Whatever sociology may be, it is the result of constantly asking the question, what is the meaning of this?

C Wright Mills

To opt for sociology is to make a commitment to ask and confront a range of awkward and challenging questions such as, “Why do 50% of marriages end in divorce and why are fewer people deciding to marry in the first place?”  “ Why do people in Dorset live on average twelve years longer than those in Glasgow” and “Why, despite achieving at higher levels in the education system do women continue to be underrepresented in the most senior and well paid jobs in society? Why does a gender pay gap continue to exist? Is this really the age of equality?

If you like the idea of uncovering the often uncomfortable truth and delving into those areas of life often left untouched by other subjects, then sociology could be just what you need!

Students at The Hayfield School can opt to study GCSE sociology in Years 10 and 11. It is a popular option with an impressive record of academic achievement and examination success, far above that of the national figure. It is taught by specialist graduate sociologist teaching staff. Expectations are high but the rewards are worth it!


Why should I study this subject?

You are all citizens of society! You are born into a society which already exists and as an active citizen it is important that you try and understand it . Sociology will help you understand the relationship between society and the individual by focusing on some key questions. How do we become human? Is it nature or nurture?

How does society shape our life and the choices we make ? What impact does class, gender and ethnicity have on our life courses? Sociology is a toolkit which encourages you to explore such questions and provides answers as to how and why society and culture changes and evolves over time . Get on board and understand the social world in which you live.

What will I study?

The GCSE course covers many different aspects of society, including:

  • Families and Households
  • Education
  • Class, gender and ethnicity
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Crime and Deviance
  • Research methods

How will I be assessed?

There is no coursework. You will sit two examination papers at the end of Year 11

Both papers are 1 hr 45 mins – each accounts for 50% of the total mark.

What skills will I learn?

You will develop a range of transferable skills . They include:

  • An ability to analyse and evaluate information of various sorts
  • An ability to construct a balanced and coherent argument and then draw reasonable conclusions
  • An ability to articulate your views with confidence in front of others and argue your case
  • An ability to empathise with the situation of others

What equipment will I need?

An alert, receptive and enquiring mind.

A desire to engage in debate and a thirst to learn more.

How will this subject develop my sense of character and culture?

It will help you empathise with the situation of others and develop a sense of active citizenship. It will also help make you aware of the complex and multi cultural environment which is now UK society.

Where can this subject take me?

A qualification in Sociology is non vocational and will help prepare you for a wide range of College and Sixth Form courses, both BTEC and A level. The focus on reading, extended writing and the analysis and evaluation of information means that sociology forms a particular good fit with subjects such as history, politics, psychology, geography and criminology. Of course, many GCSE students are inspired and go on to study A level sociology. There are several past students who are now sociology teachers themselves!

In terms of career options, sociology equips you with a broad palette of skills and abilities which are attractive to many employers. However, one of the major strengths is that it does not tie you down to a narrow range of future career options. Frequently sociology students go on to become nurses, police officers, teachers, midwives, social workers/probation officers/prison staff. Others may go into areas such as business and management.

Your teacher will be happy to share knowledge of linked professions with you.

Where can I find out more?

What other subjects would compliment my learning in this qualification?

The Curriculum Team

Mr S Dutton
Subject Leader of Sociology