Ysgol Stanwell School

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

Sociology

Head of Department
Mr G Penny
Teachers
Mrs M Clements
Miss H Parry
Mrs J Warren

What is Sociology?

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 type of questions that interest you then Sociology may be the subject to choose.

Students study the WJEC A level Examination in Sociology and the following topics are studied:

  1. Acquiring Culture, with a specific focus on families and households.
  2. Understanding Society, with a specific focus on Education and Sociological Methods.
  3. Power and Control with a specific focus on Crime and Deviance.
  4. Social Inequality and Applied Methods of Sociological Enquiry.

Advanced Subsidiary (AS) – Year 12

Unit 1: Families and Households

Assessment is through compulsory questions and a choice between two essay questions. The examination is 1 hour and 15 minutes and worth 15% of A Level.

Unit 2: Education and Sociological Research Methods

Assessment is through compulsory questions and a choice between two essay questions. The examination is 2 hours and worth 25% of A Level.

Advanced Level (A2) – Year 13

Unit 3: Crime and Deviance

Assessment is through a compulsory section with two questions and a further section with a choice between two essay questions. The examination is 2 hours and worth 25% of A Level.

Unit 4: Social Inequality and Applied Methods of Sociological Enquiry.

For sociological enquiry, assessment is through one compulsory section which will require learners to design, justify and evaluate a piece of sociological research. For social inequality, assessment is through a choice of two sections with two questions in each, one of which is an essay. The examination is 2 hours and 15 minutes and is worth 35% of A Level.

Further Information with regards to the Content

  • Socialisation, Culture and Identity: culture, socialisation, social construction of different influences on how your identity is constructed e.g. class, gender, ethnicity, nationality.
  • Families and Households: this includes family diversity, the study of gender relationships, power in families, changes in family size and definition, the role of the family in society, social policy, theories on family and demographic changes, marriage, divorce, and cohabitation.
  • Education: this includes the study of the sociological theories, the role of education (opportunity or control) and why some children do better than others (class, gender, and race); role of processes in schools, state/government policies on education.
  • Crime and Deviance: this includes the study and explanations of crime, deviance and youth culture, social control and power; corporate, state and green crimes and the impact of globalisation. Also, how class, gender, ethnicity, age and locality affects patterns of crime and deviance.
  • Social Inequality: this examines the class structure in Britain and the consequence this has on life-chances, health, holidays, education, values and beliefs, power and wealth. Also social inequality based on gender, ethnicity and age.
  • Sociological Theories and Methods: includes the study of sociological perspectives including Marxism and Functionalism, Feminism, Interactionism, post-modernism and the methods used including questionnaires and observation; science, value freedom and social policies.

Entry Requirements

You will need to have achieved a minimum of 5 A* – C grades at GCSE, including a C grade in English Language and a Humanities subject (e.g. History, RE, Geography).

Assessment

Regular assessment will take place throughout Year 12 and 13, with a focus on the knowledge and skills required to succeed at AS and A2 level.

Teaching and Learning Styles

The Sociology Department uses a range of teaching strategies, activities and resources. Typed notes are often distributed and you are also encouraged to read and research and share your ideas with other students. The seminar type approach is regularly used with the emphasis on discussion. There is also time allotted for practising examination and essay skills. Use is made of digital resources in addition to textbooks and handouts.

Transition to AS and A Level

The course requires commitment, enthusiasm and a desire to find out about and study Britain today. Sociology is an academic subject where the skills of understanding, interpretation and evaluation of sociological knowledge need to be shown through discussions, written assignments and tests. Background reading would prove beneficial.

Compatible Subjects

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

Prospects

The course requires commitment, enthusiasm and a desire to find out about and study Britain today. Sociology is an academic subject where the skills of understanding, interpretation and evaluation of sociological knowledge need to be shown through discussions, written assignments and tests. Background reading would prove beneficial.

Prospects

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.

Careers Wales Mark Eco Schools Healthy Schools Vale Network Welsh Baccalaureate Arts Council of Wales