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A Level Sociology at Ricards Lodge High School

Course description

Sociology examines evidence of the extent to which individuals and groups are influenced by ‘society’. It looks at ‘culture’ – what it is, how we learn to become part of it – and the idea of ‘high’ and ‘low’, ‘mass’ and ‘folk’ cultures. It also looks at how our ‘identity’ is shaped by factors like age, gender, social class and ethnicity, and asks to what extent do these factors affect our chances in education, employment and health, or even our likelihood to commit crime? You can bring to the course your own life experiences. The course will also encourage you to consider how society might change for the better. If you study Sociology you will be the way society does, or should, operate. If you enjoy taking part in lively and informed debate about many of the issues that dominate local, national and international society, investigating social issues and trying to make sense of it all, Sociology could well be for you!

Course content

Unit 1: Education with Theory and Methods What is the role of the education system in wider society? Some sociologists argue that we are learning more than just history and geography at school; we are also learning how to be good workers, obedient citizens and respectful of authority. Who might this benefit? Why do girls do better than boys throughout school and university but earn less than them ten years after graduating? Should independent schools be allowed or do they damage and divide society? Sociologists have to do research and provide evidence for the claims they make. This may involve the use of interviews, observations, questionnaires, case studies or analysing historical documents. We look at how sociologists do this and the usefulness of different methods in sociological research. For instance, how would one go about researching gangs in Glasgow?

Unit 2:
Topics in Sociology Families and Households The family is one of the most fundamental social institutions in our lives. It is a place where we learn norms, values, roles and identities through a process of primary socialisation. However, sociologists have differing views on the role that the family has for an individual. Is the role of the family to prepare its members for successful integration into wider society? Does the family perform an ideological role which maintains the exploitative relationship between the ruling class and the working class? Do the roles of the family benefit both men and women equally? The identity of the traditional family has changed and we are now experiencing a modern family which is more negotiable and fluid than ever before. Factors such as sexuality, ethnicity, social class and socialexpectations have all played a major part in changing the way we understand the role of the family in contemporary society.
The Mass Media
When teenager Warren Leblanc battered a 14-year-old to death with a claw hammer, his victim's parents said Leblanc was mimicking a video game called Manhunt. Should games like that be banned? Women have most often been seen in the mass media as objects of desire, but recent research shows that this is changing. Have men become sex objects too? If the American media were owned by separate individuals, there would be 25,000 owners; instead, just 5 huge corporations own almost everything (and Rupert Murdoch a large chunk of that!). Does this matter? How has new technology changed the way we produce and consume the media?

Unit 3: Crime & Deviance with Theory and Methods
Official statistics show that most crime is committed by young, working-class men, but most victims are young working-class men, too. Why? And why is the same act regarded as normal in one situation but criminal in another. For instance, why is it only seen as mildly deviant to walk across a pedestrian crossing without waiting for the green light, but in America, this is an arrestable offense? Why are there more boy than girl gangs, and why are the numbers of girl gangs growing? In addition to understanding the reasons why individuals turn to crime, we also consider the solutions and preventative measures that can be taken to tackle crime, such as CCTV or re-designing an environment to reduce crime.

Entry requirements

GCSE English Language grade C or higher (plus C grades in a Humanities subject would be beneficial).


You will write one exam for each module, and each exam is a mixture of short answers and essays. We therefore spend considerable time teaching you essay-writing skills, and skills of analysis and evaluation, a very valuable toolkit to take away to university or any number of careers.

Assessment at AS and A2 consists of some short answer questions and essays in an end of year Exam. You should feel confident and enjoy writing essays as this forms a big part of the assessments throughout the year.

Sample questions
Identify 2 ways in which the family is still patriarchal (4 marks). Outline some of the reasons for the educational underachievement of boys (12 marks). Examine the problems sociologists may find when using participant observation in their research (20 marks). Assess the view that the modern family has become more child-centred (24 marks)

Future opportunities

This course is excellent as a grounding for research work at University, to support a first year University programme of study in social sciences or as a grounding in BA Hons in Sociology or a related joint honours degree course.

A Sociology A Level is beneficial for many careers including: teaching; law and politics; business; leisure and care industries. It is recognised by all universities as a requirement to a variety of degree courses including history, business, psychology and law.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Ricards Lodge High School directly.

Last updated date: 07 May 2015
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    • The combined 6th form of Ricards Lodge High School and Rutlish School offer students at every academic level access to courses in all curriculum areas including our specialist subjects – Mathematics, Computing, Performing and Visual Arts – ensuring access to University Education and a wide range of vocational careers. As a 6th form student at RR6 you will benefit from our commitment to first class teaching and also to providing a pastoral framework that will support you in becoming an independent achiever. Our Director of Sixth Form will work across both schools to ensure the quality and continuity of support, advice and guidance.

      You will also have access to new, high quality accommodation and resourcing including a learning resources centre,  wi-fi facilities and specialist classroom space.