Sociology is the study of modern British society and its structures. It aims to explain the world around us and how it changes over time. It also looks at the organisations within society and how these influence our lives. Sociology is a subject that requires a very critical view on evidence and it is necessary to be able to see more than one side of the story.
Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour, and bridges the gap between the academic study of the social sciences and the natural sciences. Students are encouraged to develop an understanding of psychological research; the ability to apply this knowledge to real life situations; critically analyse and evaluate the value of psychological research and its credibility as an explanation of human behaviour. Psychology will appeal to students who are curious about people and are interested in exploring the reasons for their behaviour. Psychology students need to be sensitive, open minded and willing to accept that there are no ‘right or wrong’ answers. Psychology is a science with cutting edge research that can be applied to issues we see in everyday life, such as psychological disorders, stress and aggression.
Psychology and Sociology are both very popular subjects. Both are offered at GCSE and A Level, which we run as part of the Consortium.
Key Stage 4
Paper 1 will cover how human beings acquire their identity and examine the process of passing on culture from generation to generation in diverse settings. Learners will be encouraged to contemplate how they acquire their individual identity. They will study in depth the role of the family and the education system in the processes of socialisation, providing learners with a deeper, more theoretical understanding of the social world around them.
Paper 2 will involve learners examining social structures in society and examining the ways these influence human behaviour. Learners will examine competing theories on the causes of inequality in society through sociological theory. They will also study crime and deviance.
Assessment in Year 11 is 2 exam papers each carrying 50% of the marks and lasting 1hour 45 mins. A mixture of short 1 mark questions and essay questions ranging to 15 marks. Both papers marked out of 100.
Key Stage 5
In Year 12 we cover Education which is a compulsory topic and Culture and Identity as our optional subject area. These are taught with integrated research methods which must be applied to a given context in the education sector.
In Year 13 the topics covered are Crime & Deviance (compulsory) with integrated sociological theory and methods and for our optional subject we look at the Mass Media and their role in contemporary society.
Socialisation, social differentiation, power and stratification are concepts which are embedded throughout the 2 years of the course. Students will be expected to make links
Assessment is at the end of Year 13. This will be in the form of 3 exam papers which are each 2 hours long and contribute 33.3% of your overall marks.
Why Choose Sociology?
Sociology is about your life and the world around you. It is a subject that you will have experience of and one that will help you understand many aspects of your future. You can bring your own life events and ideas into the classroom in a way you might not be able to with other subjects. It helps you understand that the society we are presented with is not always the true picture and it will help you understand who is trying to manipulate your ideas and why they are trying to do that. If you know this, you can make more informed choices about your lives and your future.
What Makes a Good Sociology Student
You need to be open minded. Some things that you “know” are not always accurate. You will need to be able to analyse the information given to you and make decisions about its accuracy and representativeness. You will need to be able to view society from many different perspectives – and accept that different people see the same concept in different ways. You will also be able to listen to and accept the views of others – even if you do not agree with them. A good sociology student keeps to deadlines, can organise their time effectively, can revise efficiently, has good written and verbal literacy skills and is interested in the world around them. A good sociology student also keeps up to date with current affairs by watching the news and reading a newspaper.
Key Stage 4
The GCSE course is made up of 8 topic areas; criminal psychology, human development, psychological problems, social influence, memory, sleep and dreaming, biopsychology and research methods. The biopsychology topic is embedded throughout the course making it explicitly relevant to each of the other areas studied rather than a standalone subject. Research methods is taught across year one and two of the course as it applies to the information being studied.
For each of the other 6 topics students will focus on key concepts, relevant theories and explanations, specific research studies; both classic and modern day and how this information can be applied to the world around them.
Knowledge will be tested in exam form at the end of Year 11. Students will sit 2 papers of one hour forty five minutes each. Each paper is weighted equally and accounts for 50% of their overall GCSE grade.
Key Stage 5
We will study
- Social influence
- Approaches in Psychology
- Psychopathology (mental illness)
- Research methods
All students will be assessed in formal examinations at the end of Year 13.
The topics covered are the same as year 12 and also
- Issues and debates in Psychology
- Cognition and development
- Forensic Psychology
Assessed by 3 written exams, each 2 hours long and 33.3% of A-level grade. Questions Section A: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks; Section B: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks; Section C: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks Section D: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, 24 marks.
There are many careers where a qualification in sociology is useful. For example, many sociologists go into social work – community projects, charity work, welfare advisors and other areas of social services. Other careers are civil service, prison officers, journalists, police and teaching. A qualification in sociology will provide you with many key skills, including logical thinking, planning, research and negotiation – all of which can be used in a variety of careers.
A qualification in psychology can often lead to careers in the health industry, these include:
Clinical psychologist, working in outpatient clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and community and mental health centres in a variety of roles. Alternatively psychology can be useful in a business environment often in a human resources setting or marketing departments. Both the prison service and social services also offer career opportunities for students of psychology.
Students of Psychology and Sociology consistently achieve well at GCSE and A Level. Last year all students in the A2 achieved at or above their target level, with half achieving top grades.
In GCSE Sociology this year, 79% of students made expected progress or better and 74% of students achieved A*-C grades.
In GCSE Psychology this year, 74% of students made expected progress or better and 25% of students achieved A*-A grades.
Extra Curricular Opportunities
A Level students visit London Zoo for a workshop on how to overcome phobias and a demonstration of systematic desensitisation techniques. Psychology students also take part in a brain day event, in which an external speaker presents information to them about their brains and presents a live dissection of a sheep brain. Year 10 GCSE students visit the History of Education Museum for a half day workshop on changes to the British Education System.
- Ms Annie Willcox – Head of Department Teacher of Sociology & Psychology
- Mrs Katie Southall – Teacher of Sociology & Assistant Headteacher
- Mr Robert Findon – Teacher of Sociology & Psychology