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Our curriculum intent in the Social Science department is to ensure that we consistently deliver high quality teaching which both enables students to achieve in their formal assessments but also equips them with well-developed abilities in analysis, research and evaluation.  We believe that these skills prepare young people for life.

The Social Sciences Department at Queen Katharine Academy comprises three subjects: Psychology, Sociology and Criminology.


Psychology studies behaviour and human minds. Some psychologists focus on how the human brain works, while others are interested in why we behave as we do, Psychology is seen as a social science since it applies scientific methods such as experiments to studying human and animal behaviour. Psychologists study a wide range of issues including perception, cognition (how we think), attention, emotion, intelligence, brain functioning, and personality. Some psychologists also apply the knowledge of their subject in different fields of work, for example clinical psychologists (who work with people with mental health problems), educational psychologists, forensic psychologists (who help solve crimes) and industrial psychologists.


Sociology is the study of the individual in society. Sociologists try to understand how as individuals we are constantly being influenced by our society and the social groups we belong to. For example, the fact that we live in a rapidly large-scale, modern, industrial society dominated by new technologies such as electronic media helps to explain why we think and behave as we do. Sociologists have applied their ideas to almost every aspect of the social world. Sociology is useful if you plan to work in any area with people, for example health and social services, charities, education, government policy, crime prevention, human resources or management.  Sociologists also carry out research, which can help inform decision making for politicians, educationalists, marketing organisations, charities and many other organisations. 


Criminology is the scientific study of crime and crime prevention. Criminologists draw on a wide range of disciplines, including biology, psychology, sociology and law to try and understand criminal behaviour and to devise policies to reduce offending.   Criminologists work with organisations such as local and national politicians, the police, prisons and probation service.


Social Sciences in the QKA curriculum

Key Stage Four

Students can opt to study GCSE Sociology in Year 10. We follow the AQA specification.

Students study Education, Family and Sociological Research Methods in Year 10 and Social Inequality together with Crime and Deviance in Year 11. There is no coursework and the course is assessed by two exams at the end of Year 11.

Further information on the specification can be found at

Key Stage Five

All three subjects are offered in Sixth Form.

Psychology and Sociology A Levels are offered as two year courses. Students take the AS qualification in the subject at the end of the first year and can then opt to continue to A Level if they are successful at AS Level.


Psychology A Level follows the AQA specification and comprises three units each assessed by an examination.

Unit 1: Covers four topics Memory, Social Influence, Attachment and Psychopathology (A Level only)

Unit 2: Covers Research methods, Approaches to Psychology, Bio-psychology and Psychopathology (AS Level only)

Unit 3: (Full A Level only) comprises Issues and debates, Relationships, Schizophrenia and Forensic Psychology

Further information on the specification can be found at


Applied Psychology Btec is a level 3 vocational qualification which is part examination and part coursework.   It will suit students who enjoy psychology and like having a coursework element to their study.

Year 12 students cover 2 units; unit one is ‘Psychological Approaches’ and unit 2 is ‘Psychological Research’. 

Unit one is an exam which is taken in January and can be retaken in May if students need to. 

Unit 2 is coursework, students have to do a psychological experiment and explain the processes involved in research. 

In year 13 students study ‘health psychology (exam based) and criminal and forensic psychology (coursework).  This qualification is graded by distinction star, distinction, merit and pass.


Sociology A Level follows the OCR specification and also comprises three units each assessed by an examination

Unit 1: Comprises two topics: Culture, Socialisation and Identity plus Youth Subcultures

Unit 2: Comprises two topics: Sociological Research Methods plus Social Inequality

Unit 3: Comprises two topics: Globalisation and Digital World plus Crime and Deviance

Further information on the specification can be found at


Criminology is offered as a 1 year certificate or 2 year diploma course, which is validated by the WJEC awarding body.

In the first year (Certificate) course students take the first two units and in the second year (to complete the full Diploma) take two further units.

Unit 1: Changing Awareness of Crime This looks at how we understand crime through media representations, campaigns about crime and interpreting crime statistics. Students undertake a controlled assessment on planning a campaign for change relating to crime.

Unit 2: Criminological Theories Students study a range of approaches to understanding crime including individualistic, biological, psychological and sociological theories. This unit is assessed by an exam.

Unit 3: Crime Scene to Courtroom This unit understands how crimes are investigated and prosecuted from the initial crime scene to bringing a crime to trial. This unit is assessed by a controlled assessment where students analyse the investigation of a crime.  

Unit 4: Crime and Punishment  This unit investigates how the criminal justice system works including the role of Parliament, the courts, the police and other social control agencies. It also examines the aims and effectiveness of different forms of punishment and crime prevention.  This unit is assessed in the final exam.

Further information on the specification can be found at



Ms Kirsty Freeden, Subject Coordinator and Sociology Teacher

Ms Crystal Bannister, Psychology and Criminology Teacher

Ms Rebecca Birdsall, Psychology Teacher

Mr Paul Taylor, Sociology and Criminology Teacher

Miss Ayesha Rani, Sociology Teacher

For further information on each course contact one of the specialist teachers for that subject.