Psychology

Curriculum Intent

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. Our curriculum is structured to enable students to better understand the world around them and develop a curiosity about the human mind, brain, and behaviour. 


Students will develop a knowledge of different areas of psychology and how they relate to one another and deep knowledge and understanding of the scientific methodology and its rigour. They will develop competence in problem-solving, mathematical, and practical activities, including research. Students learn how to analyse and interpret data and use statistical tests.


Students will learn to think critically, evaluate evidence, and communicate their knowledge through essays and reports. Students develop essay writing skills, particularly the ability to summarise and write in timed conditions and apply their psychological knowledge to real-life examples. Students learn revision and retrieval techniques to help them remember the knowledge within the A level.


Students learn about all the principal psychological perspectives, from Freud to Skinner. They learn to analyse, compare, and debate the relative contributions of differing views. Students learn about the brain's structure, fight and flight and other stress responses, the importance of attachment for emotional and behavioural development, and the potential causes of many mental health problems – from depression to schizophrenia. 

Overview by Key Stage:

Key Stage 5

At the beginning of year 12, students have a short introduction to the subject, including an introduction to the experiment as a research method and a focus on Zimbardo's prison study and the methodological and ethical issues of studies involving people. We study the social and memory units as students find these most engaging and provide a solid basis to the rest of the a-level. Research methods are integrated within the Year 12 topics as they become relevant – for example, the observational method in attachment


In year 13, we study Issues and debates and these topics help underpin and develop evaluation in all units. The curriculum then turns to focus on Forensics, Relationships and Schizophrenia. 'Forensics' similarly builds on knowledge of perspectives and debates, including the genetic basis of behaviour and issues around determinism/free will that is so elemental to the subject. 'Schizophrenia' builds on their knowledge of psychopathology as developed in year 12; 'relationships' is enjoyed by students who can reflect on their own experience and diverse gender and relationship understandings while further building on their knowledge of theories.


Academic learning is complemented by seeing and experiencing practical applications. We use our local links with the Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital to enable students to experience working with the hospital's researchers. We have visits from psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses throughout the course to develop knowledge and understanding and begin to see career pathways. 

Assessment type: weekly timed essay assessments in class. Half termly past paper assessments on one topic

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