Why study Sociology?
Sociology allows students to take a critical view of the world in which they live. By studying the work of influential researchers, Sociology ensures that students are able to look at a broad range of ideas from an analytical perspective. Throughout the course, students also make use of relevant contemporary and historical examples. In Year 12, students look at familiar ideas, closer to their own lives in the study of Education and Families and Households. Students reflect on changes in both of these areas in the last 50 years, as well as how these ideas may be shaped by our class, ethnicity and gender. Students become familiar with the sociological theories of Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism and begin to view aspects of society through the lens of these perspectives. Through their work in understanding the role of the researcher, students develop awareness of research methods. Looking at both the interpretivist and positivist perspectives, students are able to make broad connections across the Sociology curriculum, building knowledge of ideas that will carry over into their study of Beliefs in Society and Crime and Deviance in the Year 13 section of the course. In Year 13, students move away from the ‘familiar’ and focus on more globalised, deviant ideas in society. The skills of analysis and evaluation are further developed within these modules, as students explore more complex topics and the broader themes of globalisation and postmodernism. Students are encouraged to pursue the highest grades in Sociology and uptake of the subject within the sixth form continues to rise every year. Students relish the opportunity to take on a new subject that is not usually available to them at GCSE level. Particularly through the importance placed on contemporary examples within essay writing, students complete this course with a greater sense of their own socio-economic viewpoint on the world and are able to explain their ideas in a concise, evaluative form.
Students follow the AQA syllabus including modules on Education, Families and Households, Beliefs in Society and Crime and Deviance. They also learn about research methods.
Links to GCSE
It is not necessary for students to have studied GCSE Sociology but it is essential for them to have a good command of English. All modules are assessed through examinations. There are three papers used to assess students at the end of Year 13 and these are all two hours long.
Trips and visits may be organised in relation with other departments such as the Politics/Law visit to London. Other relevant visits, as well as visiting speakers (such as professors, the police) are also organised when and where available throughout the year.
Education with Methods in Context
Families and Households
The Year 12 course has been organised to provide students with an introduction to sociological theory through areas of the course that they are most familiar with. We begin with Education, looking at GCSE achievement and how this is impacted by factors both in and out of school. This is considered through a range of pupil characteristics, such as gender, ethnicity and class. We also consider the way that education has changed over time and how it is being shaped by government decision’s today. In Families and Households we explore ideas such as the changing role of women, the growth of newer, diverse types of families and the implications this has for society. We also look at more specific topics such as the changing nature of childhood and how the birth rate, death rate and life expectancy in society has changed over time.
Beliefs in Society
Crime and Deviance
Theory and Methods
The Year 13 course takes a more advanced look at the ideas that we have studied in the first year of the A-level. We explore a range of ideas relating to religion, beginning with typical ideas of traditional major world religions and then considering newer forms of religious such as the growth of cults, sects and other new religious movements. We look at reasons that people may remain religious in parts of the world as well as explanations for secularisation, or why some parts of the world have lost their religious influence. We consider religion on a global scale, looking at newer ideas such as fundamentalism and globalisation. In Crime and Deviance, we consider the reasons for an individual or group committing a crime, we consider ideas such as new types of crime that are developed out of new technology and how sociologists may define ideas such as Green Crime or State Crime.
Theory and Methods takes all of the ideas that we have covered throughout the course and looks at them from a broader, much more general perspective. It helps students to understand the overall purpose of the study of Sociology and what impact it can have on society. It also develops their understanding of theories included throughout the course, many of which will heavily feature in undergraduate courses they may study after finishing their A-Levels.
Skills to be developed:
- understand, analyse and evaluate a number of sociological theories on a range of topics, drawing on ideas and relevant evidence from contemporary examples occurring in modern day and throughout history.
- evaluate and use evidence from theories to produce analytical explanations of concepts and make overall judgements on various sociological debates
- develop their knowledge, skills and understanding over the two year linear A Level course to evaluate with appropriate levels of sophistication, demonstrating a deep, complex understanding of the theory, current affairs and wider relevant literature.
We know from all those who internally, and externally, review the work of our school that our students are cheerful, creative, conscientious and confident young people. Employers regularly tell us that our students are professional and act with honesty and integrity. Our school has been very successful with numerous external accreditations, for the community and the individuals within it, over many decades. Our staff and students very much feel part of our Mercy community.
Our Sociology curriculum helps our students to develop the detailed knowledge and skills required to progress to the next stage of education, employment or training. Our teaching and learning programmes support our students to know, understand and remember more sociological knowledge. It provides them with further understanding of the world around us, the behaviour that we come to expect in society and how individuals might respond when those expectations are challenged. It provides us with a platform to discuss changes happening in the wider social and political context of the subject. They achieve subject fluency, which enables them to grow and develop as informed, critically thinking students. Students become aware of the sociological implications of current affairs. They learn about how sociology informs government policy and how important it is to question and critique ideas that are presented to us as members of society. Staff in the Social Sciences department support subject specific literacy and numeracy for all our students to help them succeed in their studies and they aim to develop holistically the gifts and talents of each individual within a caring, compassionate, charitable and challenging Christian environment.
Our impactful Sociology curriculum develops students with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to have a positive impact within family, friendship groups, school/college, university, the workplace and the wider community. It provides students with the opportunity to consider relevant careers and relevant routes of study when they complete their A-levels. Our wide-ranging and broad-based curriculum offer, and varied extended curricular opportunities, within Sociology provide an opportunity for everyone.
We know that our students are reliable, responsible, resilient and radical individuals who are ready to use their talents positively wherever life may take them. Generations of students have chosen St. Anthony’s over the decades and centuries. We are extremely proud of our alumni, many of whom are regular contributors to our school community as it continues to grow and develop. Many families have fourth or fifth generation connection to our school and many staff have given decades of service, such is the impact of being part of this school community.
Everyone in our community is aware of what it means to be an Antonian: to pursue excellence, to build community, to show concern for those who may be disadvantaged and to particularly support the education of women and girls.