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Higham Lane School

Higham Lane School

Social Sciences

The Social Sciences department comprises of three subjects: Health and Social Care, Psychology and Sociology. Health and Social Care and Sociology are Options subjects offered across Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 and Psychology at Key Stage 5. All three subjects are extremely well subscribed.

Sociology is the study of how people interact in groups and the influence structures such as the family, media and education system have on society. Sociology is an exciting and topical course which allows students to think critically, challenge assumptions and present evidence and examples. Students follow the GCSE AQA specification across years 9-11.

Health and Social Care is a vocational course designed to equip students with a range of skills required for a variety of careers in Health, Social and Early Years Care Settings. At the heart of Health & Social Care is creating independent, reflective and enquiring learners. Health & Social Care is well resourced with specialist equipment, including first aid mannequins, infection glow boxes and health monitoring devices such as sphygmomanometers. The lessons involve many practical activities and take place in state-of-the-art ICT suites. Alongside this, the Department has links to many health and social care settings and outside speakers visit to share their experiences.


Year 9 Curriculum

Sociology students begin their study of the subject by exploring the foundations of Sociological study. Students address the big question ‘What is the role of the sociologist?’. By exploring the classical theories of functionalism, Marxism, feminism and interactionism students investigate the inequalities in society and develop their sociological imagination.

Students then go on to learn about the research methods sociologists use such as questionnaires and covert observation and learners get the chance to undertake some sociological research and evaluate how successful it was.

Students then go on to examine demographic trends and social attitudes in relation to families and households in the UK. Questions students will debate include: Whose role is it to complete the conjugal chores, is the family a safe haven and what are the social trends relating to divorce.

In their first year of studying the Level 2 Cambridge National Course, students undertake an assignment on supporting individuals across life stages. Students learn the key physical, cognitive, social and emotional changes that occur as we age. They then look at the factors that can affect health and development and the impact of life events. Students undertake primary research in this unit and interview a person on their health, development and life events they have experienced. Students use this research to create a personalised programme of support for the individual.


Year 10 Curriculum

In Year 10, Sociology students investigate the role of the UK education system. Students investigate sociological theories such as the Marxist perspective that education is a negative force in society. Students also go on to examine the reasons for differences in educational achievement in the UK and whether historical and current educational policy has been successful.

In Year 10, Health and social Care students complete two modules. Their first is an assignment based module entitled ‘Understanding life stages’. In this unit of work students explore the physical, intellectual, emotional and social developments that take place as we progress from infancy to later adulthood. Students also explore birth and non-birth defects and have to produce a care plan to support someone with Cystic Fibrosis.

Students then go on to complete a module that is assessed by examination ‘Essential values of care for use with individuals in care settings’. In this unit students learn about the adult and early years care values that underpin working in the health and social care sector. They examine the legislation that has been put in place to keep service users safe and evaluate how successful it has been.


Year 11 Curriculum

The AQA sociology course for Year 11 involves the study of two topics: Crime and Deviance and Social Stratification. Whilst studying the sociological perspectives on Crime and Deviance students explore questions such as: Why do people commit crime? Is the UK criminal justice system racist and have policies aimed at reducing crime been successful?

In their final module, students explore the hierarchy in the UK and the reasons for social inequality. They examine a variety of sociological perspectives on the factors affecting life chances such as the feminist view that society is patriarchal.

Year 11 Health and Social Care students’ courses culminate with them completing an assignment that enables them to ‘Understand the development and protection of young children in an early years setting’. In this unit students learn how to spot the signs of abuse and how to ensure young children are kept safe. They are then able to explain what makes an effective safeguarding policy and evaluate the potential effects of children not being protected in care settings.


Year 12 Curriculum

Students study the AQA specification at A-level and will sit three examinations at the end of the course. In their first year of study students complete three modules - education, families and households and methods in context.

Students begin the course with an introduction to the main sociological perspectives that have shaped the way we view society; functionalism, Marxism, feminism, interactionism and postmodernism.

Whilst studying the education topic students question the role and function of the education system and the factors affecting achievement.

Whilst examining the demographic changes to families and households in the UK and in a global context students evaluate sociological theory relating to the changing patterns of marriage and divorce and conjugal roles. They also examine the changing concept of childhood and sociological perspectives on the function of the family.

Finally, students have the opportunity to apply sociological theory to practical research in the methods in context module. After investigating how sociologists carry out their research students then apply this to the study of education and examine the advantages and disadvantages of using various methodology.

Health and Social Care students follow the Level 3 Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate Qualification across the two years of Key Stage 5. In their first year of study they complete three modules; one is assignment based and the others are assessed by examination.

Students begin the course by exploring the factors that affect the ‘building of positive relationships in health and social care settings’. For their assignment students are required to explain how context affects communication, how to deliver a person centred approach and what constitutes effective reflective practice.

The first of the two examination units is entitled ‘Equality Diversity and Rights in Health and Social Care’. In this unit students examine how health and social care settings can ensure they are meeting the care values and providing effective care. As part of this module students explore the impact of legislation on care settings and evaluate how successful changes have been in ensuring service user’s rights are met.

Year 12 culminates with students completing an externally examined unit on ‘health, safety and security’ which teaches students the types of hazards in care settings and how to respond to emergencies.


Year 13 Curriculum

In the second year of the A-level Sociology course, students cover two modules: Crime and Deviance and Beliefs in Society.

Whilst studying Crime and Deviance, students examine sociological theory on the links between crime, class, ethnicity, and gender posing questions such as ‘why do men appear to commit more crime than women?’ Students also look at the influence globalisation has had on crime and the media’s ability to amplify deviance and create moral panics.

The course culminates with students looking at the changing patterns of beliefs in the UK and explores questions such as ‘is religion a force for good or bad, are we now a secular society, and why do people join sects and cults?’.

The first module undertaken by Year 13 Health and Social Care students is ‘Anatomy and Physiology’. In this module students learn about the main systems in the body including the cardiovascular and respiratory system. Students then examine the most appropriate treatment and care for malfunctions of these systems.

Following this, students complete an assignments one on Sexual Health, Reproduction and Early Developmental Stages. In this unit students examine different forms of contraception and the importance of sexual health. They also investigate the stages of pregnancy and post-natal care.

Finally, students undertake and assignment on ‘nutrition for health’. As part of their assignment students explain nutritional and diet guidelines such as ‘the eatwell plate’ and ‘five a day’. Students then work with an individual to produce a plan to improve their nutritional health.

R CHARLES, Subject Leader for Social Sciences