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The Piggott School

A Church of England Academy

Summer Course Prep

Please click the headings below.


Over the Summer holidays we would like you to  set up a ‘Pinterest’ page so that you can begin to research and save artists that could inform your A Level work.

· To set up a Pinterest account follow instructions on the link below…


Once you have created your own please ensure that you are following the list of accounts below. These are full of interesting pins that you may find useful...

· Piggott Art

· Sarah Franklin

· Gemma Pattison


You now need to create  a  series of ‘Mood Boards’ to show the rest of the group on your return in
September.  You can put together these moodboards in Powerpoint or Word and then print them out to bring with you on your first lesson. Use the websites provided to help you find artists that fit the criteria below. The boards you need to create are….

· Artists that you find interesting and aspire to

· Artists that you feel comfortable working with/in the style of


N.B. Please ensure that your moodboards are ‘ANNOTATED’


Useful Websites


New Course Specification - Click here

Economics at the movies  - Click here - regularly read stories from Micro and Macro Economics. - Look at past exam papers.

English Language 

Summer Holiday Task: Scrapbook collection

  • By the start of the course in September you will need to have begun a scrapbook collection.
  • Your task is to collect at least 5 texts about a language issue. A great source is our Twitter page – follow us here
  • Annotate the texts identifying their audiences, purposes and their aims. Think about YOUR views on the language issue they are discussing.
  • Here is one to get your started:
English Literature 


By the start of the course in September, you will need to have read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (the Wordsworth Classics edition) and two other whole texts from the reading list in your transition booklet (at least one to be a novel).

As you read, make notes on any aspects of love – with page references, and then write a comparison of the texts, focusing on how love is presented in about 1000 words. You can write about the bigger picture of love, or you may choose to focus in on a specific element of love e.g. romantic love, desire, platonic love, parental love, obsession, unrequited love, marriage, lust, deceit, painful love, joyful love etc.

Click here for a copy of the transition day information sheet 


1 Revisit your GCSE notes to make sure your vocabulary and grammar are still sharp at the start of the course. Two useful sites for grammar practice:


2 Choose any French film to watch (there are lots of them on Netflix and Amazon Prime). Write a few paragraphs in French about the film: what it’s about, what you thought about it etc.


3 Using the following websites, choose a selection of articles to read and make a vocab list for each one or try writing a summary of what you have read.


4 There are lots of apps that you can download from the same websites as above.

On Twitter, follow the media sources above and they will send you headline news.


All students need to purchase the three recommended books.


You then need to read, read, read!


This will ensure that you have some background knowledge for the start of your courses.


Don’t forget that this also includes the African Kingdoms booklet that you were given on the induction day.


Wells and Fellows: Britain 1930-97


Paterson and Willoughby: Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992

Fellows and Wells: Civil Rights in the USA for OCR 1865-1992


Please Click here to download the booklet for Mathematics

Media Studies 
  • Please buy a copy of this book .
  • Listen to at least one episode of either The Media Show or The Media Podcast. Write about 250 words on what you consider to be the most interesting issues facing the media at the moment.
  • Choose one story which features in the news over the summer. Collect coverage of that story from at least three different media forms (eg, newspaper, radio, TV, social media) and present your ideas on how that story is represented differently. You may present your ideas in any form other than an essay, eg a MindMap, a PowerPoint, a Podcast – be as creative as you can.

Over the Summer holidays we would like you to  set up a ‘Pinterest’ page so that you can begin to research and save artists and photographers that could inform your A Level work.

· To set up a Pinterest account follow instructions on the link below…


Once you have created your own please ensure that you are following the list of accounts below. These are full of interesting pins that you may find useful...

· Piggott Art

· Sarah Franklin

· Gemma Pattison


You now need to create  a  series of ‘boards’ to show the rest of the group on your return in September.  Use the websites provided to help you find photographers that fit the criteria below. The boards you need to create are….

