Astor Secondary School has recently (September 2022) created a Social Science Department, proudly comprised of Criminology, Psychology and Sociology. Social science refers to the scientific study of human society and social relationships.
Criminology and Psychology can be accessed at A-Level (KS5) and Sociology can be accessed at GCSE and A-Level (KS4&5). Below you will find information regarding our literacy policies, schemes of work, course requirements, recommended reading and useful links to revision and various resources.
Criminology together with Psychology, is a very popular subject at Astor Secondary School. We do the WJEC Level Three Applied Diploma in Criminology. This comprises four units, two of which are assessed internally using Controlled Assessments (which students have access to notes for) and two externally examined units.
Meet your teacher:
Dr Clare Stubbs is the Head of Criminology, which she teaches to both Yr12 and Yr13.
“I’ve been teaching since 2001, and I’ve taught so many different subjects over my career but I love teaching Criminology. When Mr Kane asked if I minded doing some Criminology four years ago, I was like ‘Why would I mind teaching that?!’ I love the subject for two reasons: firstly, the students who opt for Criminology are all enthusiastic and we usually have a great time in class investigating the criminal mind; secondly, I’ve always been interested in the criminal mind and why some people find it so easy to break the law or take another’s life. I’m so, so lucky because my job feels like discussing something I do as a hobby with like-minded people. It’s a genuine joy to come to work every day.”
Dr Stubbs can be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or phone her on: 01304 201151 ext. 203
Unit One considers the concept of crime. Who decides what criminal, deviant or acceptable behaviours are? When do criminal behaviours get decriminalised and accepted by society. We consider what happens when someone reports a crime, and how do the police decide whether to record the incident or not. We learn about what happens when crime is not reported and the repercussions of that. We consider how the media in portraying crime and what effect this portrayal has on society. We also look at campaigns for changing the law and raising awareness of under-reported crimes before creating a campaign of our own.
Unit Two looks at Criminological Theories (Dr Stubbs’s favourite unit). In this Unit we study what makes someone an offender. Psychological, sociological and biological issues can alter behaviour. We ask questions like “Are you born bad or do you learn to become bad?” and we look at twins who have been separated at birth to see if just one or both offend later. Real life examples help us to understand the criminal mind, such as John Wayne Gacy, who was born with Jacob’s Syndrome, and Phineas Gage whose behaviour changed following a head trauma. Robert Napper would be an example of someone with complex psychological needs who committed serious offences. Freud, Marx, Bowlby and others all have something to tell us!
Unit Three (Dr Stubbs’s other favourite) delves into the world of forensics and the processes evidence goes through between a crime being committed and a suspect being convicted. We learn which personnel are involved in the different stages of a case. We discover how different types of evidence be collected and stored. We learn about how evidence is used in court, and what kinds of evidence are inadmissible. How does pollen help forensic scientists solve a case? Why are insects the pathologists’ best friends? The point of this Unit is for students to be able to identify a miscarriage of justice and to be able to describe the appeals process.
Unit Four tackles what happens to offenders once they are sentenced. We look at the different sentences a judge or magistrates can hand down, such as fines, community service and custodial sentences. We consider when and why jurors might acquit someone. We focus on prisons and recidivism or re-offending rates. We ask questions such as “Are prisons effective at reforming prisoners?” and question the main aims of punishment: rehabilitation, retribution, deterrence, incapacitation and protecting the public.
Trips and Visits:
Unfortunately, the department being quite young still and the intercession of lockdowns has meant that we haven’t been able to have any trips yet. However, Dr Stubbs would like to do a trip to Canterbury Crown Court in the future, hopefully to see some trials taking place. The Old Bailey would be a good trip to do. Canterbury Christchurch University has also offered us a chance to visit their forensics lab, where students can volunteer their mobile phone for retrieving deleted messages, searches and photos (the students themselves seem less keen to do this trip!).
We have already had a number of eminent criminologists visit us, such as Professor Robin Bryant and Kevin Lawton Brown, both from Canterbury Christchurch. Robin and Kevin have both given very interesting talks to the students on investigative techniques and forensic investigation based on their own experiences in the field.
Dr Stubbs has been on many tours such as Auschwitz (state crime), Jack the Ripper’s London (serial killers), Alcatraz (the aims of punishment) and the Krays’ London (white collar crime, gangs and murder). She has photographs and souvenirs of these tours which she uses to give virtual tours to the students. Dr Stubbs has even had access to some of the Metropolitan Police Museum of Crime (the ‘Black Museum’) and has plenty to say about the exhibits on display that she shares with her students.
OCR Psychology specification https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-and-a-level/psychology-h167-h567-from-2015/specification-at-a-glance/
AQA GCSE Sociology specification https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/sociology/gcse/sociology-8192/specification-at-a-glance
AQA AS and A-Level Sociology specification https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/sociology/as-and-a-level/sociology-7191-7192/specification-at-a-glance