Criminology Curriculum

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Due to the current situation, departmental curriculum plans are not currently available.

Here is the Cowley COVID resuming plan as an interim guide.

Curriculum aim

The purpose of the WJEC Level 3 Applied Certificate in Criminology is to provide students with an introduction to criminal justice and to give a context for humanities learning.  It is a qualification with elements of psychology, law and sociology that complements studies in humanities.  It has been designed to offer exciting and interesting experiences that focus learning for students through applied learning, i.e. through the acquisition of knowledge and understanding in purposeful contexts linked to the criminal justice system.  An understanding of criminology is relevant to many job roles within the criminal justice sector, social and probation work and sociology and psychology.  It also helps students to understand the criminal justice system which impacts on their own behaviour and conduct in UK society.  It requires students to consider how the use and application of their learning impacts on themselves, other individuals, employers, society and the environment.

The staff’s commitment and enthusiasm for the subject ensures that high standards are set which fuel students’ aspirations through their own conduct, support of the Cowleian values and the expectations of all students.

Curriculum structure

The Criminology course is designed to give the opportunity for students to be awarded either the WJEC Applied Certificate or Applied Diploma.  It is accessible for all students as it is graded A*-E.  The first unit (Changing Awareness) will enable the students to demonstrate understanding of different types of crime, influences on perceptions of crime and why some crimes are unreported.  The second unit (Criminological Theories) will allow students to gain an understanding of why people commit crime, drawing on what they have learned in Unit 1.  If students only successfully complete these two they can be awarded the Certificate.  To gain the Diploma students have a further two units to pass and draw upon their knowledge developed in the first year of the course. The third unit (Crime Scene to Courtroom) will provide an understanding of the criminal justice system from the moment a crime has been identified to the verdict.  Students will develop the understanding and skills needed to examine information in order to review the justice of verdicts in criminal cases.  In the final unit (Crime and Punishment), students will apply their understanding of the awareness of criminality, criminological theories and the process of bringing an accused to court in order to evaluate the effectiveness of social control to deliver criminal justice policy.

The course is assessed through 50% controlled assessment and 50% external examination.  This means the course is suitable for different types of learners.  For the controlled assessment units each assessment criteria is marked over a series of mark bands with are clearly explained in what is needed to achieve that level of depth.  This enables students which means studnets understand what they need to do to access the higher mark bands.

The applied nature of the course allows students to learn in such a way that they develop skills required for independent learning and development, a range of generic and transferable skills such as critical thinking, and report writing and time management, the ability to solve problems, the skills of project based research, development and presentation, the ability to work alongside others and the ability to apply learning in vocational contexts.

Throughout the course students will be expected to work independently as reading/researching around topics areas is vital to further develop knowledge and understanding.  This is encouraged through keeping up-to-date with the latest news and watching television documentaries.  Many students do this anyway as they have a personal interest in this genre of viewing to start with. Criminology is a popular subject with the media so there is always a wealth of information to be gained from these sources and students are keen to do this in their own time.  They are also eager to discuss what they have learned in lesson.  Students will also need to complete work outside of lesson, through designated homework tasks in order to meet stringent deadlines.  Using the remote log on system will allow this to take place.

Curriculum in action

Curriculum Beyond the Classroom
Criminology students are always welcome to use the Criminology rooms and resources for independent study.

Guest speakers are used to contextualise some topics such as a National Crime Agency employee with experience working within British Transport Police, a local knife crime campaigner and a local experienced magistrate.  This element of the course is always being developed as are the opportunities for visits to build on what is already offered such as a visit to Liverpool Crown Courts and London taking in the Houses of Parliament, Courts of Justice and Supreme and the London Dungeon.

Subject Expertise
Vocational teachers first introduced the course in 2014 after visiting a similar school in the North West who offered the subject.  This proved to be very useful in providing key help and advice in setting up the course.  From this point the two members of staff have built up a good level of expertise in delivering the course.  This has been supported through the background of the staff who between them have experience of teaching A Level Sociology and who both currently teach BTEC National Subsidiary in Public Services.  Both of these subjects have curriculum links with Criminology.  Within the area there is also a third member of staff who currently teaches A Level Law and Psychology where, again there are cross-over curriculum links.  These opportunities have proved to be very useful as it means some students in the Criminology cohort are also taught by the staff for other subjects.  This proves vital in creating strong working relationships with the students and enables connections to be made across the subjects’ topics.  Staff do have the opportunity to attend WJEC CPD, the resulting information gained is then filtered back to the remaining staff to inform current and future teaching and learning.   There is also a WJEC Criminology Facebook page which is a useful forum for information sharing.

Regular meetings between the staff also take place where information is shared and discussed.

The Applied Diploma attracts UCAS points and allows students to access higher degree courses in Criminology alongside other areas such as criminal justice, law, psychology and sociology.  Alternatively, the qualification allows students to gain the required understanding and skills to be able to consider apprenticeships or employment within the criminal justice system, e.g. the Crime Prosecution Service, the National Probation Service and the Courts and Tribunals Service.