Sociology Department Curriculum Intent
The overall aim of Sociology is to encourage students to look at the world in a more critical way and question why society functions in the way that it does.
Students are the future workforce of our country, and maybe even further afield, therefore it is essential they have an understanding of how their world has been made into what we see today and how, even as individuals, they can influence positive change in the future.
Through the teaching of the core themes:
- socialisation, culture and identity
- social differentiation, power and stratification
Students will understand some critical arguments as to why individuals behave the way they do and understand how society is able to control human behaviour.
Sociology students study AQA A Level Sociology offering a key focus on society in the UK today and looking back to how society has arrived at its current position and suggesting how it may continue to evolve. The A Level has strong links to British values and SMSC, as it teaches traditional British values as a core element of the course and students actively learn about democracy, individual liberty, rule of law and mutual respect within the topics studied.
The course begins with students learning about key Sociological theories. This brief introduction provides a foundation of knowledge that they will build upon during each unit of work that is studied. The first main unit of work focuses on the education system, looking at its purpose, how it has developed into the system we know today and how it may advantage or disadvantage certain groups of people within society. We begin the course with this unit as it is something that all students can relate to as they have spent more than 10 years studying within the education system we are examining. Following this, students then begin to study what research methods are used by Sociologists. Now they know some of the basics of Sociology they are able to look into how research is conducted and try some of the techniques out for themselves. There is some overlap here with research methods that students could also learn in Psychology.
Later on in year 12 students study families and households. In a similar way to education, they look at the structure and evolution of families and what different groups of Sociologists have to say about the position of families within society. Students then study the optional unit, ‘The Media’. Students will become familiar with the significance of the media in contemporary society, studying it’s role and the relationship between ownership and control of the media. In addition, students will analyse how the media represents different social groups including age, gender and ethnicity. Finally in year 13 students study crime and deviance. Here they examine the police and criminal justice system as another institution within society and assess its function and role within society, as well as continuing with the running theme of who benefits and who loses out from the existence of these institutions.
This combination of units provides students with a range of cross-curricular links, including Geography, Psychology, RE and Maths. It often builds on prior learning from many of these subjects but also seeks to fill in gaps where students have not studied certain subjects as GCSE options. During the two-year course students will develop critical thinking skills and will be able to evaluate explicitly in their written work enabling them to achieve top mark band responses. Students learn about cultural capital as part of their first unit of study and they are encouraged to seek out knowledge and experience that enhances and adds to their learning. Students are given the opportunity to attend seminars and lectures held by Sociologists and visits to curriculum workshops that are offered by external agencies are also arranged. Students are consistently encouraged to be using the media to add to their knowledge of Sociology and find current, real-life examples of Sociology in the real world that could be used as examples and evidence in their written work. There is a display board in the Sociology classroom that showcases recent examples of Sociology in the news and students are encouraged to collect their own in a workbook as evidence of their independent study.