Psychology

curriculum intent

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour, a multifaceted discipline covering human development, social behaviour, and cognitive processes. Psychology looks to explain why people (and animals) behave the way they do and questions if nature or nurture are our biggest influence.

In our Psychology curriculum we cover fascinating, ground-breaking and (often) notorious studies. These include Phillip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison experiment, where he looked to further understand conformity and the impact of expectation on our behaviour.  We also question the extent to which fundamentally good people can do terrible things, when we evaluate Milgram’s infamous study into obedience.

The Psychology curriculum introduces students to the scientific method underpinning psychological research. Within GCSE Students explore this in the context of a wide range of theories and studies from different eras and approaches in Psychology. 

At A-level students develop a diverse range of knowledge and skills with which to explore Psychology further at a higher level. This includes students being given opportunities to carry out research themselves and to develop their understanding of how existing research is flawed or could be improved.  Students develop critical thinking skills, alongside core knowledge and are encouraged to learn independently and critique with increasing sophistication.

GCSE: years 10 and 11

Exam board: AQA

Year 10

  • Memory – students explore the early cognitive models of memory, including the multi-store model
  • Perception – students explore how cultural and experiential differences between individuals can change how we perceive stimulus in our visual field
  • Development – students explore how humans develop cognitive skills such as logical reasoning between babyhood and teenage years
  • Social Influence – students examine some of the most famous studies into conformity and obedience and explore the question “How do others influence our behaviour?”

Year 11

  • Research methods - focuses on how we investigate behaviour and the issues with choosing one method over another.
  • Language, thought and communication - Students explore the question “What comes first, language or thought?” 
  • Brain and neuropsychology - The most biological of components, this topic explores the structure and functions of different brain areas 
  • Psychological problems - explores the theories and treatments for the psychological disorders of unipolar depression and addiction

A Level: Years 12 and 13

Exam board: AQA

Year 12

  • Memory - students explore how early cognitive research developed, and how theory has developed real world applications such as the Cognitive Interview
  • Attachment - students explore how the relationships formed in early childhood can affect us in childhood and later life
  • Social Influence - expanding students’ understanding of influential research into the effects of others on whether we obey or conform
  • Psychopathology - incorporates Biopsychology - students investigate theories and treatments for OCD, depression and phobias
  • Approaches in Psychology - students compare the different theoretical stand points that researchers adopt
  • Research Methods - runs throughout the course; this component focuses on how we investigate behaviour and the issues created when one method is chosen over another.

Year 13

  • Gender - students consider if there are any real differences between the sexes and if there are, where do they come from? Nature or Nurture?
  • Schizophrenia - students consider the psychological and biological theories of Schizophrenia, and how these theories develop treatments
  • Forensic Psychology - students consider biological and psychological theories of crime, how crime can be treated and effective interventions to reduce crime and rates of recidivism
  • Issues and debates in Psychology - students compare the different debates in psychology such as whether research should be reductionist or holistic, are we better explained by nature or nurture and should we carry out socially sensitive research.