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Psychology is taught at A Level as an option.

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. Students wishing to study Psychology need to be curious about both typical and atypical behaviour.

Psychology seeks to understand the mind and behaviour through experimentation and observation. Its scope includes questions like what causes schizophrenia? What motivations underlie our behaviour? Why do we dream? And how do we treat disorders?

The skills that are developed by studying Psychology include analytical and evaluative skills and communication skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.

The wide range of skills that are developed throughout A Level Psychology will be useful in other A Level subjects including Sociology, English, Biology, History, Government & Politics, as well as Chemistry.

Exam Boards:

A Level Psychology: AQA

Statement of Intent

We understand the importance of providing a rich and varied curriculum for our students in Psychology; linking to the second of the school’s four strategic cornerstones. We use the prescribed curriculum from AQA A-Level Psychology, as it provides students with an ambitious level of challenge. It was purposefully designed to equip students with the core skills necessary to strive beyond Sixth Form; these include research, literacy, numeracy, oracy and analytical skills. It also presents students with the opportunity to explore varying perspectives and approaches that underpin the core explanations of the human mind and behaviour, often exhibited within our society. We have a thorough understanding of pedagogy within our department, to ensure our very specialist subject knowledge, which is not addressed as a formal subject in KS1, 2 or 3 is accessible to our students from year 12. The effectiveness of our pedagogical skills is evidenced by our students’ ability to make strong links and connections between their subject knowledge and current affairs. In addition to this, our department uses the curriculum to empower students to recognise their own skills and abilities. With strong enrichment opportunities widely accessible to students, we are able to signpost students to resources and master-classes that help to solidify their post-16 aspirations. It is hoped that this curriculum will equip students with the transferable skills needed to thrive beyond Sixth Form, and effectively navigate themselves in society as articulate and active citizens who uphold and internalise British values.

The scope of all topics taught in Psychology are extensive and strongly relatable to real-life. The compulsory content on the AQA Psychology specification includes the topics of Biopsychology, Approaches, Issues & Debates and Research Methods. The Approaches topic is purposefully covered at the beginning of Year 12, as it runs a central theme throughout the course and therefore a depth of understanding is crucial for student accessibility to subsequent topics. Research Methods is taught throughout the course and a method of interleaving is used as a means to re-visit research method concepts that effectively link to the sub-topics covered. For example, Observational methods would be re-visited when exploring the Strange Situation study that is covered within the attachment topic.

Relationships, Schizophrenia and Forensic Psychology are the optional topics we choose to cover. Forensic Psychology topic was selected, as it is provides students with a strong foundation to develop their research method skills, as well as to enhance their understanding of the core psychological approaches that permeate all exam papers. The Relationships topic had been chosen, is it challenges our students’ understanding of the world and serves to achieve our aim of broadening our students’ understanding of diversity in society. All topics chosen link well to tolerance and acceptance of the differing attitudes and beliefs within our society.

Students are encouraged to broaden their understanding of Psychology through various means; such as engaging with current affairs, reading a combination of research journals and perusing in the Psychology Review magazine; all of which are readily available for students in the Sixth Form library. The development of literacy skills are intrinsic to the content covered on this course. The use of subject specific, specialist terminology is consistently embedded within lessons to build upon student oracy, reading and writing skills. Understanding the mathematical requirements that are needed within research methods helps to ensure that students are consolidating the numeracy skills that they would have acquired from KS3 and 4 study, such as the drawing of graphs and understanding how to calculate measures of central tendency; bridging the gap between prior knowledge and the mathematical skills they are likely to encounter when studying for a Psychology undergraduate degree, such as the calculation of statistical analysis.

Psychology Learning Journeys

Learning Journeys

A Level
Year 12 & 13

Programme of Study

KS5 Psychology