“Whatever sociology may be, it is the result of constantly asking the question, what is the meaning of this?”
C Wright Mills
Sociology is the study of the ever-changing society in which we are all raised, live and work. As an academic subject it seeks to encourage freethinking and an exploration of the impact of society and human culture on our behaviour. In essence sociology is all around you and you are all sociology!
To opt for sociology is to make a commitment to ask and confront a range of awkward and challenging questions such as, “Why do 50% of marriages end in divorce and why are fewer people deciding to marry in the first place?” “ Why do people in Dorset live on average twelve years longer than those in Glasgow” and “Why, despite achieving at higher levels in the education system, do men continue to dominate the most senior and well paid jobs in the workplace? Is this really the age of equality?”
If you like the idea of uncovering the often uncomfortable truth and delving into those areas of life often left untouched by other subjects, then sociology could be just what you need!
Students at The Hayfield School can opt to study GCSE sociology in Years 10 and 11. It is a popular option with an impressive record of academic achievement and examination success, far above that of the national figure. It is taught by specialist graduate sociologist teaching staff. Expectations are high but the rewards are worth it!
The aims of the study of sociology are to encourage the students to:
- Foster an understanding and critical awareness of the social world in which they live and exist
- Engage with current debates surrounding social issues and challenge taken for granted assumptions (often media led and fed!)
- Develop analytical and evaluative literacy skills and the ability to produce a well researched and logically structured piece of extended writing
- Develop the ability to think sociologically as a lifelong habit so that they are able to play a positive, active and informed role in society.
- This is a two-year GCSE course. We currently deliver the EDUQAS (formerly WJEC) specification. This specification consists of two components, each worth 50 % of the final award. Final assessment will be by two examination papers, both 1hr 45 min in length. There is no coursework in sociology.
Overview of topics
Year 10 - Component 1: Understanding Social Processes
- Key concepts and processes of cultural transmission. In other words, how do we learn the culture of our society and what do we learn? Do girls learn the same as Boys? What happens if we don’t learn human culture?
- Research methods
Year 11 – Component 2: Understanding Social Structures
- Social differentiation and stratification – In other words social class, gender, ethnicity and age? How do they shape our life chances in society?
- Crime and deviance
- Applied methods of Sociological enquiry.
Further information about courses, assessment requirements and specifications, plus materials for students such as past papers and mark schemes can be found on the Eduqas website www.eduqas.co.uk
- 2 x 1 Hr 45 min examination papers. A mix of short answer, structured questions and extended response questions
- There is no coursework in GCSE Sociology
Sociology and Careers
- Although not specifically vocational, sociology will help you develop a range of valuable transferable skills similar to those you would develop in Geography or History. You will learn how to select, analyse, evaluate and communicate information effectively.
- A GCSE in sociology will give you a solid foundation for the study of sociology at A level as well as equipping with the necessary skills to go on to study a range of different options including, history, geography, law, philosophy etc.
- Although a qualification in sociology is not specifically vocational it may be of particular relevance to those interested in a career working with people such as the Police, Prison service, Nursing, Probation, Social work etc.