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You will spend at least 15,000 hours of your life in a classroom. Why? What are schools for?

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How does the media portray teenagers?

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Why does poverty exist? How does poverty affect a child’s life chances?

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Men commit more crime than women. Why?

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Thousands of students attend failing schools every day. Why aren’t schools better?

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Does the media have any kind of impact on our behaviour?

Studying sociology will provide you with the answers to these questions and many more about the society you live in today.

Everyone is part of society. Society has helped shape who you are and how you experience life, but how much do you understand about it?

High crime rates in our inner cities, binge drinking ladettes, boys’ underachievement in school, the effects of divorce on children, racism and the police, the effects of the media on violent behaviour, these are among the great debates of today. They are the subject of countless views and opinions, many of which are ill-informed or prejudiced, most expressed simply from personal and often very limited experience.

This is where Sociology comes in, because these are all SOCIAL issues. The Sociologist sets off to try and understand our human world a little better. This task is often challenging and controversial, but to many it is also fascinating and rewarding.

Sociology, then, is the study of people in society.

By learning how society operates you will be learning how the world works, you will be putting your current life in context and preparing yourself for what society may have in store for you, you will gain the knowledge, analytical and debating skills to add your voice to the great popular discussions of our time in areas such as the family, education, the police/judiciary, the media, religion and politics.

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GCSE Reform

The new GCSE launches in September of 2017. This course follows the government’s new 1-9 grading system and therefore does away with the current A*-U system. At the time of writing, the course specification is still awaiting final approval from the exam regulator Ofqual and may therefore be subject to very minor changes.

Having achieved outstanding results year on year and with two members of staff who are experienced Sociology examiners, rest assured that you are in safe hands.

How Will I Be Assessed?

Sociology a 100% exam based course. There is no coursework. You will sit two exams at the end of year 11, each one 1hr 45mins long. In order to prepare you for the exam, you will be required to complete essays and shorter exam questions each week.

We complete the AQA specification, full details of which can be found here*

* Once again – please be aware that this is currently a draft. Although no changes are expected, minor alternations are possible.

Year 10 Topics  (1hr 45mins exam)

  • Families (What do families do? Is there still a “normal” family? Have roles in the family changed?
  • Education (What are schools for? Who does well in school and why? How have policies changed the education system?)
  • Links to research methods for both of these topics

Year 11 Topics  (1hr 45mins exam)

  • Crime and deviance (Why do people commit crime? Who is it that commits crime? Can we trust the statistics?)
  • Social stratification (Which groups have more power in society? Is this fair? What are the causes of poverty?)
  • Links to research methods for both of these topics

If you would like more specific details on what these topics cover, please come and ask.

Entry Requirements

To be a successful sociology student you must:

  • Be willing to express your views in class discussions, debates and presentations.
  • Be able to listen to and respect the views of others.
  • Keep up to date with current issues by reading a newspaper or watching TV news.
  • Be able to summarise research evidence in your essays to present a clear, two-sided argument which reaches a clear conclusion.
  • Keep up to date with the homework that is set each week

Remember that sociology is a purely exam based subject which requires you to write essays. You will be given clear guides on how to write essays, but please note that an ability to express ideas in writing is essential.

Your commitment and enthusiasm will be rewarded with an excellent GCSE grade.

GCSE Results

The Sociology department is very proud of its outstanding exam results.  Our students perform well above national averages for AQA Sociology.

In 2015-2016, 83% achieved an A*-C against a national average of 63%. Furthermore, 44% of our students achieved the top grades of A*-A against a national average of 17%.

What can I do with Sociology?

Many students who study GCSE Sociology go on to study A level Sociology in the sixth form. It will also help with your study of Psychology, Media Studies or Politics.

In addition, Sociology is an extremely valued subject for higher education entry and future careers. Sociology students are particularly in demand for people centred occupations and professions that demand an analytical approach based upon weighing up evidence and arguments to reach considered conclusions.

Hence sociology students have gone on to careers as wide ranging as media research, law, police, journalism, teaching, social and welfare work, personnel work, business analysts, civil service and local government research and policy making, advertising, nursing, medicine and market research.

Still not convinced?

According to a recent report by the Campaign for Social Science, graduates of social sciences are more likely to be employed than other graduates. The report provides hard evidence to debunk the myth that sociology doesn’t offer good career prospects.

Drawing on data from over 60,000 graduates surveyed by the Higher Education Statistics Authority, the report reveals:

  • Higher proportions of social science graduates are in employment than STEM or arts-humanities graduates, 3.5 years after graduating.

  • Higher proportions of social scientists are managers, directors and senior officials than any other subject group, at the same point in time.

  • Greater proportions of social science graduates too are employed in professional, scientific and technical or financial activities.

You can find the full report here, and the BBC news report here

Where can I go for more information?

You can find the Head of Department, Mr Lewis, in E19 most lunchtimes. Please come along if you have any further questions or would like to see some of the resources that we use in sociology.