Ysgol Stanwell School

Archer Road, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, CF64 2XL


Head of Department
Mr G Morgan
Miss H Parry
Mrs J Warren

Sociology is the study of human society and behaviour. Sociology challenges and breaks down common sense assumptions and offers scientific and sociological explanations of human behaviour. The course allows you the opportunity to apply sociology to an analysis of contemporary societies and to your own experience. Sociology is a subject which can be controversial and challenging and is a subject for students who are interested in the world locally, nationally and globally.

Is Britain a classless society? How relevant is Marxism today? Is the family still an important institution? How influential is the mass media? Is Britain a patriarchal society? Is class the most important factor in how well you do in school? If these are the sort of questions that interest you then Sociology may be the subject to choose.

Compatible Subjects

All, but especially other social sciences and humanities subjects e.g. History, English, Politics, Psychology, Geography, Languages.


Sociology as a subject dates back to the 18th century with its own language, concepts and tradition. Studying Sociology will show organisational and communication skills and an ability to understand social behaviour and the world around you. Sociology A Level has universal acceptance as a qualification for entry into higher education and professional careers, and is a springboard to a number of careers including: education, social work, journalism, caring professions, management, police, law, and politics.

Content (AQA Examination Board)

There are two main themes which run through all modules and will be taught as part of the course. They are:

  • socialisation, culture and identity
  • social differentiation, power and stratification

Advanced Subsidiary (AS) – Year 12

  • Module 1: Families and Households
    • Assessment is through response to data, involving shorter answers for the first four questions, but then building up to more extended answers for the last two questions. The examination is 1 hour and worth 40% of AS (and 20% of A Level).
  • Module 2: Education and Sociological Research Methods
    • Assessment is through response to data, involving shorter answers, but then building up to more extended answers for the last question. Questions are set on both education and methods and the application of research methods in education. The examination is 2 hours and worth 60% of AS (and 30% of A Level).

Advanced Level (A2) – Year 13

  • Module 3: Beliefs in Society
    • Assessment is through one data response question, one extended answer and one essay from a choice of two. The examination is 1 hour 30 minutes and is worth 20%.
  • Module 4: Crime and Deviance and Theory and Methods
    • Assessment is through a three part question. Question one is on crime and deviance, question two is on the application of research methods in crime and deviance, and question three is on sociological theory and methods. The examination is 2 hours and worth 30% of A Level.

Further Information on Content

  1. Stratification: this examines the class structure inBritain and the consequence this has on life-chances, health, holidays, education, values and beliefs, power and wealth.
  2. Culture and Identity: culture, socialisation, social construction of different influences on how your identity is constructed e.g. class, media.
  3. Family: this includes the study of gender relationships, power in families, changes in family size and definition, the role of the family in society, childhood and old age, divorce.
  4. Education: this includes the study on the role of education (opportunity or control) and why some children do better than others (class, gender, and race), state/government policies on education.
  5. Theory and Methods: includes the study of the perspectives in sociology including post-modernism, Marxism and Functionalism, the method used including questionnaire and observation, science and value freedom.
  6. Power and Politics: this includes the reasons for voting behaviour; the role of the state, theories of power, interest groups, social movements and power today.
  7. Beliefs: ideology of religion, religious change, secularisation, organisations and movements today.
  8. Deviance: this includes the study and explanations of crime, deviance and youth culture, social control and power.


Regular assessment will take place throughout year 12 and 13 on the knowledge and skills required to succeed in AS and A2 level.

Teaching and Learning Styles

A range of styles will be pursued including: group work, teacher led lessons, research, discussions, use of videos, tables, diagrams, note taking. A seminar type approach is regularly used with the emphasis on discussion. Typed notes and booklets on all the topics are distributed. Students also receive AS/A2 Sociology textbooks.

Transition to AS and A Level

The course requires commitment and self-discipline. Sociology is an academic subject where the skills of understanding, interpretation and evaluation of sociological knowledge need to be shown through discussions and written assignments and tests. Background reading over the summer holidays would prove beneficial.

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