Live revision! Join us for our free exam revision livestreams Watch now

Topic updates

Additions to Recommended Content in the AQA Teaching Guide (Education)

Craig Gelling

10th November 2022

AQA has recently released an updated version of its popular teaching guide for A Level Sociology. Whilst this does not form an amendment to the specification, there are some interesting changes to the sociologists and research that students might be expected to be familiar with.

We have spent the last week or so going through the new teaching guide to highlight some of the new sources that are recommended by AQA and that you and your students may want to become more familiar with. While the new teaching guide is less comprehensive than the older version, with less recommended sociologists, it should be used to broaden your curriculum rather than replace it (with some exceptions).

Over the next week or so, we will be looking at the new recommendations for core content (Education, Crime and Deviance and Theory and Methods), for the Year 12 options (Culture and Identity, Families and Households, Health and Work, Poverty and Welfare) and Year 13 options (Beliefs in Society, Global Development, Media and Stratification and Differentiation). Where possible we will suggest some specific studies that students may want to be familiar with (some of which we will develop further in separate posts).

Today, we will be looking at the core topic of Education:


There are some welcome changes to content that is no longer being recommended by AQA, such as some outdated cultural deprivation theories (e.g. Bereiter and Engelmann). While the new teaching guide provides less content than the older teacher guide that circulated around the time of the exams, I would suggest that the recommended sociologists on the specification are seen as an addition to what you ordinarily teach, rather than an exhaustive guide.

The main additions in education are in the specification point on differential educational achievement by social class, gender and ethnicity with the addition of work by Louise Archer, Kalwant Bhopal, Dianne Reay and Finn McKay. A limitation of this teaching guide is highlighted here: all of these sociologists have written extensively about education and so recommending specific works by these academics is difficult. However, we have highlighted some pieces of research that may be of use.

Louise Archer

Archer, L., Hollingworth, S., & Halsall, A. (2007). 'University's not for me - I'm a nike person': Urban, working-class young people's negotiations of 'style', identity and educational engagement

Archer, L (2003) Race, Masculinity and Schooling

Kalwant Bhopal

Bhopal, K. (1997) Gender, ‘Race’ and Patriarchy: A Study of South Asian Women

Deuchar, R. and Bhopal, K. (2017) Young people, social control and inequality: problems and prospects from the margins

Dianne Reay

Reay et al (2005) Degrees of Choice: Class, race, gender and higher education

Reay (1998) Class Work: Mother’s Involvement in their Children’s Primary Schooling

Reay( 2004) 'Mostly Roughs and Toughs' : Social class, race and representation in inner city schooling

Finn McKay

Mackay, F. (2017) Un-teaching for boys

Mackay, F. (2021) Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars: The Politics of Sex

Under the specification point "relationships and process within schools", the work of Becky Francis and Mairtin Mac an Ghail (not Mac and Ghail!!) have been added, and have been widely used since the specification began (and on the last specification).

Francis, B. (2000) Boys, Girls and Achievement: Addressing the Classroom Issues

Mac an Ghail, M. (1994) The Making of Men: Masculinities, Sexualities and Schooling

Under educational polices, the work of Tough and Brooks has been added to already established names such as Bartlett and Whitty.

Tough, S and Brooks, R. (2007) School Admissions: Fair choice for parents and pupils

Craig Gelling

Craig is an experienced Sociology teacher and examiner and is known as The Sociology Guy on social media. Craig helps design and deliver tutor2u Sociology CPD courses and student exam workshops.

© 2002-2024 Tutor2u Limited. Company Reg no: 04489574. VAT reg no 816865400.