Sociology


Subject Leader

Miss R Aylwin –  raylwin@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk 

Teaching Staff

Mr J Stuart – jstuart@oriel.w-sussex.sch.uk

Welcome to the world of Sociology
“The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden” – Pierre Bordieu


Curriculum Intent


GCSE Sociology (AQA)

GCSE Sociology helps students to gain knowledge and understanding of key social structures, processes and issues through the study of families, education, crime and deviance and social stratification.

Students will develop their analytical, assimilation and communication skills by comparing and contrasting perspectives on a variety of social issues, constructing reasoned arguments, making substantiated judgements and drawing reasoned conclusions.

By studying sociology, students will develop transferable skills including how to:

  • Investigate facts and make deductions
  • Develop opinions and new ideas on social issues
  • Analyse and better understand the social world.


AQA GCSE Sociology definition of progress

This specification requires students to:

  • Draw on information and evidence from different sources and demonstrate the ability to synthesise them
  • Analyse and evaluate different research methods used in sociological investigations and assess, critically, the appropriateness of their use
  • Analyse and evaluate information and evidence presented in different written, visual and numerical forms
  • Apply their understanding to explore and debate the current sociological issues outlined in each of the topic areas
  • Use sociological theories and evidence to compare and contrast social issues, construct reasoned arguments and debates, make substantiated judgements and draw conclusions
  • Draw connections between the different topic areas studied.


The GCSE exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives:

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sociological theories, concepts, evidence and methods.
  • AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of sociological theories, concepts, evidence and methods.
  • AO3: Analyse and evaluate sociological theories, concepts, evidence and methods in order to construct arguments, make judgements and draw conclusions.

Term 1Term 2Term 3
Year 10
The sociological approach
Social structures and processes
Research methods
FamiliesEducation
You will be studying the basics of Sociology which includes how to conduct research and use of appropriate research methods. Debates around whether sociology is a science and the key thinkers within sociology and what perspective they belong to.You will complete an examination of social factors which determine changing attitudes towards families, different sociological opinions on the function of the family, and ways that relationships within the family has changed in the last 50 years.You will complete an examination of social factors which determine the achievement of students in school, differing sociological opinions on the role of the education system, and ways in which the education system has changed in the last 50 years.
Year 11
Crime and DevianceStratificationRevision
You will complete an examination of social factors which determines why some people may commit crime, how criminal behaviour is dealt with in society and whether these methods are effective.You will complete an examination of how inequalities ranging from class, gender and disability shape the opportunities we have in society.You will engage in structured revision and regular exam practice across the two examined papers.


A-Level Sociology (AQA)

This qualification offers an engaging and effective introduction to Sociology. Students will learn the fundamentals of the subject and develop skills valued by higher education and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research.

Assessments continue to employ a variety of familiar question types, including short answer and extended writing/essays, which target:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Application
  • Analysis and evaluation

The specification appeals to a cross-section of students, regardless of whether they have studied the subject before. They build on skills developed in the sciences and humanities, and enable progression into a wide range of other subjects.


AQA A-Level sociology definition of progress

This specification requires students to:

  • Acquire knowledge and a critical understanding of contemporary social processes and social changes appreciate the significance of theoretical and conceptual issues in sociological debate
  • Understand and evaluate sociological methodology and a range of research methods through active involvement in the research process
  • Develop skills that enable individuals to focus on their personal identity, roles and responsibilities within society
  • Develop a lifelong interest in social issues.


The A-Level exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives:

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
    • Sociological theories, concepts and evidence
    • Sociological research methods
  • AO2: Apply sociological theories, concepts, evidence and research methods to a range of issues
  • AO3: Analyse and evaluate sociological theories, concepts, evidence and research methods in order to:
    • Present arguments
    • Make judgements
    • Draw conclusions.

PaperWhat's AssessedAssessment
Paper 1: Education with Theory and MethodsEducation, Theories and methods in the context of educational research2 hour written exam
80 marks
33.3% of A-level
Paper 2: Topics in SociologySection A: Families and Households
Section B: Beliefs in Society
2 hour written exam
80 marks
33.3% of A-level
Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and MethodsCrime and Deviance; Theories and methods in the context of criminological research2 hour written exam
80 marks
33.3% of A-level


Learning Outside the Classroom

In Year 13 we offer students two trips which support the A-Level curriculum.  The first is the opportunity to attend a trial at Lewes Crown Court, which helps to underpin students’ understanding of the Criminal Justice System and see concepts and theories that they have learnt about in action.  The second trip is to the House of Commons, where we have previously been fortunate enough to have the local the Member of Parliament for Crawley, Henry Smith meet with the students, spend time outlining his role as an MP and answer student questions. He also arranged for the class to be admitted into the public gallery of the House of Commons to watch ‘Questions to The Home Secretary’.