Curriculum Vision

Head of Department - Emma Isaac

Sociology Curriculum Map: PDF iconCurriculum map Sociology 22 23.pdf

Psychology Curriculum Map: PDF iconCurriculum map Psychology 22 23.pdf

“Sociologists have been trained to conceive of their discipline – sociology – as the scientific study of society, […] to the sister discipline of Psychology […] the study of individuals.” 

(Richard Wall)  

At Ark Acton Academy (AAA), the social sciences contribute to some of the first decisions students autonomously make about their educational journey as they are optional subjects. The social science department have the privilege of gaining students who are genuinely interested in exploring psychology and sociology and we aim to set the highest standards for student engagement to meet AAA’s mission and that of our curriculum.   

Through the study of psychology, students are offered a scientific and rigorous education in how individuals develop, think and behave. Sociology encourages all students to investigate deeper into society. It provides a way of understanding key differences in the world through sociological theories and perspectives. At KS4 and KS5, students are encouraged to become critical and analytical thinkers through how they engage with academic literature in social sciences. This takes place during lessons and out of lessons. Following the AAA language development strategy, students text-mark different forms of literature. This may be a journal article, news article or part of a chapter from a book. At KS5, students complete pre-reading and pre-session activities which not only improves their literacy but also allows them to come to their lessons feeling confident in their knowledge. Oracy development is encouraged through in-class turn and talks for which we use talk stems and carefully planned questioning which is used to challenge students of all abilities. 

As the social sciences have a multidisciplinary relationship with a variety of other subjects, students can build on their schemas and make complex links between them. For example, philosophy forms the roots of psychology as it was the first discipline to give people an understanding of consciousness and the distinction between mind and body. Both psychology and sociology incorporate the scientific method when conducting research, with a focus on objectivity and falsifiability. They both incorporate mathematical skills when analysing and interpreting quantitative data. As suggested by the Education Endowment Foundation, schema building allows students to ‘create, develop and embed knowledge’ which is crucial for the application of their knowledge.  

Social science students following a scheme of learning which takes them on a journey. They are first introduced to the overarching perspectives or approaches to understanding individuals or society and they also to how research is conducted by psychologists and sociologists. Both psychology and sociology are assessed against the same objectives. These are knowledge, application and evaluation of psychological and sociological theory and methods. We endeavour to have students thinking hard both in and out of lesson and provide them with consistent and scaffolded written practise to ensure they are able to confidently address the assessment objectives.   

An important part of our vision as the social science department is to consider what makes social science students unique to their peers. They have an insight into understanding themselves, others and the society we live in. They benefit from the development of knowledge, skills and attributes to become active and considerate citizens, by developing the qualities of care, compassion and empathy for others. Sociology students learn to challenge gender inequality and racial inequality. Psychology students learn to challenge stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues and neuro-diversity.  

In summation, the vision of the social sciences is to enable students to understand, through an academic perspective, what makes individuals think and behave the way they do? Why is it society the way that it is and how this powerful knowledge can encourage them to become critical and active members of their community and wider society.