“The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.”
Paul Valéry, Tel Quel, 1943
We aim to provide an academically challenging, fascinating and useful insight into the broad and varied field of Psychology and to instil a love of life-long learning in our students. The intention is to encourage students to be reflective, critical, analytical and self-motivated learners, as they study a range of topics including biological, cognitive, developmental and social psychology, individual differences, and research methods.
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological ideas, theories and research
- Apply this knowledge and understanding in both a theoretical context and a practical context
- Analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information, ideas and evidence, including in relation to issues and debates, to make judgements and reach conclusions, and develop and refine practical design and procedures.
- Concise written communication skills, including the confident and correct use of subject-specific specialist terminology
- The ability to apply psychological concepts, theories and research findings to novel situations
- Evaluation and analytical skills including those relating to research, such as validity, reliability, and generalisability
- Quantitative and qualitative data analysis
- Discursive and debating skills in relation to philosophical arguments within Psychology
What is taught?
Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. It is a broad and varied science, covering aspects of biology, philosophy, and mathematics, and as such requires a wide range of transferrable skills. Psychology is an intellectually challenging, diverse, and ultimately, extremely useful subject, which we hope students will reflect on and apply within their lives, long after their examinations are over.
As psychologists, we understand how the mind works, and how we learn, and we aim to make use of this knowledge in the way that we teach Psychology. There is therefore an emphasis on active learning – students are given opportunities to conduct small-scale pieces of research, to think for themselves, to apply what they are learning about to their own lives, and also to new topics. We make use of class discussions, debates, and presentations to develop students’ confidence in themselves.
Psychology is taught from Year 10 through to Year 13, using the exam board AQA for both GCSE and A Level; further information can be found on the AQA website (www.aqa.org.uk). Students are formally assessed on a termly basis, and at the end of each topic, with mock examinations for Year 11 and 13 in the January preceding their external examinations.
The GCSE course covers the following areas:
- Research Methods
- Social Influence
- Language, Thought and Communication
- Brain and Neuropsychology
- Psychological Problems
This course provides students with an extension to the subject content covered at GCSE and the basis for further study in Psychology at University.
The A Level course covers the following areas:
- Social Influence
- Approaches in Psychology
- Research Methods
- Issues and Debates in Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
The study of Psychology throughout the GCSE and A Level courses encourages students to develop as learners in the following ways:
- Engage in the process of psychological enquiry to develop as effective and independent students, and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds
- Develop an awareness of why Psychology matters, acquire knowledge and understanding of how Psychology works, and its essential role in society
- Develop an understanding of the relationship between Psychology and social, cultural, scientific and contemporary issues and its impact on everyday life
- Develop an understanding of ethical issues in Psychology
- Develop an understanding of the contribution of Psychology to individual, social and cultural diversity
- Develop a critical approach to scientific evidence and methods
In order to succeed in Psychology, students must have the following qualities:
- Have good analytical and Maths skills in order to understand and explain the variety of data analysis from research
- Be able to work independently to prepare for lessons and complete Home Learning tasks
- Be prepared to complete reading around the content of lessons on a regular basis
- Be able to develop extended answers to exam questions using coherent language to portray their point of view
Psychology provides students with a number of employment opportunities when they leave school or after studying Psychology further at University. These include the following to name a few:
- Child Care Worker
- Child Psychologist
- Clinical Psychologist
- Cognitive Psychologist
- Criminal Investigator
- Educational Psychologist
- Forensic Psychologist
- Military Psychologist
- Police Officer
- Social Worker
- Sports Psychologist
- University Lecturer
Academic literacy in Psychology
- Students are regularly asked to do pre-reading to prepare for their lessons and summarise their learning in concise notes
- Library resources are regularly reviewed and promoted in lessons – we have a new Psychology section with contemporary publications and we also purchase Psychology Review magazine for students’ use.
- Students are encouraged to subscribe to the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest to receive weekly updates of the latest research
Students are encouraged to extend their interest in Psychology by…
- Psychoanalysis Club meets weekly at lunchtimes to show videos relating to psychoanalysis which are then discussed as a group
- Wills and Walder Lectures often cover psychological topics
- Debate Club provides an opportunity to test out analytical and evaluative skills
- Students are encouraged to sharing resources they have found with the class
- We have a small but growing Psychology library in the Psychology classroom which students may borrow books from
- Visiting the school library to use the Psychology and Wellbeing resources
- Where possible, we offer extracurricular trips to lectures, local universities, examination board workshops, and relevant theatre shows
- Outside speakers are invited to come to lessons to speak to the students about their area of expertise where appropriate