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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School



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Why study Sociology?

If you are fascinated by behaviour of others and why we act the way we do, then Sociology is for you.  Sociology seeks to understand all aspects of human social behaviour, including the social dynamics of small groups, organisations, communities, even entire societies.  Sociology is a subject that encourages students to increase their awareness of and develop a critical approach to the social world.  Students who study Sociology at A-Level will complete modules in the will complete modules in the Sociology of families and Households, Education  in addition to the research techniques used by sociologists to study the social world.

Why our students like this course

 ‘It compliments my school subjects really well, particularly in terms of helping my skills in critical analysis…’

'I am really glad that I chose to study sociology. It links well to a variety of topics at university such as law.  One of the things is particularly interesting about sociology is learning about various cultures and the way they function.  This has given me a more in depth knowledge on sociological theories such as Marxism and Functionalism and an overall understanding of how society works.'

Entry Requirements
No specific requirement

Exam Board

Course Structure 

Y12 Half Term Education & Methods in Context Families & Households
Autumn 1 Education: Theories of Education

Families:  Theories of the Family and Couples

Autumn 2

Education:  Social Policy:

the role of education in society and inequality

Families:  Childhood, and family diversity

Spring 1 Education: factors affecting educational attainment: social class, gender, ethnicity and identities

Families: Demography and changing family patterns over time

Spring 2 Education: school processes: setting & streaming / labelling

Families: social policy and inequality

Summer 1 Education: research methods in Context

Families: research methods

Summer 2 Mocks and post-mock feedback and consolidation Mocks and post-mock feedback and consolidation


Y13 Half Term Beliefs in Context Crime & Deviance and Methods in Context
Autumn 1

Science and religion as belief systems

Key theories: Functionalist, psychological functions, Marxist, Feminist, Civil Religion, postmodernism

Introduction to theories of crime & deviance

Measuring Crime and official statistics
Autumn 2

Religion as a conservative force / force for social change / Liberation Theology

Secularisation debate     (Mocks)
Explanations for crime statistics:  Functionalist, Marxist, interpretivist,  realist theories   (Mocks)
Spring 1

Religious organisations:

Churches, Denominations, cults, sects, NRMs

Women and crime

Crime and ethnicity

Social class and crime

Media and crime
Spring 2

Measuring religiosity


Revision of research methods


Revision of Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism, social action theories

Globalisation and crime, human rights, victimisation

Revision of Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism, social action theories

Summer 1 Further revision and exam technique/practice Further revision and exam technique/practice

Where does this subject lead me? 

Studying sociology lends itself to a broad range of careers as the skills developed during the course are wide ranging. 

Sociology equips students with a range of skills, such as: critical thinking, questioning common-sense assumptions, problem solving, working independently and as part of a group to write clearly structured analytical essay.  Sociologists go on to work in the media, law, public relations, market research, social care, nursing, forging aid and development and education.    

Further Advice

Sociology FAQs 

What is Sociology?

Sociology is the study of the world around us – how our society is shaped and why. We look at different forces in society and the role they play in our lives. You also examine different Sociologists’ opinions and reach conclusions about your own perspectives about the society around you.

What units do you study in Sociology?

In Year 12 you will study Education, Families and Households and Research Methods. This is a great starting point because you will have direct experience of both Education and Families and Households, so the information you learn will give you a new understanding of these aspects of your lives.

In Year 13 we move on to examine Beliefs in Society and Crime and Deviance. This builds on many of the theories and perspectives you will have covered in Year 12, applying these to a new context. You will also study more of Theory and Methods, for example looking at different movements in Sociological thinking.

What are the exams like? Is it lots of essays?

You will sit 3 exams at the end of Year 13. These include a mixture of shorter and longer answers. The range of exam answer lengths are as follows:

  • 4 sentences
  • 6 sentences
  • 2 paragraphs
  • essay with introduction, 3 paragraphs and a conclusion
  • essay with introduction, 4 paragraphs and a conclusion

There is a lot of writing in Sociology but it’s not all lengthy essays.

What skills will I develop from taking Sociology A-Level?

Written and verbal communication skills, critical thinking skills, the ability to reach a judgement on a range of issues. One of the most important skills you will gain from Sociology A-Level is the ability to examine information, take in a wide range of perspectives and create and support your own opinion based on these. This is a skill that will help you in life regardless of your chosen career path.

How many students take Sociology at Notre Dame, and what are the class sizes like?

Most years we have either 2 or 3 Sociology classes per year group, with 15-20 pupils per class on average.

Which subjects work well with Sociology?

Sociology combines really well with other Social Science subjects, as it includes an overlap with Psychology, Economics, Politics and Business. An understanding of these subjects can help students pick up certain ideas in Sociology more quickly. It also works well with other essay-based subjects that examine human behaviour, such as History or Philosophy and Ethics. Having said that, we have students in Sociology who study a wide range of A-Level subjects alongside Sociology.

Which careers does Sociology lead into?

Because it gives you great knowledge about the world around you, critical thinking skills and the ability to analyse information, Sociology fits well with many career paths. It is especially well-suited to careers in education, charity and aid work, government, social work, police and legal work. In terms of building directly on Sociology A-Level, we have had students go onto Sociology degrees, Criminology degrees and social work qualification.

Which exam board are you with?

We are with AQA. More information about the course and a selection of past papers can be found here:

Is there coursework?

No, Sociology is examined through written exams at the end of Year 13.

Contact a Teacher 

If you have any subject specific questions that you'd like to ask.  You are very welcome to contact the relevant Head of Subject.  To find their email address click on Teaching Staff.  For general enquiries, contact the 6th Form Team.