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Sociology: A-level

Qualification: A-level

Exam Board: AQA

Entry Requirements: Grade 4 or above in GCSE English and Grade 5 or above in a GCSE evaluation based  subject e.g. History, Business Studies, TE, Geography, English Literature, Media Studies, Sociology or Psychology.

 

From the Gruffalo and Brassed Off, to punk music and teddy boys–to state crime and the criminal justice system!

Many previous students have described studying sociology as a ‘game changer’, having chosen it as an unknown additional subject and then end up studying it at university. We have a strong track record, with an Alps 3 score and over 60% of students in 2016 gaining A* to B grades. 

Lessons tend to be discursive in nature with students being encouraged to voice their opinions based on their understanding of the various studies conducted by the sociologists specialising in each topic. We reflect on contemporary debates and relevant issues raised in the media. It greatly helps if students have an interest in sociologically relevant issues.

Our staff have a real enthusiasm for the subject and believe that teaching and learning should be an enjoyable experience for all concerned. Lessons are punctuated by regular discussions about topical news stories, to enhance discussion and sociological debate. Staff also provide invaluable support and mentoring to students who may be experiencing difficulties in adjusting to Sixth Form.

 

The course

Sociology is the study of social behaviour and interaction within the context of a given society. We consider what factors determine this behaviour and consider the ideas of norms and values, socialisation and conformity and deviance.

Topics covered include:  

  • Why do girls outperform boys in education? 
  • Crime and deviance.
  • Policing policies and the criminal justice system.
  • The impact of government policies towards education, e.g. tuition fees and the potential impact on social class. 
  • Youth subcultures, such as mods and rockers, skinheads, punks and goths. 
  • McDonaldization, disneyfiction, comparing global logos with traditional pub signs. 
  • Socialisation and the functionalist value of children’s books, such as The Gruffalo
  • The hidden curriculum in education, the influence of peer groups and mcjobs. 
  • Aspects of gender, class, ethnicity, age, disability, sexuality, consumption and leisure–including clips from films such as Kes, Brassed Off and The Full Monty
  • Youth subcultures and crime. 
  • The mass media and the impact of new media. 
  • Media images, and the role of censorship.

We explore the four theories that underpin our study of society and sociology: functionalism, Marxism, interactionism and post-modernism.

 

Beyond the classroom

Past activities have included:

  • University of Sheffield workshops. 
  • Crown Court visits. 
  • Guest speakers including police officers, journalists, filmmakers and academics.

 

Progression

A vast range of higher education courses and career options are available, from research to social work, marketing to PR, the health service, law, journalism, criminology, social policy and government research. One former student is a senior correspondent for the Guardian newspaper. Students have gained access to a very wide range of university courses. Sociology is accepted by all the Russell Group universities. Former students have also successfully applied to courses in medicine, sciences and languages.