At Holcombe, our A-level and GCSE in Sociology aims to inspire students to reflect upon the world we live in, fostering an understanding of the inter-relationships between individuals, groups, institutions and societies. It enables students to develop critical thinking and appreciate theoretical and conceptual issues.
Studying Sociology provides students with the exciting opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and reflect on social issues that are often relevant to their own social experiences. It opens up fascinating discussions, for example ‘nature versus nurture?’, ‘how do sociologists investigate inequality in society?’ and ‘what is the purpose of education?’ Students acquire knowledge and a critical understanding of contemporary society and social changes.
Students have the opportunity to develop a broad set of transferrable key skills, including the ability to analyse and formulate clear, logical arguments, with scope for extensive evaluation from a range of theoretical perspectives. They develop strong critical thinking skills and are able to consider issues with a global outlook. This will be of huge benefit to students moving forward, whether this is in further education, the workplace or society in general.
In Sociology we aim to encourage students’ curiosity and interest in the society around them, developing a sociological imagination. Society affects us all directly, it shapes our lives, and it shapes our interactions with other individuals, groups and institutions. Therefore, for anyone who has ever questioned why things are the way they are, Sociology is a ‘must study’ subject. Sociology gives a clear insight into the working of society and social interactions.
|How will you be assessed?
Externally assessed examinations in year 13. Three papers each 2 hours long and worth 80 marks.
|What will you study?|
Education with Research Methods in Context
|The role and purpose of education in Society. Differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity. Relationships and processes within schools: pupil subcultures, hidden curriculum. The significance of educational policies: selection, comprehensivisation and marketization. The application of sociological research methods to the study of education.|
Families and Households
|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, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures. The nature and extent of changes within the family, with reference to gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships. The nature of childhood, and changes in the status of children in the family and society. Demographic trends in the UK since 1900; reasons for changes in birth and death rates.|
|Paper 2B: Beliefs in Society
|Different theories of ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non‐Christian religious traditions. The relationship between religious beliefs and social change and stability. Religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements, and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice. The relationship between different social groups and religious/spiritual organisations and movements, beliefs and practices. The significance of religion and religiosity in the contemporary world, including the nature and extent of secularisation in a global context.|
|Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods
|Different theories of crime, deviance, social order and social control. The social distribution of crime and deviance. Globalisation and crime; the mass media and crime; human rights and state crimes. Crime control, prevention and punishment. The connections between sociological theory and methods. Theory and Methods: The relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods. Consensus, conflict, structural and social action theories. The concepts of modernity and post‐modernity. The extent to which sociology can be regarded as scientific. The relationship between sociology and social policy.|
|GCSE – What will you study?
Paper 1 – The Sociology of Families and Education
100 marks 1 hour 45 minutes
• The sociology of families
• The sociology of education
• Relevant areas of social theory and methodology
Paper 2 – The Sociology of Crime and Deviance and Social Stratification
100 marks 1 hour and 45 minutes
• The sociology of crime and deviance
• The sociology of social stratification
• Relevant areas of social theory and methodology
|Delivery of content
Online Learning Support
Advanced level – To support your study at A-level there are a vast range of websites, podcasts and documentaries for you to engage with. This is not an exhaustive list, however engagement with the below will deepen your sociological imagination:
GCSE Online Support
What will Sociology offer you in the future?
Sociology after Holcombe aims to help students to:
- Develop an understanding of the interrelationships between individuals, groups, institutions
- and societies.
- Analyse critically the nature and sources of information and to base reasoned judgements
- and arguments on evidence.
- Organise and communicate their knowledge and understanding in different and creative
- ways, and reach substantiated judgements.
- Appreciate the significance of theoretical and conceptual issues in debate
- Understand and evaluate methodology and a range of research methods
- Develop skills that enable them to focus on their personal identity, roles and responsibilities
- within society
- Develop a lifelong interest in social issues
Studying Sociology will change the way you look at the world. You will learn the value of evidence based knowledge over common sense. Skills of analysis, interpretation and self-expression will be developed. Studying Sociology at A-level aids progression to University in a wide range of subjects and a variety of careers and professions including social policy, social work, journalism, human resources, public sector work. In comparison to other disciplines, sociology graduates have high rates of employability across a range of fields.
The course content has been designed to inspire, nurture and develop learners to be valuable citizens of our society. Popular topics such as identity, families and relationships and crime and deviance have been selected by the Holcombe Sociology Department, these are taught with sensitivity to the themes of respect, tolerance and inclusivity. A strong global dimension is included to reflect contemporary society. Sociology at Holcombe develops critical and reflective thinking with a respect for social diversity and encourages an awareness of the importance of social structure and social action in explaining social issues.
Throughout the course the importance and value of democracy and the rule of law is delivered synoptically throughout all the topics, especially through the key themes of socialisation, power, social stratification and individual identity.
Students are encouraged to develop their own sociological awareness through active involvement with the contemporary social world, which is shared in classroom work including discussion and debate, conducted with tolerance and mutual respect of different views and beliefs, whilst still being open to challenge in a critical manner for analysis. Students are encouraged to be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study and to reflect on their own experience of the social world to enhance their ability to play informed roles within different social contexts.