The social sciences are those subjects which examine and explain human society and behaviours. A diverse range of subjects, courses and topics are offered to students within the department. We offer courses that are both vocational and traditional academic subjects. All of these courses are designed to equip students with knowledge and transferable skills in particular literacy, analysis and evaluation required for their futures.
All of our courses aim to prepare students for the next stage of their lives. This may be studying one of our subjects in greater depth or beginning training for a particular career pathway. At St Thomas More we offer courses in health and social care, child development and care, psychology and sociology.
Sociology is the study of people in society. It is concerned with human relationships in institutions such as the family, education, police, media and politics. In Sociology, we explore a variety of theories (such as Feminist and Marxist) and apply recognised research methods to analyse societal inequalities, deprivation and conflict within different social classes, ethnic groups and genders.
The curriculum intent of Sociology at St Thomas More is to develop students’ academic research, critical thinking and writing skills. It will also encourage students to become self-aware and develop cultural competence.
At St Thomas More, we offer AQA A level Sociology. This is a linear qualification, where learning is assessed through three external examinations, which are taken at the end of Year 13. Each examination is worth 33.33% of the overall grade and they are each two hours long, featuring a mixture of short mark and essay questions.
Exam papers are on the following topics;
1.Education with Theory and Methods.
In preparation for this examination students are taught trends in educational achievement and evaluate explanations put forward by sociologists. They also study competing arguments over the purpose of education and the impact of government policy on student experience of education. Within methods students study a range of different qualitative and quantitative research methods as well as how to implement and evaluate them.
2. Topics in Sociology.
In preparation for this examination students study families and households in year 12. They study Issues such as how child centred society is, how diverse families are today, demographic trends and the division of labour in families. In year 13 students study the media including topics such as how the media affects behaviour, how different groups are represented in the media and how the news is socially constructed.
3. Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods
in preparation for this examination students study trends in crime and deviance and evaluate explanations put forward by sociologists. They also study methods of crime reduction and the impact of living in a global society on criminality. Theory and methods is the final topic studied. After studying sociological theories within topics the final element of the course involves taking an holistic approach to understanding how society functions. Students also study key methodological issues such as is sociology a science and can research be value free.
Examinations will measure how far students have achieved the following assessment objectives (AO);
The overall qualification will be graded A*, A, B, C, D, E.
All social science lessons follow a common thread of being engaging and linked to real life situations. Lessons are tailored to meet the demands of relevant specifications and the needs of our learners. We promote a growth mindset amongst our students throughout all our communication, both verbal and non-verbal. Displays are present in our classrooms and starter activities regularly include tasks designed to promote growth mindset.
Our A Level subjects, Psychology and Sociology are both linear courses and are usually new subjects for our learners. Therefore, we initially induct students into the key themes of each subject such as culture, inequalities and the nature verses nurture debate. Specialist teachers use active lessons to deliver key content and then students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through making links to real life situations. Further developing the ability for students to see the synoptic links between topics and understand the holistic nature of their courses. Any misconceptions can then also be addressed. Weekly recall tasks are used to reinforce previous learning, focussed on key concepts whilst further imbedding links between topics. When studying research methods, mini projects are undertaken to bring the methods to life. Assessment and exam question planning and reflections take place regularly. Students develop the skills to interpret exam questions, plan how to answer them before writing a response. These responses are assessed by their teacher or a self / peer assessment takes place, which leads directly to reflection and target setting.
For the Sixth Form once a fortnight there is a lunchtime support session alongside an afterschool one on Fridays.
A Level Sociology
For more information or if you have any questions please use the contact details below.
Mrs J Burton – Head of Department – JBurton@stmca.org.uk
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