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Woodlands offers students the chance to gain a GCSE qualification in sociology studying the AQA 9-1 GCSE course. There is also the opportunity for students to progress onto AS/A-Level sociology. The course is co-taught by the Deputy and Assistant Head Teacher. GCSE Sociology helps students to gain knowledge and understanding of key social structures, processes, and issues through the following topics of study:

  • Families

  • Education

  • Crime and deviance

  • Social stratification

They will also learn how to apply various research methods to different sociological contexts. They will be introduced to sociological terms and concepts concerned with social structures, social processes, and social issues.

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.

The assessment methods for this course are two written examinations. AQA has created clear and well-structured examinations, with a mixture of question styles making it very accessible for all KS4 students.

Students at Woodlands seem to enjoy the opportunity that sociology lessons bring for debate and in-depth discussions of the world around us, it encourages students to question, to enquire, and teaches social skills and the importance of listening and appreciating the different perspectives of others.


A Level Sociology

We are delighted to offer A Level Sociology at Woodlands for students who achieve a Grade 5 or above at GCSE or prove their capability. Studying AQA AS Level Sociology allows students to explore people within society, examining how social structures, groups and organisations impact on social behaviour. A Level Sociology builds on the work covered at GCSE level taking it to a higher level of depth and detail. It provides a strong foundation for students wishing to pursue a wide range of subjects including social sciences at degree level or pursue variety of careers including teaching, social work, law, journalism and the civil service.


The course is assessed with a variety of familiar question types, including short answer and extended writing/essays, which target the key areas of:

• Knowledge and understanding (AO1)

• Application (AO2)

• Analysis and evaluation (AO3)

Students’ understanding of research methods, gained through classroom experience of practical sociology, will be assessed through the 'methods in context' format.

The students will sit 2 exam papers which makes up 100% of the overall grade; paper 1 and paper 2 both weighted equally at 50%.

Subject content:

AS Sociology has three compulsory topics: Education; methods in context and research methods. There are also four optional topics: Culture and identity; Families and Households; Health; Work Poverty and Welfare.

The study of these topics should allow students to engage in theoretical debate while encouraging an active involvement with the research process.

The study should foster a critical awareness of contemporary social processes and change, and draw together the knowledge, understanding and skills learnt in different aspects of the course.

The central focus of study for AS Sociology is on UK society today, with consideration given to comparative dimensions of UK society within its globalised context.

The following topics are currently taught at Woodlands school:

Image by Green Chameleon

“I took sociology at GCSE due to how interesting society is to me. After receiving a grade 5 in my GCSE, I decided to continue my studies and chose to study sociology at AS level -

I am hoping to further my knowledge in University.”

Research Methods

Students must examine the following areas:

• Quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design

• Sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non-participant observation,

experiments, documents and official statistics

• The distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data

• The relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of ‘social facts’

• The theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method(s) and the conduct of research

Families and Households

Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:

• The relationship of the family to the social structure and social change, with particular reference to the economy and to state policies

• Changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, childbearing and the life course,

including the sociology of personal life, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures

• Gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships within the family in contemporary society

• The nature of childhood, and changes in the status of children in the family and society

• Demographic trends in the United Kingdom since 1900: birth rates, death rates, family size, life expectancy, ageing population, and migration and globalisation.


Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:

• The role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy and to class structure

• Differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society

• Relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships,

pupil identities and subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning

• The significance of educational policies, including policies of selection, marketisation and privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or outcome, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of and access to education; the impact of globalisation on educational policies.


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