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Whitworth Community High School

Climbing Higher


Sociology Curriculum Intent


The following information is for students beginning the GCSE Sociology course in the 22/23 academic year. For students completing the sociology course in 22/23 and 23/24 please see the legacy curriculum map (at the bottom of this page) and ask T. Khan for further information if required.



Our vision for GCSE Sociology at Whitworth Community High School is to develop the students' sociological imagination and for them to understand the social world and our behaviour in it. The course follows the AQA syllabus with students immersing themselves in the core topics of Families, Education, Crime and Deviance and Social Stratification, which are underpinned by key theoretical perspectives and methods, exploring issues such as inequality, the distribution and use of power and experiences of different social groups in society. Our intent is to challenge student thinking and develop their understanding of how social processes and structures in society work and how societies influence us and shape our lives. 


Curriculum Plan

This subject will be taught over the course of two years in years 10 and 11 with a short enrichment period in year 9. The enrichment period will support the transition from key stage three to key stage four and help students make an informed decision regarding their options. In this transition period, they will be introduced to key concepts and other relevant  information.

Students will study all aspects of paper one (family and education) in year 10 and then paper two (crime and deviance and social stratification) in year 11. It is taught in this order as the content in each topic inter-leaves effectively in that order as highlighted by the essential theorists for the family unit and education unit. For example, theorists such Durkheim and Parsons are a focal point for paper one, as are some of the key arguments, such as the importance of primary and secondary socialisation in up-bring and attainment in and out school. All content is revisited prior to summative assessments as part of home learning, interventions and lessons.


Therefore, it is important that the family and education unit are taught successively. As this topic is not taught until key stage four, there are relevant cross curricular links from subjects such as English, History and Religious Studies. Skills such as developing arguments and literacy skills are an essential component of all of these subjects that students would be expected to draw upon. More links to other subjects can be found in the sociology scheme of learning, which is available on request as there are a variety of topics for sociology and all of these links cannot be covered in this statement.

To support the literacy skills of students, they are provided with home learning tasks, which include topical articles from established newspapers such as The Guardian and The Times. The home learning also includes comprehension tasks for each article. This feeds into the overall literacy vision of the school.


Assessment & Challenge

The main assessment objective of the entire curriculum is to provide students with all the knowledge and skills needed to achieve the three assessment objectives mentioned below and set by OFQUAL:


AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sociological theories, concepts, evidence and methods.

AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of sociological theories, concepts, evidence and methods.

AO3: Analyse and evaluate sociological theories, concepts, evidence and methods in order to construct arguments, make judgements and draw conclusions.


The key component of our assessment method is to promote resilience in every lesson. This is achieved by using the following method throughout the course.

  • Diagnostic assessment
    • Students are questioned throughout each lesson and provided with verbal feedback - visible in students' work, - with the aim of gauging students’ knowledge and understanding. This exposes any weaknesses and strengths before any assessments and allows the teacher to plan future lessons to highlight any misconceptions. The questioning is usually open-ended so it provides plenty of opportunities for students’ to show off their knowledge.
  • Formative assessments
    • The methods used for checking knowledge throughout the teaching of core content is through “5 a day” tasks that all incorporate exam style questions and knowledge. This prepares them for the GCSE exams at the end of the course. This is also supported by regular key terms checks.
  • Summative assessment
    • At the end of each topic, students will complete GCSE Sociology exam papers on the topic. These are past papers on the topic and prepare students for the GCSE exams in year 11. For the order of these assessments please see the curriculum map.
  • Confirmative assessment
    • As part of the school calendar, students will regularly have mock exams and with each of these mocks, students will be expected to recap knowledge taught throughout the course and not just at the end of each topic.


We will be challenging contemporary, topical, and relevant issues using documentaries and the news to make links with the theoretical content of the course. Students are encouraged to develop their opinions along with their evaluative and critical skills.


Developing Aspirations and Challenging Thinking

We will be challenging contemporary, topical, and relevant issues using documentaries and the news to make links with the theoretical content of the course. Students are encouraged to develop their opinions along with their evaluative and critical skills. To support this we have guest speakers from the police force, youth offending team, children care home workers and prison officers to provide real-life context to the subject.

As part of their learning, they will develop their analytical, assimilation and communication skills by comparing and contrasting perspectives on a variety of social issues, constructing reasoned arguments, making judgements and drawing reasoned conclusions. There will be plenty of classroom debate involved. The intention of these debates is to enhance the following:


  • A strong understanding of the key institutions.
  • Explore and examine the impact and influence of key institutions in understanding society.
  • Identify, critically analyse and evaluate different sociological approaches within Sociology.
  • Critically evaluate an array of investigative techniques when carrying out sociological research.


Where possible, trips will be arranged for students to develop cultural capital. These trips could be to London and involve visits to the London Dungeons, Jack the Ripper Walking Tours and visits to the Natural History and V&A museum.


British Values

Our intention is to enhance the core British Values of students by developing a greater sense of tolerance and understanding of class, gender and ethnic diversity and differences in society and of the role and purpose of key institutions. At Whitworth Community High School we pride ourselves on lessons being thought provoking and exposing students to our rich British history. This is highlighted by the teaching of topics such as The Mangrove Nine Trial and Stephen Lawrence case, both are examples that changed British history. Moreover, an important part of the content is to introduce our students to laws that have changed our society - such as the Divorce Reform Act (1969) and The Education Act (1988). Pupil voice in this subject suggests students enjoy learning about laws that underpin our society and values.


Career Options

Sociology is a highly regarded course that could lead to a variety of courses in higher education and many different careers. As sociology is the sixth most popular option at A-Level, our curriculum ensures students are able to succeed in their next steps should they choose to take up this subject at A-Level. Our intent is to provide a basis for moving on to an AS/A Level as well as vocational subjects such as Health and Social Care. It could also take our students towards a number of careers, including working in the civil service, legal occupations, healthcare, medical fields, social work and teaching.

Whitworth Community High School,
Hall Fold, Whitworth, Rossendale,
Lancashire, OL12 8TS