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Sociology - Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact


AS and A Level Sociology at Archbishop Tenison’s Intent Sociology is the study of society, and of human behaviour in society. At Archbishop Tenison’s we offer A Level and AS Sociology, following the AQA specification. We develop in our students a critical and questioning approach, not only to the specific topics that we study for A Level, but also to contemporary society. As young citizens of a fast-changing and diverse global community, we aim for our sociologists to leave Tenisons’ as socially aware and alert individuals, who can ask challenging questions about ‘social facts’ that others may take for granted, and suggest appropriate methods to answer them.



Most of our Year 12 students have not studied sociology before, so we introduce it as an academic discipline, investigating key concepts such as socialisation, culture, social control and nature versus nurture. We train them to begin ‘thinking sociologically’ and to apply their sociological understanding to real-world events; skills which they continue to develop through the rest of the course. For the rest of term 1, Year 12 study Education and Research Methods, followed by Methods in Context and Families and Households in term 2. They become familiar with the key sociological theories (Functionalism, Marxism, Interactionism and Feminism), which they will regularly revisit and learn to apply, analyse and evaluate in the context of each topic that we study. As we co-teach AS and A Level, we aim to complete the Year 1 content by, or soon after, Easter, allowing AS candidates time for revision and exam practice. A Level students then begin studying Crime & Deviance and the Media during term 3, and are introduced to A Level exam technique. Teaching now emphasises the importance of globalisation and postmodernism as concepts that students must become confident with to achieve well at A Level, while continuing to reinforce and apply the key concepts and theories that are already familiar from year 1. In Year 13, students study Crime & Deviance and the Media, as well as Theory and Methods. They are encouraged to make links between the topics they have already studied and to understand the key theories as overarching approaches that can be applied to any topic or issue. Teaching of course content is completed by Easter to allow time to revise for the A Level exams, which now begin before May half term.

The sociology department is well resourced and subject teachers meet regularly to review students’ progress, plan course delivery and moderate marking. We analyse students’ performance on different papers and question types and adjust our teaching to address any trouble-spots e.g. with masterclasses on 10-mark and Methods in Context questions and regular use of example answers. Being a small department, we also engage with the wider community of sociology teachers to share ideas and best practice. Our students learn through a mixture of discussion, debate, group-work and presentations, as well as in-depth study of key sociological theories and studies. Our teaching encourages students to engage with real-world issues and we expect them to follow the news and keep up to date with events and policy issues relevant to the topics that we study. Analysis of recent news stories and media articles form a key part of our teaching. Optional topics have been chosen to engage students’ interest and to develop their life skills, for example, studying the Media encourages critical thinking about their own media use and the social issues arising from the rapid growth of new media. We also arrange trips and guest speakers and Year 13 students attend a Tutor2U study day.


With an ALPS score of 3 and 38% A*-A at A Level in 2019, Tenison’s sociology students often achieve above their predicted grades and many go on to study social sciences and related subjects at University, developing a lifelong interest in social issues and going on to careers in which they can challenge social inequalities. Our students develop skills that are highly prized by employers: critical thinking, analysis and evaluation of complex information, reaching a supported judgement, effective written and verbal communication. As a current Year 12 student commented, studying sociology ‘makes you see the world differently’. 

AQA Sociology A Level


· All units are assessed by examination and at the end of the course there will be 3 exam papers, each of which is 2 hours in length.

· Sociology is the study of society, and of human behaviour in society. We explore topics such as education, families, crime and religion.

· We investigate how people’s gender identity, ethnicity, sexuality and social class can impact on their experiences in society.

· We also study key sociological theories such as Marxism and Feminism, and the research methods that sociologists use.



AS Level

Paper 1

· Education with Methods in context

Paper 2

· Research methods and Topics in sociology

o Families and Households


A Level

Paper 1

· Education with Methods in context

Paper 2

· Research methods and topics in sociology

o Families and Households

o Beliefs in Society

Paper 3

· Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods

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