Sociology Curriculum

Key Stage 4

Sociology Curriculum Intent - Key Stage 4

The intent of our sociology curriculum at Aston Academy is to provide excellent standards of teaching and learning which enables all students to reach their full potential both personally and academically. We aim to develop students to be passionate learners of sociology, who are equipped with the knowledge and understanding of a range of sociological viewpoints, which will enable them to develop their own ideas, values and identity.

The sociology GCSE curriculum aims to develop in students a greater understanding of the structure of human societies, as seen through a range of perspectives. Studying social structures, processes and issues, through looking at families, education, crime and deviance and social stratification enables students to form reasoned opinions about the world we live in.   They will investigate and compare alternative explanations for the causes of problems in society, and consider ways these theories could be used to suggest improvements. By the end of the course, they will have a deeper insight into social issues and structures, and an appreciation of the diversity of modern life.   Sociology increases students’ curiosity about the social world around them, their place in it, and how society could progress.

Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including their analytical, assimilation and communication skills by comparing and contrasting perspectives on a variety of social issues.   They will learn how to construct logical, evidence based arguments, and draw justified conclusions.  Studying sociology facilitates the development of critical and higher order thinking skills, as they are constantly encouraged to look at alternative viewpoints, and reflect on their own opinions. Through their study of sociology, students will develop useful skills to increase their employability, including how to carry out research, foresee potential problems and find solutions for these.  Students are supported and encouraged to work methodically and independently, increasing confidence in their own abilities to work through complex ideas.

In sociology, we aim to provide continuous opportunities for students to develop their literacy skills. In each unit of work, students are encouraged to read independently and aloud. There will be a focus on developing subject vocabulary through the use of key word vocabulary books, which students create themselves, and regular key word tests. Many of the short answer exam questions embedded into lessons require students to explain sociological terms.  There is also regular opportunity for students to take part in discussion and debate on social issues, where they can develop their oracy skills and ideas.  Lesson content is covered in depth in order to secure knowledge retention. The sociology curriculum will teach cognitive and metacognitive strategies in order to aid memorisation.  Lessons in sociology are stimulating and engaging, incorporating a range of teaching and learning styles. Tasks within sociology are differentiated, allowing all students within mixed ability classes to access the curriculum, while stretching and challenging the most able.

Students are assessed at the end of year 11 through two written examinations, each lasting 1 hour 45 minutes, and each forming 50% of the GCSE. In addition to this, milestone tasks covering short answers and essay questions take place throughout the course, with formal tests at the end of each unit. 

Paper 1:

  • The sociology of families
  • The sociology of education
  • Relevant areas of social theory and methodology

Paper 2:

  • The sociology of crime and deviance
  • The sociology of social stratification

Relevant areas of social theory and methodology

Sociology Learning Plans

Please click the links below to view our Sociology learning plans.

KS4 Sociology Learning Plan

Sociology Learning Expectations

Please click the links below to view our Sociology learning expectations.

These documents show the progress we expect students to make by the end of each term.

KS4 Sociology Learning Expectations





















KS5 Sociology Intent statement

The purpose of our Sociology curriculum is to provide young people with the opportunity to begin to explore ways of making sense of the changing world around them.  Sociology is primarily concerned with examining social phenomena in a number of different ways; prompting students to engage with different ways of thinking and in doing so critically appraise different theoretical approaches to the investigation and explanation of human behaviour.  Sociology also intends to equip students with a wide range of transferable skills such as the ability to write clearly and critically, to engage effectively in argument and debate and conduct independent research.  We see Sociology as performing an important role in students’ personal development.  In the process of exploring different sociological questions and problems, students begin to reflect more objectively on the relationship between society and their own lived experience, as well as develop a life -long awareness and concern for others

Our curriculum follows the AQA A Level specification programme of study as it offers a range of attractive topic options, provides students with a firm grounding in the key theoretical debates, approaches and research methods and challenges students of all different abilities.  The year 12 topics, Sociology of Education, Families and Households and Research Methods provide an excellent entry point to Sociology, as they challenge students to apply the sociological imagination to societal institutions with which they are already familiar.  In year 13, the decision to teach the topics of Crime and Deviance and the Sociology of Beliefs is based on the popularity of the topics among students, as well as best reflecting the areas of expertise and interest of the staff in our faculty.  The curriculum is structured in such a way to promote student progress with the more complex topics and synoptic tasks falling in the second year of the course. 

