Our aim is for all students to be able to reflect on and evaluate a range of theoretical perspectives across applied contexts. We want our students to be able to interrogate the research evidence upon which these arguments are based. We want out students to be able to develop transferable skills by utilising a range of methodological research skills and be confident in the ability to analyse quantitative and qualitative data.
We expect students to develop an appreciation of diverse experience and to be able to locate this in an ethical and cross-cultural framework that respects individual difference.
This popular department (one of the largest in the Sixth Form) offers A Level Sociology and Psychology as well as the Extended Project Qualification. Sociology and Psychology provide an excellent foundation in the understanding of human behaviour and the workings of society and combine well with other subjects at degree level.
These subjects are particularly useful for those wishing to pursue careers in Law, Social Policy, Journalism, Advertising, Marketing, Publishing, Education, Anthropology, Medical Sciences and Healthcare. Staff in the department strongly believe that both subjects offer the opportunity to gain a fascinating insight into human behaviour and to study popular and contemporary subjects. The Extended Project Qualification offers students the opportunity to work at a higher and more independent level and acts as an excellent transition to Higher Education.
Psychology can be studied to A Level and is a popular subject within a successful department. Psychology has the status of a science A level. The department follows the AQA specification and the course aims to give a broad introduction to the key psychological approaches, research methods and real world applications. Year 1 consists of two examined units. The first unit explores the fascinating areas of memory and forgetting and social influence and conformity. The second unit explores theories of attachment and psychopathology. The expectation is that students will continue to A Level and be examined in three papers. Year 2 allows students to apply their knowledge in depth to Forensic Psychology, the study of relationships and schizophrenia. Students also have the opportunity to explore key issues and debates surrounding psychology’s contribution to society.
Sociology can also be studied to A Level and enjoys a good success rate. This course is an excellent introduction into the key sociological theories and how these may be applied to explain everyday experiences and life chances.
Year 1 Sociology consists of two examined units the first of which, focuses on Socialisation and Identity, Youth Cultures and Education. The second unit focuses on the various sociological methods used to investigate the world around us. The expectation is that students will continue to A Level and be examined in three papers. The third unit will cover Power and Inequality looking at the influence of class, ethnicity, gender and age; contemporary trends in inequality and social mobility and theories of stratification. They will also dedicate time to the study of theories of Crime and Deviance, social order and social control. This will incorporate policies to control and prevent crime, punishment, media representations of crime and how crime is defined and measured.
Extended Project Qualification
This highly successful and prestigious qualification is offered within the department to students showing academic curiosity, independence and skill. The Extended Project Qualification offers students an exciting chance to stretch and challenge themselves whilst developing the skills and confidence to succeed in Higher Education and the job market. The Extended Project is a single, stand-alone piece of work which will require students to use research, critical thinking, planning and evaluation. It is a Level 3 qualification, graded A*-E with the same UCAS points as an AS level.
Students can produce a mini-dissertation of 5000 words or a creative visual or performance piece. The Extended Project could develop and extend from one or more of the student’s study areas and/or from an area of personal interest or activity outside their main programme of study. It will be based on a topic agreed by the student and agreed as appropriate by the centre. There will be teaching of the necessary skills, supervision and assessment of the student’s progress. The main emphasis is on extended autonomous work by the student, allowing student ownership of the project.
Students plan the project, record what they do in a production log and present their work to a non-specialist audience. This is assessed by their supervisor and moderated by the centre coordinator. The Production Log records the following key information:
Initial planning meeting between the leaner and the supervisor
The learner’s outline plan at the beginning of the project
Mid-project review with the supervisor
End-of-project review with the supervisor
A record of the presentation
The learner’s reflection on the project and presentation.
Many (especially Russell Group) Universities have noted that the EPQ is providing students with skills they particularly value that will ease the transition to Higher Education and that this may lead either to lower admissions offers or a way to distinguish between applicants of otherwise equal academic standing.