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The North School

Social Sciences

Subject Overview

Incorporated into this department are the following subjects:

Psychology is taught as a GCSE

Law, Psychology and Sociology are taught as A levels

Criminology Applied Diploma 6th form (Level 3)

Extended Project Qualification Year 12 (Level 3)

The department ethos is to encourage students form balanced and justified opinions via debates and written work. Many A Level students go on to study these subjects at university level. Studying these subjects allows students to develop analytical thinking skills and evaluation skills on the topics they study to establish the validity and reliability of what they are taught and read.



Psychology literally translates as ‘the study of the human mind,’ but psychology is more than this. Psychology is everywhere around us. It is intriguing, it is emotional, it is scientific and above all it is thought provoking. This subject offers you the opportunity to learn about the science behind human behaviour by understanding how research is conducted and used to develop theories and laws about human behaviour. You will then go on to explore the many different strands of psychology such as social psychology, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology and biological psychology.



A-level Law develops knowledge and understanding of the English Legal system. The study of Law at A-level enables students to develop their analytical and critical thinking skills. Studying Law develops students' problem solving skills through the application of legal rules, together with an understanding of legal method and reasoning. These skills provide excellent preparation for those students who wish to progress to degree level study or pursue a wide range of careers. The main topics are Criminal Law, Tort Law and Human Rights Law.


Sociology is the systematic study of society, its aim is to question the status quo and uncover meaning in our everyday lives. The most exciting aspect of sociology are the questions it seeks to answer. Do you wonder what fuels our apparent fixation with celebrity? Is it just gossip in a modern form? Is it that it provides endless, easily obtained content for TV channels, newspapers and magazines? Could it be both? Or even something much more profound about the class system of modern Britain? You may be already thinking 'But class doesn't mean anything anymore'. Are you sure? Why is the number of years you can expect to live still associated with your occupation? What about the way that your gender, religion, and ethnic background effect your achievement in education? What kinds of spiritual faith do people have in Britain today? And how far do the media affect how personal lifestyle choices are viewed by wider society?


Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind, behaviour and experience. A Level Psychology offers the opportunity to explore different ways in which our behaviour can be explained. Psychologists explore answers to the following questions: Is our behaviour determined by biological factors? How important is the environment we are brought up in? How similar or different are we from others? Are there unconscious forces that drive our behaviour? Are we in complete control of our thoughts and behaviours? Why are some people’s thoughts and behaviours abnormal?  A Level psychology will develop your understanding of the main areas of psychology and the scientific research methods applied to studying human behaviour as well as the ability the analyse and evaluate these. Some of the topics covered include Memory, Relationships, Aggression, Attachment and some mental health disorders. Studying psychology has a number of benefits including the ability to think critically, improved communication skills and, perhaps most important of all, an insight into human behaviour that can be applied to real life.


The Level 3 Applied Diploma in Criminology is a qualification with elements of psychology, law and sociology. This qualification allows learners to gain the required understanding and skills to be able to consider employment within some aspects of the criminal justice system, e.g. the National Probation Service, the Courts and Tribunals Service or the National Offender Management Service.

Students studying the applied diploma award will complete 4 core units:

  • Changing Awareness of Crime
  • Criminological Theories
  • Crime Scene to Courtroom
  • Crime and Punishment

Units 2 & 4 are assessed externally. Both are 90 minute exams. Remaining units are coursework which may require you to write essays and produce PowerPoints by an agreed deadline. 

This qualification is designed to help students work towards higher level qualifications at college or University. Degree course such as Criminology and Criminal Justice are accessible with this qualification. 

This qualification cannot be taken in conjunction with A Level Sociology, Psychology or Law.


The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is an independent research project that allows students to move beyond the restrictions of A Level specifications and select a topic that is of particular interest to them. They will then be required to conduct their own research into their chosen area and produce either a 5000-word essay or artefact.

Higher Education Links and Career Opportunities

Strong relationships are established with the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University and the Portsmouth University. Several University of Kent students studying social science subjects have recently completed a teaching module in the department. Visits to universities are frequent which include sample lectures and tours of university facilities and accommodation.

Many of our students go on to university to study, Law being one of the most popular subjects. Ex-students have gone on to qualify as solicitors and barristers or work in legal research posts for private companies and the Government.

Students get the opportunity to meet people working in the legal profession including forensic scientists, judges, serving police officers, criminal psychologists and cybercrime detectives.