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Hatcham College



Head of Department  Mr D Crowley
Email d.crowley@haaf.org.uk 


subject overview 

Students can choose to start the study of Sociology at Key Stage 4. Sociology is the academic study of society. For students to be able to understand the content of the subject they have to learn about a range of different micro and macro social theories; the full range of quantitative and qualitative research methods used to study social trends; memorise 30 key studies and a wide range of specialist vocabulary linked to the different topics studied. The core academic writing skills are application, analysis and evaluation and these are tested through students’ ability to answer short mark questions (2, 3 and 4 mark questions) and in debating a proposition in 12 mark, essay-style answers. The Year 10 sequencing of the GCSE follows that suggested by the exam board. This is chronological, beginning with the Sociology of the Family before moving onto the Sociology of Education. This makes logical sense, as students are encouraged to consider the development of the individual as part of society, coming from their primary care givers, before reaching the initial stage of secondary socialisation, which is school. The sequencing of Year 11 deviates from that suggested by the exam board. We teach the Social Stratification unit first, and finish with Crime and Deviance (rather than the other way around). The rationale for this is that Crime and Deviance is consistently the favourite topic for most students and it supports their enthusiasm for the subject towards the close of the course. Also, much of the content of the Social Stratification topic resonates most strongly with the Education topic, so again, there is greater logic in starting Year 11 with this topic, as the Education topic was how students completed Year 10 and this aids revision and recall, and further supports students’ appreciation of Sociology as a holistic subject, rather than separate and unconnected topics.


Year 10 topics

Terms 1 and 2: The Sociological Approach (introduction to the study of society, core key concepts and social theories; The Sociological Approach (Introduction to Research Methods, studied in the context of the four topics taught across the GCSE)

Terms 3 and 4: Sociology of the Family with Research Methods

Terms 5 and 6: Sociology of Education with Research Methods

Year 11 topics

Terms 1 and 2: Social Stratification with Research Methods

Terms 3 and 4: Crime and Deviance with Research Methods

Term 5: Revision


How is this qualification assessed?

Exam board: AQA

The GCSE is awarded on 100% summative linear exam assessment.


Key Stage 4 Homework

Pre-reading with multiple-choice questions (also used in the exam) is set on a weekly basis; 12-mark questions are set as a homework task once per half term, while 12-mark answer planning is a more regular homework task which leads to timed 12-mark practice in lessons.


How is this subject assessed?

There is ongoing internal assessment practising exam questions using teacher and student assessment – student assessment mainly used for short answer questions, while peer and self-assessment of 12-mark questions are incorporated more in Year 11 as students develop better mastery of the subject and assessment requirements.

At the end of each topic students sit a past paper section of that topic. At the end of Year 10 students sit a full Year 1 paper. In the calendared Pre-Public Examination sessions in Year 2 students sit full Year 1 papers and the relevant sections of the Year 2 paper. Students sit two full past papers, Year 1 and Year 2, in May of Year 11, before their final exams.


Teacher questioning of students following direct instruction pedagogy takes place in every lesson. Each topic uses a booklet which incorporates planned questions which stretch students in their application skills and analytical and evaluative writing skills. Short mark questions are used as plenaries on a weekly basis, these are teacher assessed initially, and students are trained in self-assessment using modelled and worked answers. 12-mark question planning and answering is planned as a class activity a minimum of twice per topic.


Do Now tasks are planned based on previous learning, e.g. defining key concepts from previous lessons that are relevant to the current lesson, asking simple content check questions from previous lessons that are relevant to the current lesson in the sequence of learning. Students write their answers to these questions in a quiet classroom atmosphere at the start of the lesson. Regular questioning of students and use of targeted extended questioning support students’ knowledge retention.


Folders are collected once per half term and students’ classwork is read and assessed for effort and accuracy. Students receive a feedback sheet from their folder marking and have WWW/EBI feedback. Extended pieces of writing, such as 12 mark answers, are given a numerical mark and WWW/EBI feedback and a feedback task, once per half term, and the feedback task is also checked and returned. The exam board does not hold students to account for SPAG, however, Sociology marking highlights SPAG errors and students are encouraged to correct these errors, in their feedback.


How does the subject challenge more able pupils?

Planned extension tasks are included in the topic booklets, a wider reading list is provided, targeted and extended questioning for more able pupils is used in lessons, seating plans with grouped tables ensure that more able students are sat together. In-class grouping does depend on the class dynamics and in general a mixture of abilities on grouped tables is the goal for the Sociology classroom, to support the wider understanding and appreciation of different lived experiences of students from different social backgrounds and of different abilities. This aids subject mastery as students are able to recognise the subject outside of its taught content and in the context of the society and institution.


What provision is made for pupils with SEND?

Quality first teaching in all of our lessons places an emphasis on high-quality inclusive teaching that utilises a range of strategies to support the learning of pupils with SEND in the classroom. There are also vocabulary booklets to support students’ ability to manage the extensive range of vocabulary taught and used in the subject, targeted support classes in Year 11, topic booklets that explain complex theory and vocabulary in more accessible language, seating plans that ensure SEND pupils are sat in appropriate places in the classroom based on their need, scaffolded support for extended writing tasks, modelling of exam question answering and worked examples, and consistent re-cap of prior learning. All Powerpoints use a yellow background.


Enrichment and extra-curricular opportunities

A wider reading list provided and a support class is offered in Year 11.


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