Social Sciences

The Team    Aims of the Department    Business Studies    Economics    Government & Politics    Psychology

Incorporating - Business Studies, Economics, Government & Politics, Psychology

The Team

Mr Murphy BSc; MEd; PGCE
Head of Department; teacher of AS and A2 Politics and Sociology

Mrs C Macallister
Teacher of AS and A2 Business Studies and Economics

Mrs Taher BA
Teacher of Psychology AS and A2

Dr George Carleton
Teacher of AS Politics 

Aims of the Department

The Social Sciences Department at St. Augustine’s School fully supports the general aims and objectives of the school, and the specifics outlined below are designed to encourage achievement in all pupils of whatever ability. Pupils should enjoy the social sciences and be exposed to a variety of teaching and learning styles and be determined to aim for the highest standards in all that they do.


The Social Sciences Department will help pupils to:

• develop a strong interest in, and help them identify with their own society and have an understanding of the wider world and their place within it.
• develop critical thinking and analytical thought.
• develop the confidence to employ their critical thinking and analytical skills to the key issues facing society.
• gain a fuller understanding of controversial issues, allowing them the opportunity to make and communicate their own informed judgements.
• realise that others may hold different beliefs, attitudes and values to their own which are equally valid.
• encourage sensitivity towards others and develop an understanding of empathy towards the nature of multi-cultural and multi-ethnic societies.
• develop an enquiry approach towards their work, allowing them to extend their intellectual skills through problem solving.
• enjoy learning and inquiring about their world.
• gain the confidence to work individually and as part of a group.
• become proficient in the applications and uses of ICT.
• to achieve the best possible examination results


Age 16 - 18 or Key Stage 5
Four courses are offered to A Level in the Social Sciences Department, you can view each subject area in detail as you scroll down this page.

Business Studies

Business Studies - AQA Examination Board
The Business Studies course may be of interest to those pupils who want to develop their understanding of business theory and practice and have an interest in current affairs and commerce. The subject offers candidates the opportunity to develop their ability to analyse and respond to data and problems.

• AS Unit 1 - Planning and Financing a Business
• AS Unit 2 - Managing a Business
• A2 Unit 3 - Strategies for Success
• AS Unit 4 - The Business Environment and Managing Change
The examination is synoptic and thus requires a full understanding of all syllabus areas.


This subject can be used to study a range of university courses including business, management, marketing and finance.


Outside the Classroom

The ultimate enterprise experience -  mentored by Young Enterprise Business Advisers, students set up and run their own real company over a year. Examples of previous companies include:
Personalised Calendars

For more details of the Young Enterprise Business Scheme visit:


Economics - Edexcel Examination Board
Economics analyses the key issues facing society and attempts to provide solutions for them. This course would be of particular interest to students with an enquiring mind and an interest in these issues, with a willingness to develop critical analysis.

• Unit 1 - Competitive Markets
• Unit 2 - Managing the Economy
• Unit 3 - Business Economics and Economic Efficiency
• Unit 4 - The Global Economy


Economics is a respected academic discipline and develops clarity of thought and 'uncommon' sense. Economists are employed across public and private sectors. Financial services and journalism also offer possible career paths.


Government & Politics

Government & Politics  - Edexcel Examination Board
It is crucial that as many young people as possible have a sound understanding of how politics and governments work. Our leaders and decision makers of the future will come from your generation. Besides learning about how government works, there are many transferable skills to be developed. Students will learn to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant institutions, processes, political concepts, theories and debates. There are opportunities to visit Parliament, meet politicians and organise elections within the School.

The AS consists of two units, with a further two at A2 Level, as follows;

• Unit 1 - People and Politics in the U.K.
• Unit 2 - Governing the U.K.
• Unit 3 – People and Politics in the USA
• Unit 4 – Governing the USA


Future leaders can start here! There are many related career paths such as: journalism; diplomacy; working for a charity; political party or pressure group; civil service; lobbyist or political analyst; or a career in Law.



Sociology deals with facts and issues that are crucial to the lives of all of us. It is essentially an investigation of society and how people living in society interact with each other on a daily basis. It allows students to draw on their own experiences in attempting to understand the features of human life and modern society; for example, such issues as the social consequences of the increase in divorce, the success or failure of students in the education system, and the effect of the mass media on people’s attitudes and values. It is these features and many others that sociology attempts to understand. It is therefore a dynamic, challenging subject which will exercise your intellect and force you to reconsider your views.

Sociology at St Augustine's priory is taught using a variety of methods, including lectures, seminars, student presentations, and good use of audio/visual aids. It is an essential feature of the course that students take some responsibility for keeping up to date with the day-to-day changes in society. It is a requirement of the course that students read a quality newspaper as well as periodicals such as The Economist, The New Statesman, and The Spectator, and watch relevant documentaries on television.

