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Every contact leaves a trace.

The Locard Exchange Principle

The aims of the Criminology curriculum are:

  • To have uncompromising aspirations for every individual and for our school to be an exceptional and inspirational community of lifelong learners.
  • To ensure all students have the knowledge to critically engage with the criminal justice system and its impact on society.

Key Concepts

Crime: the concept of crime, its definitions and application in different spheres of public and private life underpin the syllabus content. Crime is looked at in Unit 1 – in respect of how crime is recorded, the underreporting of crime and the impact on individuals/groups in raising awareness of crime, in Unit 2 – in respect of different theories to explain crime, in Unit 3 – how crime is investigated and in Unit 4 – how crime is punished by the different agencies of social control.

Deviance: the concept of deviance is considered throughout the course, particularly in respect of the distinction drawn between criminal and deviant behaviour. In Unit 2 students consider the different between crime and deviance, the reasons why some behaviour is labelled as deviant and how socio-economic changes have affected definitions of deviance. In Unit 1 students consider the role of the media in amplifying deviance and creating moral panics. In Unit 4 students consider the role of formal and informal sanctions in regulating deviance and deviant behaviour.

Punishment: the concept of punishment is looked at throughout the course, but notably in Unit 3 and Unit 4. In Units 1 and 2, students examine the punishments that have been awarded for different crimes and the criminological theories underpinning the utilisation of these punishments and/or campaigns to change the use of these punishments. In Unit 3 students look at the role of the police and Crown Prosecution Service in arresting and prosecuting offenders. In Unit 4, the types of punishment are examined, formal and informal, with an analysis of their aims/roles, strengths and weaknesses.

Deterrence: Deterrence is considered/examined as part of the wider question of the role, nature and purpose of the criminal justice system. In Unit 1, students examine whether the criminal law is an effective deterrent against certain forms of behaviour, particularly as many crimes are either under-reported or not recorded at all. In Unit 2, deterrence is considered as part of Criminological theories – if crime is genetic/innate can the criminal justice system ever act as a significant deterrent? In Unit 3, the role of the CPS/Police are looked at, with questions considered in respect of factors affecting the trial processes and the use of sentencing. Finally, in Unit 4, the role of the agencies of criminal justice are examined more thoroughly – students consider the aims of prison, the probation service and whether these are effective in deterring crime.

Key Skills

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of criminological principles and theory
  2. Apply knowledge and understanding of criminological principles and theory
  3. Evaluate criminological principles and theory

What is taught?

Curriculum Map Criminology

Academic Literacy in Criminology

Students are provided with additional reading from the leading undergraduate textbook: Criminology by Tim Newburn. Students are also encouraged to read academic articles on crime/criminological disciplines and to listen to relevant podcasts/TedTalks

Students are encouraged to extend their interest in Criminology by… 

Applying the theories and methods used by criminologists to understand and explain criminal behaviour and make conclusions on the impact of class, gender, age and ethnicity on the criminal justice system.

Enrichment Opportunities

Students are also able to participate in the weekly debate club to develop argument skills and to consider the wider impact of the law on society and the depiction of crime in the Media in Thursday Paper Review.

Sixth Form Students can participate in the Bar Mock Trial Competition

We have speakers from outside agencies (the Police, CPS, Probation Service) who come and speak to our students

Careers Guidance and Support for Criminology:



MGSG Careers