· Photographers that  focus on texture in their work

· Photographers that focus on lighting & shadows in their work

· Photographers that  focus on viewpoints  in their work

· Photographers work that you find interesting


Useful Websites



A Level Sociology Introductory Assessment.

In Advanced Level Sociology you will be required to read a fair amount of material and put it into your own words in the form of essays. You will also be required to think critically about this information and offer alternative viewpoints. You will improve these skills as the course progresses. There will be many terms you are unfamiliar with and you should get used to dealing with these.  These tasks are designed to help you develop these skills. 



1.    Read the entire document and highlight key points

2.    Create a Sociology glossary by writing definitions of the words underlined in bold. Use the space provided in the booklet.

3.    Write minimum 300 words on ‘What is Sociology’ using the booklet

4.    Write minimum 500 words outlining the five sociological perspectives Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism, Interactionism and Post Modernism.


What is Sociology?

Sociology is the  study  of  human  social  life.  Because  human  social  life  is  so  complex, sociology  has many  sub-sections  of  study,  ranging  from  the  analysis  of  individual interactions between people to theories  that  try  to  understand  how  the  entire world works.  This handout will introduce you to sociology and explain why it is important, how it can change your perspective of the world around you, and give a brief history of the discipline.


The  term  sociology was coined by Auguste Comte  (1798-1857)  in 1838  from  the Latin  termsocius  (companion,  associate)  and  the Greek  term  logia  (study  of).  Sociology has its roots in significant changes such as the industrial revolution and the urbanisation of populations. Some  early  sociologists such as Marx, Weber,  and Durkheim were  disturbed  by  thesocial  processes  they  believed  to  be  driving  these  changes.


The focus of the early founders of sociology was to gain an understanding of how social  structures e.g the economy, family, workplaces, religion, education, or the media, can influence people’s norms,values ,culture and status. They were also interested in how social roles influence behaviour e.g gender, ethnic background or class.


Nature or Nurture?

Is the behaviour of humans due to genes, biology, evolution etc or is it due to environmental factors like upbringing, culture, nationality, and social roles like gender, class or race?  Sociologists fall heavily on the side of nurture (how the social environment affects behaviour)


Top-down or bottom-up Sociology?

Top-down sociology sees people as being influenced by the system (society as a structure). A bit like society being a great big machine that controls how we act – we are puppets on a string and ‘society’ is the puppet master. We have very little free-will and are compelled to do things. For example we commit crime because there is pressure for us to possess certain things from the media, like the latest mobile phone. Marxism and Functionalism (see below) are top-down perspectives also known as ‘structural’ theories or ‘Macro approaches’


Bottom-up sociology prefers to look at how individuals actively create society through their interactions with each other and how they influence each other on a small scale.  All together this has the affect of creating the larger structure. For example, using the crime example, it could be argued that the media is not some machine or entity that does what it does on its own.  It requires individuals to interact and make decisions and their individual actions create the monster that is the media. This debate is sometimes referred to as Free-will or Determinism. Do individuals have freedom to choose e.g lifestyle, sexuality, occupation or are we determined by the structure of society? Interactionism and Post-modernism (see below) are bottom-up perspectives also known as social action’ theories or ‘Micro approaches’


Is Sociology a Science?

Social scientists gather data and test their theories about how the world works using the scientific method. However, Sociologists, like all humans, have attitudes and beliefs which will influence what they study and what they find. Humans are conscious thinking beings that have free-will and awkwardly change their behaviour when they know they are being studied! Some believe that this makes it difficult to be objective. In the natural sciences like chemistry the objects of study do not choose how to react – water does not choose how to react to heat – it just boils. Social Science subjects are gaining ground in being considered scientific but some still argue that humanity is simply too complex to study in the same way as chemistry or biology. Another issue is if we only collect Quantitative data like numbers and statistics, how can we gain a true picture of individual motives, attitudes and experiences? But if we collect rich Qualitative data like a case study for example of one person’s experiences, how can we generalise the findings to a whole population?


