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Wanstead High School

Social Sciences


Sociology is the study of society and the people within it.  It looks at how people live, behave and work together.  It asks questions about the its structures and processes, the way people live and tries to explain why it is the way that it is.

GCSE Sociology gives students a wide range of knowledge and understanding about society, and how sociologists study and understand its structures, processes and issues.

At Wanstead, you will study the following:

  • Studying Society, Education and Families
  • Crime and Deviance, Mass Media, Power and Social Inequality

From the start students are encouraged to take a questioning approach to evidence and issues and develop their critical and evaluative skills.

Assessment is all by written examination


AS Sociology  gives students a broad knowledge and understanding of the social processes and social change that affect your everyday lives.

At Wanstead, you will study the following:

  • Families and Households
  • Education
  • Sociological methods(compulsory)

From the start, students are encouraged to see the links between the different areas of Sociology, through two core sociological themes

  • socialisation, culture and identity, and
  • social differentiation, power and stratification.

These themes underpin the topic areas and encourage students to think about the subject as a whole.

At A2 there is the opportunity to for more detailed study and specialisation. As in AS, the topic areas have been updated to reflect current sociological thinking.

At Wanstead, you will study the following:

  • Beliefs in Society
  • Crime and Deviance
  • Theory and Methods(compulsory)

Assessment is all by written examination


Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and human behaviour. As such, it is important to emphasise that at both AS and A2 level students are assessed on How Science Works and will be expected to conduct their own experiments as well as being able to describe and evaluate scientific research that has been conducted in the field.

Areas of study

AS Level

The AS psychology course is divided into two units, which are examined separately. Each unit is examined at the end of the year in a one and a half hour examination and makes up one half of the AS level grade. 

Unit 1 is the study of developmental (attachments) and cognitive (memory) psychology, with research methods in the context of the topic areas

Unit 2 is the study of biological psychology (stress) and individual differences (abnormality) and social psychology (social influence).



At A2, the specification offers a range of topic-based options which bring together explanations from different psychological approaches and engage students in issues and debates in psychology. The A2 level course also covers two units, which are assessed in separate exams at the end of the year. Unit 3 is a 1 and a half hour paper, whilst Unit 4 is a 2 hour paper. 

Unit 3: Three topics from a possible eight are studied. At Wanstead these are currently: Eating Behaviour, Aggression, Gender.

Unit 4: Students learn about Psychopathology - Depression, Psychology in Action - Anomalistic Psychology (the scientific study of paranormal beliefs and experience) and Research Methods


AS Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking is unlike other ‘subjects’ at A level:

Critical Thinking encourages students to apply inter-disciplinary skills in a structured way. Specifically, the study of critical thinking equips students with reasoning skills to use in life, work and further academic study.

It provides opportunities for students to think carefully about the ways in which they approach evidence, arguments and opinions, and enables them to make reasoned decisions that are based on evidence and argument rather than assumption and prejudice.

The Advanced Subsidiary GCE specification gives an introduction to the concepts, principles and techniques that underlie critical thinking and expands their application to a range of contexts.

AS Units

Unit F501: Introduction to Critical Thinking

- The language of reasoning

- Credibility

Unit F502: Assessing and Developing Argument

- Analysis of argument

- Evaluating arguments

- Developing one’s own reasoned arguments

Critical Thinking is a demanding subject which requires excellent literacy skills and as a full AS subject being taught over four lessons a fortnight students must be motivated and hard working.

Critical Thinking is a core element of the university examinations for Law and Medicine degrees (LNAT AND BMAT) at most universities.


Politics at A-Level

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