Our aim in Sociology is to get students to think critically about social reality, be able to evaluate sociological theories to explain human behaviour and understand the causes of social problems and how these can be solved through social policy. Within our curriculum we provide opportunities to understand diversity and inequality through looking at race, class and gender. We want students to gain knowledge of the important role evidence has on Sociological thinking and how this can be applied to debates about policy and public understanding. Having a foundation in learning new terms and theories is key to progressing in Sociology and so we make sure our curriculum is accessible to a range of abilities when they start the course.
Key Stage 5
Our KS5 Curriculum is designed to work through the AQA specification in a way that is engaging and logical. We cover: Education, Families and Households, Beliefs and Crime and Deviance, all accompanied by the relevant Theories and Methods over the 2 year course.
We recognise that for most students sociology is a ‘new’ subject and so we start Year 12 with two units, Education and Families and Households, as students have first hand experiences of these topics and can relate to many of the key concepts and theories facilitating engagement and giving students the chance to critically evaluate and discuss their own experiences. We also seek opportunities to teach and embed research skills through active research within topic areas, for example, observing teacher and student interactions in school, or using questionnaires to investigate class roles within the family.
The topics in sociology take into consideration not just the UK, but countries around the world, giving the course a global reach. It also allows our students to truly express their views and use their opinions to debate with each other helping their skills of analysis, the ability to formulate an argument and evaluation. We also have a good track record in that a lot of our students use the research and independent skills they have learnt from our subject and pursue Sociology at a higher education establishment.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
Outside of the classroom, we want students to see their Sociological studies in the real world and the contexts that they live in. We have a challenge curriculum that encourages students to visit museums, keep abreast of sociological news by personalising feeds from the BBC news website, watching current tv debates or investigative programmes, engaging with real sociologists and their published work through wider reading, and joining tours such as the chance to visit the public gallery of the Old Bailey.
There are also opportunities to listen to numerous podcasts that shed light on the most recent developments in the Sociological community. On top of this we also organise a trip to ‘Sociology in Action’, a conference where guest speakers explore a range of topics including Data Privacy, Disability and the changing face of Education.
At Ashlyns, we believe that the development of students’ love of learning is of central importance in our curriculum. In order to give students every opportunity to develop this, we have developed a Challenge Curriculum which provides the opportunity for students to enhance their learning across the subjects. The activities contained within the Challenge Curriculum are for students to undertake independently, and take lots of forms, including watching films or clips, visiting museums, conducting independent research, listening to podcasts, and watching lectures online. They are by no means exhaustive, and we encourage all activities that enable students to engage with subjects beyond the classroom and further their learning. Students should let their teachers know which activities they have completed, and are able to earn merits for doing so.