Frequently discussed in Sociology.

  • How much does social class affect our life chances and behaviour?
  • Will males and females ever be equal? Are they already equal? Are their differences due to biology or society?
  • What would be the best way to tackle crime, preventing poverty or increasing prison sentences to act as a deterrent?
  • Is it fair that some people are rich and some are poor – can the poor be blamed for their situation?

·         Is it fair that some jobs seem easy but pay well while other really hard jobs are poorly paid?

  • Should the government ban private schools and tutoring to pass 11+ exams so that every child has equal opportunities?

How do we view society?

Because of some of these debates, various theories about how society works have been developed by different writers such as Karl Marx, Durkheim, or Max Weber.  These are described in this booklet.


Functionalist perspective

Functionalism is based on the work of French sociologist Emile Durkheim. It is a structural theory (Macro approach). The big structure which Functionalists examine is the shared culture within any society and how this makes society the way it is. Functionalists believe that society is how it is because everything serves an important function. For example we have education because we need to pass on knowledge and culture to offspring. We have a government because we need leadership and rules.  We have families because we need a way in which children can be nurtured and people are emotionally supported.  We have an economic system in which people are provided with wages or profit with which to buy food and shelter.  Even crime serves the function of reminding us of our values (what we believe is right and wrong) and allows us to question our values and change for the better e.g suffragettes were criminals in their day! In the main part, people believe strongly in these ways of doing things (shared culture) and contribute in order to maintain a harmonious society e.g by paying taxes, going to work, sending children to school and obeying the law. This is known as value consensus.


This basically suggests that everyone must work together to maintain society and therefore all parts of society are inter-dependent (they depend upon each other). For example without education we would not have skilled individuals to work and provide goods and services for people. If the economy fails then many aspects are affected such as jobs, families, health. To explain this concept of inter-dependence Functionalist use an organic analogy.  They suggest that society is like the human body as if one part fails e.g lungs, then other parts will also fail e.g heart.


Marxist Perspectivemarxsig

Marxism comes from the work of German sociologist Karl Marx. It is a structural (Macro approach) but is also sometimes referred to as a ‘critical theory’ and as a ‘conflict theory’. The big structure examined in Marxism is capitalism. Marxists are anti-capitalist and anti-establishment, they believe society enslaves people to a system where they work hard for low wages in order to buy stuff they don’t really need. It is a conflict theory because it claims that capitalism creates conflict between classes. Two classes exist: a dominant class, the bourgeoisie (rich, upper/ruling class), and a subordinate class, the proletariat (working classes), and the whole social system is centred around the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. The proletariat are exploited because their labour (work) is worth more than the wages they receive and the bourgeoisie (who employ them in factories, mines, shops, offices, banks etc)keep the surplus (profit) for themselves. The result is the bourgeoisie become richer and the proletariat merely survive. According to Marx the whole of society is organised around this relationship.

The bourgeoisie are a minority in society, the proletariat out-number them by far. This means that the bourgeoisie have to maintain control over the proletariat in order to prevent an uprising or revolution. Marx suggested that control is maintained because the Bourgeoisie promote an ‘ideology’ which is in their interests through institutions which they control such as education, religion, media and government. For example government can promote the idea that people who claim benefits are lazy. This benefits them because they can make inequalities in wealth seem fair. According to Karl Marx people accept this ideology and develop ‘false class consciousness’ (they are unaware that they are controlled and exploited). When they become aware of the unfairness of society they will become ‘class conscious’ and a revolution will be the result.  An uprising will abolish capitalism and replace it with a communist system.Neo-Marxism is a newer perspective which focuses more on the means of power and control other than ownership of land and property e.g the media, politics, education and cultural power. 


Feminist perspective

Feminism is a Conflict theory similar to Marxism but feminists believe the main conflict in society is between men and women rather than between classes.