Course content

Year 12 (AS)

The AS units will introduce students to a subject that few, if any, have studied at GCSE. Developing awareness of society and your place in it together with an understanding of key sociological issues is the main aim of study in Year 12.

Unit 1: Family and households or Culture and Identity

Unit 2: Education and sociological methods

Year 13 (A2)

The A2 units will build on the skills learnt in Year 12. The Students will continue to focus on contemporary society and will be expected to demonstrate a greater range and depth of knowledge and understanding.

Unit 3: Power and politics or Religion and beliefs

Unit 4: Crime and deviance


Career paths – where could this lead?

Sociology is a recognised passport for university entrance and provides a set of indispensable skills in an increasingly competitive market. The subject will certainly develop your analytical, evaluative, and communication skills. It will enrich you personally whatever your career aspirations, but it is especially good preparation for, journalism, the higher ranks of the Civil Service and many business-related careers.

How can I help my daughter?

At A Level, your daughter really needs to read around the subject and take an active interest beyond the syllabus. This involves keeping abreast of current developments by reading quality newspapers and watching analytical news programmes – the Channel 4 news at 7 o’clock is excellent. They will also be encouraged to attend public lectures in London - the LSE Public Lecture series is consistently outstanding -
Students should also be encouraged to utilise the vast array of material available online. Some very useful websites include: website of the UK Parlaiment  website of the UK Government The Economist magazine The Political Studies Association The Hansard Society for Parliamentary Government

Outside the Classroom

Visits are made to Parliament, The European Union and students attend lectures at Westminster Hall. A trip to Washington, USA is planned for 2013.
Study is also augmented by well-known speakers addressing students.
Recent speakers include:

Nigel Farage, Leader of UKIP 
Baroness Flather, member of the House of Lords
Angie Bray,  MP for Ealing Central and Acton


Psychology –AQA Examination Board

What is Psychology A-Level about?
You are human – yet, chances are, you have learnt very little about the workings of the human mind – the organ that governs your every perception and sensation. Psychology focuses on the science of the mind, behaviour and experience. It looks at how individuals think, what they do and the way they are affected by their biological make up and the wider social group.

Why study Psychology?
If you are fascinated by the idea of understanding the brain – if you want to grasp the complexities of human behaviour – Psychology A level is for you. In one lesson, you may be exploring ethical issues in psychological research; in another, you may be learning about memory, and trying to discover why humans forget things. Psychology will offer you a unique academic experience. You will need to be able to learn scientific information such as the aims, procedures and findings of studies but you will also need to be able to evaluate these and other theories. Some answers require you to be concise but there are also longer essay based answers, thus again providing diverse experiences and useful transferable skills – developed through the study of a fascinating subject. Lessons will offer different learning opportunities, with written work conducted alongside discussion and pair work, presentations, videos and practical (such as memory experiments).
Most importantly, Psychology gives you an opportunity to learn about issues that can be applied to the wider world and focus on things that you experience on an everyday basis.
What does the course consist of?
You will be given the opportunity to study many of the core areas of psychology, thus giving you a broad knowledge of the subject.
Throughout the course, you will hone your research and analysis skills – in a way that is never dry, but instead relates to your own experiences. Learning about the human mind is constantly surprising, never boring.

Unit 1: a 1.5 hour written paper (50% of the AS award) The three topics covered are Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Research Methods
Unit 2: a 1.5 hour paper (50% of the AS award) The three topics covered are Biological Psychology (Stress), Social Psychology and Individual differences-Psychopathology (Abnormality)

Unit 3: a 1.5 hour written paper (50% of the A2 award) with three essay-style questions chosen from eight topics:
Biological rhythms and sleep; Perception; Relationships; Aggression; Eating behaviour; Gender; Intelligence and learning; Cognition and development
Unit 4: a 2-hour written examination (50% of the A2 award) with 3 sections

1. Psychopathology: One essay-style question chosen from three
2. Psychology in Action: One question chosen from three
3. Research Methods: One compulsory structured question

What GCSEs do I need?
No specific subjects are required, although a B grade or above are required in English and Maths.


Psychology's focus on human behaviour and thought is attractive to all employment involving human resources. The subject also instils skills in research, analysis, communication and organisation that go well beyond the value of the material covered. It is, of course, relevant to those interested in Psychology at degree level, but also popular amongst students who plan to follow other paths.
As a university subject, Psychology is popular. Graduates enter a wide range of employment sectors, with only a minority pursuing careers in Psychology.

Trips and Activities

Throughout the year the girls attend regular A Level conferences run by the examination boards and visits are organized to Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Stock Exchange. The girls are also encouraged to attend the weekly public lectures at the London School of Economics.

A visit is also planned in 2013-2014 to New York and Washington to visit Wall Street, the United Nations, the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court.