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GCSE Sociology (Exam Board: AQA)

Sociology is the ‘study of society’ and it is a very popular GCSE and A Level at the school. The term ‘society’ refers to the world around you, your community, your country, and all the different people and groups that exist, with their different cultures, beliefs, values, languages, religions etc.

It gives pupils the chance to study and understand why things are the way they are, and why people behave in certain ways.  Examples of issues that students look at include: Why do some people commit crime? Why do girls do much better at school than boys? Why are we seeing an increase in divorce and a decrease in people getting married? Why is there so much inequality and poverty in the country?

Sociology gives pupils with an interest in social issues, social justice and current affairs the opportunity to gain a valuable understanding and insight into how society works and how the structures and processes in society, inevitably shape who we are, how we behave and many other aspects of our lives and life chances.  Pupils develop an understanding of how individuals, groups, institutions and societies are interdependent; the way in which they cooperate and conflict with each other, and the potential causes for the social differences between individuals.  Pupils are encouraged to think critically and analytically, and to make informed judgements and arguments based on evidence and theories.  Pupil are asked to reflect on their own experiences of the world in which they live and to develop an increased awareness and understanding of the world they live in and role they play in it.


Sociology (4190) http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/sociology/gcse/specification-4190

At GCSE, pupils follow the AQA syllabus which offers them the opportunity to study a wide range of topics and issues within sociology. It provides pupils will an excellent foundation of sociological knowledge which they can then build on at A Level and beyond if they chose to continue with the subject.

The topics that pupils cover at GCSE are:

  • Introduction to Sociology / What is society?
  • Research Methods
  • Family
  • Media
  • Crime and deviance
  • Social inequality and poverty

This subject suits pupils that enjoy English and written based subjects. The course requires pupils to complete extended writing and essay tasks, as well as independent research, so being comfortable reading and writing is essential. An interest in current issues and an ability to discuss these and consider other viewpoints is also beneficial.

Pupils will take 2 papers at the end of year 11, 1.5 hours each.

A Level Sociology (Exam Board: OCR)

Sociology is the study of society and looks at how everyday experiences shape our lives. In particular, pupils will study patterns of behaviour within social groups and the impact of class, gender, ethnicity and age on social relationships.  The focus of the course will be the UK, but references will be made to other cultures as well.

You will be involved in many different activities including:

  • Debates and discussions on various issues
  • Independent research and presenting your findings or designing a poster
  • Watching documentaries and answering questions on topical issues
  • Examining studies performed by social researchers to draw out strengths and weaknesses in their approach


This is a linear A level course; In the second year of the course, you will take external exams that assess content covered in the first and second year.  These exams will determine your A level grade.

Year 1 and 2

  • Socialisation, culture and identity - ask questions such as: how are cultures formed? How do we learn our identities from the environment around us?
  • The sociology of youth - how is youth socially constructed? What is the relationship between young people and sub-cultures? Why are some young people more likely to commit crime?
  • How sociologists carry out their research - what are the problems with trying to research human behaviour?
  • Contemporary issues in sociology e.g. globalisation in the digital era. Issues such as how Facebook makes people less satisfied with life; why 75% of 16-24 year-olds claim they couldn’t live without the internet and how the sexes behave differently online.
  • The sociology of education - the structure of the education system in the UK. What function does education have in society? Explaining differences in educational achievement. Global issues in educational provision?
  • Social inequality and difference with research methods - what are the inequalities and differences experienced by different genders, classes, ages and ethnicities? How are research methods used and combined to study this area?

The best sociology pupils are interested in the world around them and pay attention to respectable news bulletins. We recommend that students take the opportunity to not only keep up to date with current affairs but to also watch any of the fascinating documentaries produced by the BBC or Channel 4 about society and human behaviour.  Good examples include the Cutting Edge series, Horizon, Panorama or Dispatches.

Many topics of sociological debate are also documented in British films and novels. Films such as 'Brick Lane', 'Billy Elliot', 'This is England', 'Made in Dagenham' and 'Pride' brilliantly document changes to British society in relation to ethnic, social class, gender and age identity.  All of which are key topics embedded throughout the course.

Course Resources

1st year - OCR sociology for A Level Book 1 - ISBN: 9781471839481, Hodder Education 2015, RRP: £24.99, also available as as eTextbook from £16.

2nd year - OCR sociology for A Level Book 2 - ISBN: 9781471839450, Hodder Education 2016, RRP: £24.99

Useful Websites and Resources

GCSE Revision book – GCSE Sociology for AQA: Revision Guide and Exam Practice Workbook (Collins GCSE Revision) by Pauline Wilson (Author)



Extra-curricular links

Pupils studying GCSE Sociology will have the opportunity to experience a wide range of enrichment  activities.  There will be an opportunity to visit a local court during the Crime and Deviance unit, as  well as the opportunity to engage in debates surrounding key topical issues.

Cross-curricular links

There are strong cross-curricular links with both Psychology and Health and Social Care.


Miss S Jafar

Mr R Soteriou

Miss N Yesmin

Mr S Ahmed

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