Men have exploited women for a long time. They call this patriarchy

Patriarchy exists in the family, the workplace, the government and throughout society. Men can exploit women because childbirth makes them vulnerable (imagine a woman’s life without birth control even today).The fact that men are physically stronger than women comes into it but is exaggerated by socially constructed gender roles. Feminists believe there are other options, had men not chosen to exploit women there are fairer ways to share wealth and workload. Men are aware of this but choose exploitation because they benefit from the expectations placed upon women such as being a ‘domestic goddess’ and looking attractive for men. Many women still suffer from inequality in the workplace, sexual objectification in the media and from violence at the hands of men. However the level of exploitation has reduced over the decades due to feminist campaigns described below.

The impacts of feminism

Feminism presents a powerful challenge to all the key theoretical perspectives and believes most Sociological research is ‘Male stream’ or it ignores sociological issues relevant to women. There have been women fighting for women’s rights throughout history however the first major campaign was the suffragettes in the late 19th century.  They succeeded in gaining votes for women in 1918. This was crucial to secure laws in parliament which would protect the rights of women.  Although many of these important rights such as abortion or divorce laws were not changed until years later. The second major campaign started in the 1960s known as the Women’s liberation movement. They campaigned in areas such as the law e.g the workplace, maternity leave, equal pay, education, entry into universities and in the family, rape within marriage laws, abortion rights. Women do have more say in family matters as they often contribute financially now. But many feminists feel women now have a dual burden of paid work and housework. Women are making great inroads in occupations once considered purely male.


Postmodernist perspective

Postmodernist sociologists claim that changes that took place in the 20th century have rendered exiting sociological theories redundant. Such theories were devised to make sense of the modern era with its industrial societies and nation states. Today, they claim, these societies have altered so much that we need a new type of sociology to make sense of them.


Changes include issues like the development and spread of information and communication technology. Consumerism has lead to choice and diversity. Buying goods and services has become increasingly central to peoples lives. What we buy helps to define who we are. We purchase branded goods that allow us to create our own identities. In postmodern society people’s identities are constructed through personal choice rather than determined by class, gender etc. As a result they are more fluid and changeable. The media is so intense that the boundary between reality and media images has broken down. We get our ideas about who we are from the media.


Globalisation has broken down boundaries between nation states. We now have transnational organisations like the EU and transnational companies. People are increasingly exposed to different societies and different ways of life. Nations are becoming increasingly multi-cultural. A sense of growing social and environmental risk makes people’s lives increasingly insecure. Jobs are no longer for life, neither are marriages. With global warming and worldwide pollution, our environment appears increasingly dangerous. Distance no longer provides a barrier to communication – people can talk to each other from anywhere at any time. This provides immediate access to cultures, practices, ideas and belief systems, which were once remote and inaccessible.


Interactionist perspective

Interactionism is a social action or micro theory that is focussed on how the actions of individuals creates the reality of society. In particular they focus on inner mental states such as how the people around us help us to develop a ‘sense of self.’  Interactionists use the term ‘labelling’ to describe how some groups are negatively stereotyped and how this in turn affect a person’s sense of self. A person can adopt the behaviour they feel is expected of them leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example being labelled a ‘chav’ may lead to a person behaving like a chav and may have negative consequences for the individual.


Human beings attach meanings to experiences or events that they encounter. How they interpret these events is more important than the event itself. If a teacher at school criticises our work we may interpret this in a number of ways and it is this interpretation that will influence action rather than the event itself.Concepts in the social world like crime, unemployment or poverty are abstract and socially constructed by the way we choose to interpret or attach meanings to them.  A “crime” is only a crime because that is how we interpret it.


In social science, objectivity is neither possible nor desirable, values, beliefs and expectations will always colour research. Objectivity is itself a value treasured by the scientific community that does nothing to reveal the truth. There is a fundamental difference between the subject matter of natural science and that of sociology and it is therefore a mistake to attempt to apply the same methodology. Human beings have consciousness and free will – they choose how to act. They are not simply caused to do things by external pressures acting upon them as things do in the natural world.