct an argument to justify their point of view so they can answer academic questions, participate in formal classroom debates and present on topics in front of an audience of their peers. In addition to this, students will have experiences outside of the classroom such as working closely with our sister TRUST schools.

Sociology Curriculum at Key Stage Three:

Students will explore a number of key sociological fundamentals in key stage three through their study of STEPS. Please see the curriculum rationale for STEPS for further details.

Sociology Curriculum at Key Stage Four:

Students will have already encountered some key fundamentals of sociology from studying STEPS but it is the GCSE course that will really encourage students to question the world around them. They will use evidence to do this as well as challenging issues to develop their critical and evaluative skills. The GCSE course we currently offer is with Eduqas.

What do we study?

Year 9 – Sociological Fundamentals Year 10 – Key Topics Year 11 – Key Topics and Revision for Exams

Term 1 – Key concepts

  • Culture
  • Socialisation
  • Identity
  • Status
  • Labelling
  • Inequality
  • Discrimination
  • Deprivation

Term 2 – Sociological theory

  • Functionalism
  • Marxism
  • Feminism

Term 3 – Research methods

  • Research process
  • Ethical considerations
  • Quantitative methods
  • Qualitative methods
  • Mixed methods

Term 1 – Families

  • Family diversity and different family forms in the UK and within a global context
  • Sociological theories of the role of the family
  • Social changes and family structures
  • Social changes and family relationships
  • Criticisms of family

Term 2 – Education

  • Sociological theories of the role of education
  • Processes inside schools Patterns of educational achievement
  • Factors affecting educational achievement
  • Factors affecting educational achievement

Term 3 – Crime and Deviance

  • Social construction of concepts of crime and deviance
  • Social control
  • Patterns of criminal and deviant behaviour
  • Sociological theories and explanations of deviance and criminal behaviour (structural, subcultural, interactionist and feminist)
  • Sources of data on crime

Term 1 – Social differentiation and stratification

  • Sociological theories of stratification
  • Different forms and sources of power and authority
  • Equality/inequality in relation to class, gender, ethnicity, age, disability and sexuality
  • Factors which may influence access to life chances and power
  • Poverty as a social issue

Term 2 – Research Methods and revision

Term 3 – Revision

Where does sociology lead?

This course can lead on to further study at A-level and onto university. It develops a wide range of transferable skills applicable to any career including communication, writing skills, research methods and balancing an argument. Careers where sociology is considered useful are human resources, marketing, law enforcement, social work, public administration, teaching, medical based professions and careers working with the media.

Sociology Curriculum at Key Stage Five:

At Key Stage Five we offer an A-level in sociology with OCR. Topics studied by sociologists include all varieties of human experience and the course we offer covers topics such as families and households, education, digital forms of communication and social inequality. It also includes social theory as it not only teaches there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to studying the way that people live together. It helps you to develop the key skills and ability to evaluate evidence and choose between possible explanations.

Students will also learn some of the methods used by sociologists and apply their knowledge to the study of a topic of their own choice to produce an individual piece of research for examination.

The A-level is an examined course and there is no controlled assessment (coursework element). At the end of year 13 a student will sit three different exams. The details of which are below:

Unit 1 – Socialisation, Culture and Identity

Section A: Socialisation, Culture and Identity

Section B: Families and Relationships

Length/ Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Marks: 90

Worth: 30% of your final grade

Unit 2 – Researching and Understanding Social Inequalities

Section A: Research Methods

Section B: Social Inequalities

Length/ Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Marks: 105

Worth: 35% of your final grade

Unit 3 – Debates in Contemporary Society

Section A: Globalisation and the digital social world

Section B: Education

Length/ Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Marks: 105

Worth: 35% of your final grade

For further details about our key stage five curriculum please refer to the sixth form website.