BSA National A-Level Sociology Competition Winners Archive

Photo of Georgia Hanna.Georgia Hanna, Kendrick School, Reading - Winner of the 2019-20 Competition

Georgia Hanna has been announced as the winner of the 2019-20 BSA A Level Sociology Competition.  Hannah attends Kendrick School, Reading and her application was supported by  Sociology teacher, Wiebke Mueller.  Read Georgia's entry.

The competition question “How can sociology contribute to our understanding of Love Island/Brexit/Extinction Rebellion?” asked applicants to consider one of three of three current issues. Georgia’s winning essay focussed on Brexit and discusses media saturation, globalisation, class and cultural identity in her work. 

Georgia wins an iPad Mini for herself and £500 for her school’s sociology department. In her essay Georgia quotes Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and Georgia hopes to use the prize money to create a school podcast to reduce the influence of media misinformation by filling the gap with academic debate on current political and social topics.

The competition was judged by BSA Trustees, Dr Sarah Cant, Canterbury Christ Church University and Professor Mike Savage, London School of Economics. We are extremely grateful for the time and effort they have given to judging the competition entries. The judges commented that “through an examination of Brexit, the candidate tackled the issues of polarisation, identity and politics. There was evidence of independent thinking and research, and the broad-ranging discussion was cogent. Well done!”

Second place is awarded to Sonia Uthirapathy from The Alice Smith School, Kuala Lumpur, where the focus on Love Island drew on Bourdieu, feminism and the sociology of the media. This nicely structured submission was reflexive and imaginative. Third place went to Matthew Mclaren from Sharnbrook Sixth Form, Bedford, another discussion of Brexit, with an impressive piece of survey research. 

The judges also gave congratulations to all those who entered and their teachers. “We clearly have an excellent cohort of new sociology students - they can see, and articulate, the enduring value of sociology for understanding contemporary society and their place in it!”.


Photo of Hannah WatkinsHannah Watkins (left), Brooke Weston Academy - Winner of the 2018 Competition

Hannah Watkins has been announced as the winner of the 2018-19 BSA A Level Sociology Competition.  Hannah attends Brooke Weston Academy and her application was supported by Miss Christine Seward, her Sociology teacher and Head of Social Sciences at Brooke Weston Academy.

Hannah’s winning essay “Children of Divorce: Our letter to society” addresses the competition question of ‘using a range of sociological arguments, to what extent does society have a responsibility to those who are vulnerable?’

Hannah wins an iPad Mini for herself and £500 for her school’s sociology department.  Hannah’s essay was a strong winner, amongst a strong field of young sociologists across the UK and internationally. The competition was judged by Catherine Eariss, Head of Sociology at Wyke Sixth Form College and Chris Halsall, Curiculum Leader for Sociology at Runshaw College. We are extremely grateful for the time and effort they have given to judging the competition entries.

Catherine Eariss reported that “it was a pleasure reading some great Sociology” and Chris Halsall felt that “there have been some outstanding contributions to our understanding of vulnerable groups in this competition, with candidates showing a clear passion for both the subject area and the discipline itself. This is what Sociology is all about!”


Photo of Amanda Daud

Amanda Daud (middle), Sydney Russell School - Winner of the 2017 Competition


Amanda Daud is the winner of the 2017-18 BSA National A Level Sociology Competition.  Amanda attends the Sydney Russell School and completes her A Level Sociology with the Jo Richardson Community School in East London.

Amanda’s winning essay addresses the question of ‘What can sociology contribute to the debate about ‘Fake News’? which was the question for the 2017-2018 prize.  Amanda questioned 50 subjects on their use of social media and their understanding of the term ‘fake news’.  Her essay on her research discusses what her subjects identify as the main influencers on fake news such as Donald Trump and their thoughts on the most reliable sources of media, identified as BBC News.  She applied a variety of sociological theories to the issue of fake news, such as Marxism and pluralism, to reach a better understanding of fake news and its social implications.

Amanda wins an iPad for herself and £500 for her school’s sociology department.  Amanda’s essay was a strong winner, amongst a strong field of young sociologists across the UK and internationally. 

The full prize winning essay is published in our member magazine, The Sociology Teacher.


Image of Teaching Competition Winner.

Gabrielle Stapleton (middle), Skegness Grammar School - Winner of the 2016 Competition


Gabrielle Stapleton, of Skegness Grammar School, has been announced as the winner of the 2016 BSA National A Level Sociology Competition.

At 18 years old, Gabrielle, chose to answer the question posed based on religion.  She said religion was her chosen topic as she had not yet covered the module, and wanted to broaden her knowledge before she was taught it with her class.

In her essay, Gabrielle describes how she gave questionnaires to 40 people to ask them about their views on religion, finding that a majority thought religion caused more conflict than consensus in society today.  She also explored the differing views on religion of sociologists such as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Robert Bellah.

She wins an iPad mini for herself and £250 for her school's sociology department. Mr Wardell, the sociology teacher at Skegness Grammar School, said “Gabrielle is a very dedicated student and has made us very proud of what she has accomplished”.

The BSA National A Level Sociology Competition is held annually, with most entries coming from British schools. This year the entrants were asked to answer the question ‘what are the causes of social consensus and conflict in society today?’.  This was to be presented in a 2,000-word written piece, or a 10-minute podcast or video clip.

Gabrielle is about to start her A Levels and hopes to go on to study Sociology and Criminology at the University of Nottingham, starting September 2017.

Well done Gabrielle and good luck in your exams.


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."


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."


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."


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’.”