Social Sciences (Psychology & Sociology) 14-19

Why become a teacher of social sciences?

Becoming a teacher of social sciences promises an incredibly rewarding and exciting journey filled with opportunities to delve into the complexities of human behaviour and society. You will have the chance to inspire students to explore the intricacies of the human mind, societal structures, and the interconnectedness of individuals within their communities. By fostering critical thinking, empathy, and a deep understanding of behaviour, you ignite curiosity and spark a passion for understanding the forces that shape every human interaction.


Being a teacher of social sciences means you will support young people to: 

  • understand human social behaviour in a range of contexts;
  • snow how to effectively analyse evidence presented in different written, visual and numerical forms;
  • develop a critical understanding of different theories, methods and approaches;
  • become more reflective about the structures within societies and the impact they can have on issues linked to identity and behaviour; 
  • understand the contribution of psychology to an understanding of individual, social and cultural diversity;
  • understand how sociological and psychological knowledge and ideas can and have changed over time and how these ideas have influenced and continue to inform our understanding of the social world and human behaviour;
  • be equipped with a psychological and sociological literacy that enables them to apply knowledge and skills in everyday lives, including making informed decisions about further study and career choices.


What are the key concepts that underpin our approach to the teaching of social sciences?

  • Sociology: Social structures, social processes, social issues and the explanation of social phenomena including: society, socialisation, norms, values, roles, social constructions, labelling, discrimination, power and authority
  • Psychology: biological concepts within psychology, including neuroscience and genetics as contributors to behaviour; cognitive understanding of thought, information and mental processing as contributors to behaviour; social – impact of social and environmental factors on behaviour and the influence of groups; developmental – how individuals change throughout their lives, with a particular focus on childhood and how both nature and nurture can affect individuals; individual differences – an understanding of the complex nature of human behaviour and experiences and why and how people are different
  • Debates within sociology including conflict versus consensus
  • Debates within psychology, including ‘reductionism/holism’ and ‘nature/nurture’
  • The processes involved in research design, including the establishment of appropriate aims and hypotheses, the use of pilot studies, the selection of appropriate sampling methods, analysis of different types of data 
  • Different types of variables, including independent and dependent variables, and explaining the effect of extraneous variables and how to control for them
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods including: questionnaires, interviews, observations (sociology), lab, field, natural, interview, questionnaire, correlation, case study and observation (psychology).
  • How to interpret graphs, diagrams, charts and tables to discern patterns and trends in statistical data. Understanding practical issues, including time, cost and access. Ethical issues, including consent, confidentiality and harm to participants and how the issues can be addressed

Learning from outstanding classroom practitioners and subject leaders was one of the highlights of my subject knowledge sessions. I benefitted immensely from the expert guidance that really helped contextualise my own knowledge and learning into the reality of the classroom.

How is our social science course constructed?

This course is built on an extensive research base in teaching social sciences and it is closely interwoven with our Central Curriculum Sessions as part of our overall Integrated Curriculum approach. Each year we review all aspects of our courses to ensure that they cover the most relevant components of the subject as well as introducing you to the most commonly taught ideas and concepts. Mentors and specialist teachers in our partnership schools also play a crucial role in reviewing the programme to ensure that it gives the very best preparation for becoming a great social sciences teacher.

Our carefully designed curriculum is structured so that you will have approximately one Subject Curriculum Session a week across the 2024-25 academic year. Alongside this, subject specificity is carefully woven throughout all aspects of the course, including the ongoing assessment process and the optional PGCE assignments, so that all content is relevant to you and your teaching. Subject Curriculum Sessions will develop on the ideas and theory raised in your general Central Curriculum Sessions so that you have expert guidance on how best to deliver strategies and techniques in your specific subject area. 

Our social sciences course prepares you to teach across the 14-19 age range, and you will be formally assessed in those key stages. In addition you will also have the opportunity to observe and teach KS3 in a related subject in at least one of your placements and your Subject Curriculum Sessions will include training that prepares you to teach KS3.

The links below will provide you with information about the curriculum and programmes of study for Key Stage 4 and 5 that schools are expected to deliver, these shape the content that your Subject Curriculum Sessions will cover, to ensure that you are able and confident to teach across the full range of topic areas included.

GCSE Subject Content for Social Sciences (Department for Education 2015-16)

GCE Subject Content for Social Sciences (Department for Education 2014-15)