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A Level Sociology

Curriculum Overview and Philosophy

The sociology curriculum is centred around empowering with knowledge and understanding of the society that they have grown up in, to help them understand their position within it, and that of others in it, also. The knowledge on the sociology course is sometimes challenging and uncomfortable, however, it is always delivered with sensitivity and the message of empowerment is reiterated to students, in lessons. To help students develop this sociological knowledge and understanding, they are introduced to a classical range of theories and studies, and research methods. 

Our curriculum consistently provides opportunities for oracy and self-expression and promotes the habit of reading widely and often, with the intention of creating life-long readers for both pleasure and information. The sociology department encourages creativity when writing whilst using accurate sociological subject knowledge; in sociology, creativity without accuracy doesn’t equate to effective learning. 

Students at Hatcham will be equipped to independently analyse and evaluate different arguments on a range of topics from the specification. They learn how to interpret exam questions and judge what opposing arguments are to create debate and reach conclusion in their writing. The sociological department uses the AQA specification and as such teaches a classical sociological education, at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5, which prepares young people interested in studying sociology at university, excellently well.  

Key Stage 5

Year 12



Key Knowledge 

The knowledge students need to enable them to progress to the next stage? 

Tier 3 Vocabulary 

Subject specific vocabulary 

Links to previous and future knowledge 

Introduction to sociology 

- Know the difference between conflict and consensus theory arguments, and action theory arguments 

-Know and use a range of core vocab, e.g. norms, values, socialisation 

- 10 mark questions, with and without item 

Norms, values, socialisation, consensus, conflict, revolution, organic analogy, power, hierarchy, culture, ethnicity, gender, social class, social groups, (agencies of) social control, communism, capitalism, authority, social constructionism, 

No expectation of prior knowledge. Students who studied sociology at GCSE will be familiar with content 

Sociology of families 

-Wide range of identifiable family structures that exist in the UK, and globally 

-Debate around extent of family diversity in UK 

-learning trends in families, e.g. size/birth/life expectancy/marriage/divorce 

-Theories of families, Marxist, feminist, functionalist, New Right 

Nuclear/extended/same sex parent/lone parent/family, divorce, separation,  

Theories and concepts from the introductory unit run through the families unit, and all other units on the A level course 

Sociology of families / sociology of education 

Social policy on families 


-History of education in the UK, 1870 Education Act through successive 20th century education acts building to 21st century policy on academisation as part of marketisation started in 1988 

-theories of education, Marxist, New Right, functionalist, feminist, action theory/labelling 


Equal Marriage Act, Civil Partnerships Act, Divorce Act 1969 and 2019, family diversity, bedroom tax, tax credits 


Marketisation, ethnocentric curriculum, labelling, self-fulfilling prophecy, ability grouping, compensatory education e.g. EMA, comprehensive education, tripartite system, 11+ exam, anti-school subcultures,  

Sociology of families fits chronologically with education in students’ understanding of their passage through society.  

Sociology of education, research methods 

-Trends in education, progress and attainment/subject choice/student experience 

-The impact of globalisation on education 

A*-C economy, educational triage, institutional racism in education,  

The combined understanding of family and education as early stages of sociological understanding prepare students for studying Y13 topics 

Sociology of education, research methods 

-Learn full range of quantitative and qualitative primary and secondary methods and data sources, and strengths and weaknesses of each 

-Learn and practice answering structures for 20 mark methods in context questions 

Quantitative data, qualitative data, (un/semi/structured) interviews, (postal/self-completion) questionnaires, (non/participant, c/overt) observation, (lab/field) experiments, bias, practical issues, ethical issues, reliability, validity, representativeness, hawthorne effect, interviewer bias, observer effect 

A good understanding of research methods is at the heart of developing a genuine understanding of sociology as a discipline, research methods connects to all topics that can be studied in sociology. 

Revision, end of year PPEs, start Y13 course 

Revision of all content and Full paper 1 PPE and families section of paper 2. 


Starting Y13: sociology as a science debate, value freedom debate 

Scientificity, value freedom, grounded theory, committed sociology, paradigm, verificationism, falsification, deductive theory, inductive theory, realism 

Beginning Theory and Methods at end of Y12 syncs Y12 with Y13 

Year 13




Key Knowledge 

The knowledge students need to enable them to progress to the next stage? 

Tier 3 Vocabulary 

Subject specific vocabulary 

Links to previous and future knowledge 

Theory and Methods, out of context 


Sociology of crime and deviance 

-Theory in greater depth than previously studied, out of context: Marxism, feminism, functionalism, action theory 

- sociology as a science and value free debates (end of Y12) 

-Postmodernity, modernity, late modernity 

-Quantitative and qualitative research in more detail/revised 

-Social policy, out of context, theories of social policy 


Explaining theories of crime and deviance, in tandem with theories taught out of context on the theories and methods part of the course, X1 lesson on theory and methods and X2 lessons on same theory in context of crime and deviance 

-How to study crime and deviance, quantitatively and qualitatively 




Ruling class ideology, hegemony, repressive class apparatus, ideological class apparatus, social facts, social constructionism, organic analogy, indexicality, typifications, malestream, repudiation of metanarratives, enlightenment, social democracy 


Positive and negative sanctions, criminogenic capitalism, status frustration, marginalisation, inadequate socialisation, hereditary intelligence, maternal deprivation, 

The theories and methods part of the course intends to deepen students’ core sociological knowledge and understanding and add to their ability to answer exam questions on all exam papers 



Crime and deviance topic draws together many themes from education and families and builds on metacognition of sociology, complemented by the theory and methods section of the course which is taught in tandem with crime and deviance 

Sociology of crime and deviance 

-Trends in crime and deviance, by social group, gender, ethnicity, class 

-Globalisation and crime 

-State crime 

-Green crime and green criminology/links with critical criminology  

Institutional racism, intersectionality, structural inequality, corporate crime, ecocide, anthropomorphism,  

As above 

Beliefs in society 

-Definitions of religion, belief system and faith 

-Religion as a force for social change of stagnation 

-Globalisation and religion 

- Religious fundamentalism 

- Sects, cults, denominations and new religious movements 

Substantive, constructionist and functional definitions, honest broker, moral high ground, fundamentalism, sects, cults, denominations, counter hegemony 

The beliefs in society topic is the only part of the course not taught on the GCES, so for students who studied GCSE sociology at Hatcham it is particularly interesting, for all students it provides a ‘missing link’ with family and to an extent education and many of the concept from the Theory and Methods sections come alive in the Beliefs topic 

Beliefs in society / revision 

-Science, ideology, belief systems 

-Relationships between social groups and religion, social class, gender, ethnicity 


As above 

Revision / public exams 

Revision/exam skills practice of all topics taught on the A levels 



Public exams 

End of the road! 

Best of luck! 

Stay in touch! 

A Level Sociology