Sociology

Sociology is only offered at A-level.

Intent

We want students 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 examine 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 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 Education, the aim is to focus on four important questions for all sociologists: why do some students achieve more than others; what is the role of education and who benefits from it; how do different students 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 Year 12 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 (Year 13) and Education (Year 12), 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 Year 13, 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 Beliefs.  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.

Implementation

Student sit three papers over the 2 year course (AQA specification 7192):

  • Education with Research Methods (1.5 hours)
  • Topics in Sociology -Families and Households and Beliefs (1.5 hours)
  • Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods (2 hours)

During the course students will have the opportunity to:

  • Improve communication skills
  • Present a balanced argument
  • Research and synthesise new ideas
  • Develop an understanding of unfamiliar concepts
  • Develop a tolerant attitude to others’ views

For each module, students can expect to spend at least 90 minutes each week on homework.

Particularly useful websites:

Exam board materials
www.sociology.org
www.sociologyonline.co.uk
www.atss.org.uk
www.sociologyguide.com
www.socioweb.com

Impact

  • The number of students choosing to study Sociology at A-level at Loreto College is very high, and a number of our students go on to study the subjects further at university. Our exam results demonstrate that many students achieve their target grades or higher.
  • Most students achieve between A* – C grades.
  • Students frequently express their enjoyment of Sociology , the quality of teaching they have received, and their appreciation of the knowledge and study skills they have gained from the department.
  • Students become critical thinkers, engaging with academic literature, which develops their cultural and academic capital in order to participate fully in society. Promoting academic success is crucial to the study of Psychology and Sociology, broadening student horizons and opportunities in their future careers.
  • The quality of teaching and learning in Sociology has been praised by both external and internal observers.
  • The impact on exam grades of the support interventions has been very positive and students are very complimentary about the quality of regular one to one sessions with a subject specialist mentor.
  • Data on student destinations over the past few years has shown that many of our students continue their education in subject or subject related courses at Russell Group Universities.

Sociology & Careers@Loreto

Want to find out more about Sociology work skills, then check out this infographic poster, which can also be found on the Maths corridor.