Students will know various sociological explanations for the role and functions of the education system, the family and religion.  They will also know different sociological explanations for why people commit crime.  They will know differences between social groups in relation to issues such as educational achievement, levels of religiosity and the likelihood of becoming an offender or a victim of crime.  They will know issues and debates around research design including the relationship between sociology and science, positivism and interpretivism, theory and methods   Students will know and be able to apply a range of sociological theories, concepts and evidence to specific sociological and social problems. They will be able to analyse and evaluate sociological theories, concepts, evidence and research methods in order to present arguments, make judgements and draw conclusions. 

Students will complete the course having secured a knowledge and understanding of contemporary social processes and social changes, as well as an appreciation of the significance of theoretical and conceptual issues in sociological debate.  They will have had the opportunity to carry out their own social research and develop skills that enable them to make sense of their own personal identity and their roles and responsibilities within society. 

Assessment in Sociology follows a staged progression starting with milestone tasks that focus on knowledge and understanding, then to tasks that also require application, analysis and evaluation.  As debate and critical engagement with ideas, arguments and concepts form the basis of all sociology lessons, students are expected to produce extended pieces of writing from an early stage in the course.   Students receive regular detailed and personalised feedback on their work and time both in and outside of lessons is assigned to discuss and make constructive use of the feedback they are given.  As discussed earlier, the course is sequenced in such a way to ensure that learning is cumulative.  For example, in year one, students are introduced to a number of different sociological theories and research methods which they must apply to the topics of Education, Families and Households.  In year two, students must not only apply theories and methods to the topics they study but must critically appraise different sociological theories in relation to all of the topics they have studied over the two year course and consider the relationship between one’s theoretical perspective and method of investigation.  This requires students to engage with more complex, fundamental questions such as the nature of being and the suitability of the scientific method to the investigation of human behaviour. 

In sociology, a key part of the learning process involves discussion and debate with others.  At various points in the course, students are expected to work with others to produce pieces of work varying from presenting the findings of research to preparing a presentation or debate.  Students are also given the opportunity to conduct their own research into the topic of gender and subject choice at Aston Academy.  This requires students to form their own research project, engage with their fellow students, and analyse and present their results.  There are also regular opportunities within the course for students to engage with key sociological texts as well as pieces of film and television that grapple with sociological and political issues.  There are opportunities for extra-curricular visits and trips predominantly in the second year of the course.  Speakers are invited in to the academy to present their position on the topic ‘is religion a force for good in the world?’ and provoke discussion.  Students also attend Criminology conferences and visit the local Magistrate’s court. 

In Sociology, students develop a wide range of skills that will help to support them in their wider learning.  These include the ability to communicate clearly both verbally and in writing, to de-construct and interpret complex texts, to engage effectively in argument and debate and to carry out and analyse research. The topics students study in Sociology will also support their learning in other subjects.  For example, the topic of research methods closely resembles the methods studied in Psychology and topics such as the education policy, green and state crime, globalisation have close connections to other Humanities.  There are also some parallels with Health and Social Care in the study of topics such as childhood, domestic abuse and crime.

At Aston we intend for our Sociology students to complete the course having an excellent knowledge and understanding of social issues, changes and processes as well as the conceptual and academic vocabulary to make sense of them.  We want them to have developed an interest in the world around them and an understanding of who they are and their responsibilities to society.  We also want them be confident writers, readers and speakers.  Having completed an A Level in Sociology at Aston, we hope our students will be ready for the next step in their life be that in education or the workplace.

Sociology Learning Plans

Please click the links below to view our Sociology learning plans.

KS5 Sociology Learning Plan

Sociology Learning Expectations

Please click the links below to view our Sociology learning expectations.

These documents show the progress we expect students to make by the end of each term.

KS5 Sociology Learning Expectations































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