We want pupils to become more aware of the social world that frames their experiences, beliefs and values. Our teachers help students to explore different theories which not only explore how society is structured but also offer us solutions to complex social problems and issues. Students are taught to evaluate these theories, making judgements on their relevance and legitimacy in our diverse post-modern society.
In order to establish a sound foundation for the subject, Year 12 students will firstly learn about the nature of Sociology, with particular reference to important structural elements of social inequality and differences based on class, gender, ethnicity, age and sexuality. These structural elements will help students in all the four substantive topics in Sociology as they form the bases of major inequalities and differences in family, beliefs, the education system and crime. Learning about society through these perspectives helps to lift students beyond the limitations of a ‘common sense’ interpretation of the social world and into the realms of academic and intellectual analysis and evaluation.
In Year 12 we also begin to look at ‘Education and Research Methods ‘. In the Education part of this topic, the aim is to focus on four important questions for all sociologists: why do some pupils achieve more than others; what is the role of education and who benefits from it; how do different pupils experience their schooling; how have laws and policies attempted to improve the education system in Britain?
So that students can understand how Sociologists collect their data and establish ideas and theories, in the spring and summer terms of Y12 we study their various research methods. This helps students to understand why issues over validity and reliability are of such importance to the quest for objectivity in Sociology. In two topics, Crime (Y13) and Education (Y12), we aim to help students understand the practical, ethical and theoretical factors influencing sociologists’ choice of method and topic, and to be able to assess their relative importance.
In Y13 we expect students to have developed a good grounding in the main perspectives in Sociology, so that they can be applied to the study of Crime and Stratification . In the study of Crime the focus is on students being able to explain why some people commit crime, and also to offer solutions. We want them to apply their knowledge of theoretical frameworks to this, for example by explaining how Marxists would reduce property crime. We will use perspectives in order to explain why different types of stratification and differentiation exists in modern industrial societies such as the UK . In particular we will explore how stratification has changed in the UK , such as those which are based on life chances and patterns of social mobility across different social groups . Social, Political and Economic dimensions of inequality will be explored in terms of class, gender , ethnicity , age and disability .