Departmental approach to the curriculum

Sociology at Rickmansworth aims to equip students with knowledge of the issues facing UK society today, develop their understanding of sociological research methods; analyse and critically examine sociological perspectives. As a department we help them to develop key skills that are highly valued by the UK’s top universities and employers alike. 

Sociology students discover how to apply theoretical perspectives directly to topics including: families and households, education, crime and deviance and the media. The core topic of theory and methods provides students with the skills to complete their own sociology research and evaluate the process. The study of theories (Marxism, feminism, functionalism and personal life perspective) will also enhance the students ability to evaluate each topic from a variety of different sociology perspectives, understand the significance of conflict and consensus, social structure and social action, and the role of values within society.

Our students will also look outside the UK and develop a global perspective. Sociology at A Level deals with global issues like the environment, migration and 'globalisation' itself. Students at Rickmansworth will critically evaluate how these social changes affect people on an individual level and as a wider society.


Year 12 and 13

The department follows the AQA A Level in Sociology.  This specification challenges perceptions and provides an excellent structure for their social research and analytical skills. The course has a balance between exploring traditional societal issues and exciting new topics that reflect the changes in UK society today. There are core themes running through the course which thread throughout all topics and students develop their understanding of socialisation, culture and identity, social differentiation, power and stratification throughout the course.

In addition throughout the two years core elements include: sociological theories, perspectives and methods and the design of the research with consideration for its strengths and limitations are analysed and applied to each topic studied.

The overall curriculum comprises six taught units and is a linear course, examination only, with three examined papers that test a students understanding over the two years.


Sociology at A Level is an excellent stepping stone to a degree course in either Sociology or Social Sciences related subjects.


Please see the long term overview for what is studied in each year. 

The precise order of teaching depends on whether your son or daughter has one or two teachers.


In Year 12 students study Families and Households and Education with Theory and Methods- two units that are challenging and novel to students, but we firmly believe establish a strong foundation for studying the remaining units. Our Year 12 teaching is complemented with a practical element, which provides students with the opportunity to conduct small-scale research and apply research methods to the study of education ‘Methods in Context’. 


In Year 13 students complete the taught course with units on the Media, Crime and Deviance and complemented by the continuation of Theory and Methods. Students also complete a comprehensive self-reflection and revision programme as they build towards success in the Summer.


Learning is supported with access to in class textbooks and access to A Level magazine: Sociology Review.


Students are assessed regularly throughout the course via end of topic tests, an UCAS prediction exam at the end of Year 12 and a trial exam in Year 13.



Paper 1: Education with Theory and Methods
2 hour written exam
80 marks
33.3% of A-level


Paper 2: Topics in Sociology

Section A: Families and Households
Section B: The Media
2 hour written exam
80 marks
33.3% of A-level

Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods
2 hour written exam
80 marks
33.3% of A-level

Long Term Curriculum Overviews

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

This document will provide a visual overview of the department's curriculum in Key Stage 5. This is in a student-friendly format to support them in their understanding the of the department's curriculum. 

Big Picture Curriculum Map - Sociology


Department Assessment Matrix

This document will provide an overview for assessment for Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.


Key Stage 3 Judgement Descriptors

This document will give you an overview of the criteria for Emerging, Developing, Secure and Mastery judgements at KS3 for this subject.

How can you help your child succeed in sociology?


Discussing changes in UK society at home.

Encouraging students to share their wider reading at home.

Monitor organisation of folders.

Purchase revision guides and exam practice workbooks.

Helpful websites and further information