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The intent of the Psychology Curriculum

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour.

Cognition and Behaviour:

In studying memory we will look at its structures and processes as well as discovering how we remember certain material better than others, and how memory can be manipulated. In perception we will look at how the biological structures of, for example, the eye are only part of what we see or perceive and how this is also influenced by factors like culture and emotion. In development we will investigate the stages a child goes through to create their thinking and social skills and how these later affect learning. Throughout the course we will investigate the ways psychologists obtain all this information and we will assess the methods they use.

Social Context and Behaviour:

In social influence we will investigate the reasons for people’s compliance or obedience to the behaviour of others. Language, thought and communication will allow us to look at the differences between animal and human communication as well as the non-verbal signals we use to communicate. We will look at the biological structures that shape our behaviour, like the nervous system and the brain itself in the brain and neuropsychology. Finally, in psychological problems we will look at what mental health, and mental health problems are. Looking specifically at the causes and treatments for depression and addiction.

How is the Psychology Curriculum implemented?

Class work will involve a number of learning techniques to best allow students to learn the extensive content. To incorporate research methods, and give students a true experience of psychology, this may often involve students participating in, or running experiments. Extended learning will be set regularly and will often involve revising material for assessments. 
Curriculum Road Map - Psychology

Curriculum Sequencing Plan - Psychology

The impact of the Psychology Curriculum at the end of Key Stage 4

How is it examined?

There are two exams at the end of year 11, separated in line with the content above. These assess three core areas; knowledge, application of knowledge to novel scenarios and evaluation. The exams are worth 50% of the GCSE grade each.

What qualification will I get? What could it lead to?

  • AQA GCSE (9-1) in Psychology

From this you might go on to study ‘A’ Level Psychology, Sociology or Physical Education, or go on to complete a Level 2/3 course in Health and Social Care.

Career Directions

Clinical psychology, sports psychology, forensic psychology, educational psychology, occupational psychology, health psychology or counselling. Psychology also offers a range of skills and knowledge helpful to other career areas like; medicine, law, policing, criminology, human relations, management, marketing and many more.


Psychology – A-Level Qualification

Examining Body:

A Level Qualification

Entry Criteria:

Ideally Grade 5 GCSE English Language, Mathematics and Science

Course Leader:

Miss L Barnes

Why? :

This course will provide an insight into many aspects of human behaviour and the effect that genetics and the environment have on the way we behave. It is a STEM science that encourages students to develop transferable skills in research, evaluation, analysis, comparison and many other areas. There are many specialist careers in Psychology including; clinical, educational, sports and forensic to give some examples. Psychology is a good foundation subject for other University courses and excellent preparation for many careers. Examples include the caring professions such as medicine, nursing, social work, child care and counselling; legal professions including police and solicitors; areas of business, especially advertising, marketing and human relations; teaching at both primary and secondary levels.

Course Structure:

In year 1 students will complete the topics for paper 1 and some research methods for paper 2, which will give them a good introduction to psychology and a good foundation in the skills required for the rest of the course. In year 2 students will complete papers 2 and 3.

To complete the A level students will sit three exam papers.

Paper 1; Social Influence, Memory, Attachment and Psychopathology.
Paper 2; Approaches, Biopsychology and Research methods.
Paper 3; Issues and Debates, Stress, Cognitive Development and Addiction.

Each paper is 2 hours long and is made up of a range of short answer and essay questions.

Extended Learning:

Students are encouraged to extend their knowledge of the topic areas through specified extension activities to their classwork, or accessing super-curricular materials. Students could; subscribe to the BPS or other organisations, search for blogs like PsyBlog or Psych Central, enter competitions like the International Psychology Olympiad or the Tutor2U essay competition, read magazines like Psychology Today or The Psychology Review, access MOOC’s on FutureLearn, test their knowledge on Seneca Learning.

Established in ~ 1632 ~