BSA National A-Level Sociology Competition Winners Archive

Kari Wang photo.

Kari Wang, Shenzhen College of International Education, Southern China - Winner of the 2016 Competition

 

A 16-year-old Chinese student, Kari Wang, has won the British Sociological Association's prestigious sixth form competition.

Kari, a student at Shenzhen College of International Education in southern China, won the award for her essay on why education will continue to be an important topic for sociologists in the future.

She wins an iPad mini for herself and £250 for her school's sociology department.

The BSA Teaching Group Sixth Form Sociology Competition is held annually, with most entries coming from sixth-formers in British schools. This year, the entrants, aged 16-19, were asked to answer the question 'what is the most important topic for sociologists to study over the next 20 years?' in a 2,000-word written piece or a 10-minute podcast or video clip.

In her essay, Kari draws on her experience of migrating from a small city to Shenzhen for a better education, and her coursework on Chinese students studying overseas.

"I'm quite interested in sociology – this course offers us different perspectives on issues," Kari told the Shenzhen Daily.

She wants to use her knowledge to go abroad to study. "I want to study abroad to explore my interests, instead of just sitting exams."

Five of her classmates also took part in the competition, writing essays on terrorism, the gender divide in school subjects, the digital revolution and human confidence.

Kari's sociology teacher, Richard Driscoll, said "This competition demonstrates that students with the right passion for learning and dedication can achieve whatever they set their hearts on. I have some exceptional students here, they work incredibly hard."

Natalie Davison, one of the competition judges, said: "Kari's work reflects a good research knowledge base and draws on her own experiences to illustrate concepts including social stratification, cosmopolitanism and global mindsets. This was a very articulate and well understood piece of writing."

Brooke Jarwood from Barton Peveril Sixth Form College in Hampshire was given a special mention for her work on social media."

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Tilly Allen photo.

Tilly Allen, Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School, Gloucestershire - Winner of the Autumn 2014 Competition

 

Our Autumn 2014 winner was Tilly Allen from Katharine Lady Berkeley's School, Gloucestershire.  Read Tilly's entry.

All our judges said that it is really pleasing and encouraging to see that the future of Sociology is safe in the hands of the next generation, who are keen and able to engage with such complex social issues. But out of the large number of entries received, Tilly Allen's essay won through against tough competition. Zygmunt Bauman argued that the job of a sociologist was to defamiliarize the familiar; to take a fresh look at our everyday lives and question the taken for granted. Here, Tilly offers an innovative approach to this, by imagining she is writing a message in a bottle to an unknown reader, several decades in the future. Using this approach, Tilly is able to explain our contemporary social world to a stranger, unfamiliar with our society and its patterns of social inclusion and exclusion, how these interest sociologists, and reflect on how things might change. This was both a really engaging and innovate essay, which all of the judges enjoyed reading and highlighted as an exceptional piece of work.
 
Tilly from Katherine Lady Berkeley's School in Gloucestershire, started studying sociology when she was in year 10 and plans to study the topic at university. She leapt at the opportunity to take part in the competition, however never guessed she would be announced as the winner. Tilly said, "I just entered for experience to say that I had taken part, so to win was absolutely amazing." Lee Poole, Head of Sociology at her school was delighted with the result and said, "She’s a very good student and showed a lot of imagination in her essay. I think the slant of the message in the bottle, and the creativity shown, gave her work the edge. She's worked so hard and completely deserved to win. I’m very proud."

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Amy MacKenzie photo.

Amy MacKenzie, St Benedict's School, Ealing - Winner of the Spring 2014 Competition

 

Our Spring 2014 winner was Amy MacKenzie from St Benedict's School, Ealing.  Read Amy's entry.

Amy said:

"I first became interested in sociology after joining St Benedict's in September and I signed up to the BSA mailing list. This means that I receive email updates with articles, new research and other such information. I was a little worried about the amount of time I had and how close this was to my exams. I knew it would be a challenge to do all the research, compose an essay worth submitting and juggle all of the revision I had to do for my AS Levels.

The BSA recommended presenting the essay in a creative way. I decided to base my essay around writing a letter to my cousin who is 7 years old at the moment for him to open when he turns 18. I set my essay slightly in the future, representing myself as a sociologist who has already done research which I could use to help explain the role of the sociologist to my cousin.

My main focus for the letter was to show how the education system has changed and how I helped it to change through the research that I did. My cousin was adopted when he was one and came over to England so I wanted to involve part of that in the letter as adoption has played a major role in his life and my aunt and uncle's life as well as all of my extended family on my mother's side.

Before the Easter holidays, I ran through my ideas with my teacher Ms Comyn and she gave me input on some things to include, books to read and which route of research to go down. Once I had got the essay to what I hoped was a decent level, I submitted it, not wanting to spend too much time on it instead of revising! Time passed and my exams were all done. On 4 June I received a phone call from the British Sociological Association who rang to tell me that I had in fact won the national competition. I was overjoyed but very surprised to have won."

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Lauren Seward photo.

Lauren Seward from Trinity School, Newbury - Winner of the 2013 Competition

 

The first winner of the BSA National Sixth Form Sociology Competition in 2013 was Lauren Seward from Trinity School, Newbury.  Lauren wrote a scene in which a group of students discover why sociology is important today. Read her entry.

On winning this competition Lauren said:

I loved writing it and I love reading it, because if nothing else it will always remind me of my sociology class and the great fun we had. Sociology has helped me to understand the world, in the sense that it made me consider its many flaws and growths, how others see and understand it, and what exactly it is within society that helps keep it going round and round. It gives a little insight to the many questions all beginning with ‘why’.”