Head of Department: Kylie Crawley
Members of Department:
- Emma Carr
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. The human mind is the most complex machine on Earth. It is the source of all thought and behaviour. Students study theories about behaviour, key studies and research, as well as learning how to conduct their own experiments both at GCSE and A-level.
KS4 Curriculum and Enrichment Opportunities (Years 9-11)
GCSE Psychology is studied over 1 year and can be chosen as an option in either years 9, 10, or 11. The course is the new 9-1 GCSE, contains 8 topics as well as open-ended questions about the debates in psychology and is assessed through two examinations.
Paper 1: Written examination 1 hour and 45 minutes (55% of final grade)
- Topic 1: Development - How do you develop?
- Topic 2: Memory – How does your memory work?
- Topic 3: Psychological problems – How would psychological problems affect you?
- Topic 4: The brain and neuropsychology – How does your brain affect you?
- Topic 5: Social influence – How do others affect you?
Paper 2: Written examination 1 hour and 20 minutes (45% of final grade)
Topics 6 to 10 are optional – students must study two of them. Topic 11 is compulsory.
- Topic 6: Criminal psychology – Why do people become criminals?
- Topic 7: The self – What makes you who you are?
- Topic 8: Perception – How do you interpret the world around you?
- Topic 9: Sleep and dreaming – Why do you need to sleep and dream?
- Topic 10: Language, thought and communication – How do you communicate with others?
- Topic 11: Research methods – How do you carry out psychological research?
We arrange a selection of extracurricular events in order for students to develop their research skills and see Psychology in action. These could include a visit to the Zoo, the Welcome Museum, as well as guest speakers.
KS5 Curriculum and Enrichment Opportunities (Years 12-13)
A level Psychology is taught over 2 years with three exams at the end of the two years, and is comprised of the following:
In Year 12 students gain a broad knowledge of Psychology by studying 4 approaches and by applying their knowledge and skills to key questions, whilst considering issues and debates including how psychological understanding has developed over time, the nature-nurture debate, issues of social control and issues related to socially sensitive research.
In Social Psychology students will investigate areas such as prejudice, obedience, and the impact of role models. In Cognitive Psychology students will also learn about models of memory, look at case studies of brain damaged patients, as well as considering disorders such as dyslexia or Alzheimer’s. In Biological Psychology they will look at the CNS, the role of the brain in aggression and brain abnormalities.
Finally, in Learning Theories students will study classical conditioning, operant conditioning and social learning theory, considering the ways in which these influence behaviour. In each approach students will be required to perform mathematical calculations and undertake scientific research, thus they will need to be familiar with subject specific terminology of a scientific and mathematical nature. A key component of the course is designing and conducting their own experiments, as well as reviewing them.
In Year 13 students investigate areas that Psychology is applied to, including Clinical Psychology and Child Psychology. Here they gain a closer look at Psychology in action and the practical applications of psychological theories and therapies. They will also be required to demonstrate their psychological skills including scientific methods, a synoptic review of studies and must be able to demonstrate a broad understanding of issues and debates as they apply to Psychology.
Students are encouraged to widen their studies and are supported with extra-curricular activities and events, such as guest speakers, student conferences, theatre trips, and a trip to the Freud museum.
The department is continuously updating and reviewing resources. We have a large and growing selection of books and publications and magazines for students to further and consolidate their knowledge.
Other Important Information
- We subscribe to Psychology publications and magazines that are aimed at developing your subject knowledge and exam skills.
- We have over 30 Horizon programmes on various psychological issues/debates available for loan.
- We also lend out various novels (We need to talk about Kevin, The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime)
- We have various non-fiction books such as Bad Science, Jigsaw man, and Opening Skinner's Box to borrow.
- There are many Psychology related DVDs including A beautiful Mind, Rain Man, Green Street, One flew over the cuckoo's nest, 50 First dates and Shutter Island to watch.
- We attend workshops and university open days to give you a taste of Psychology at university. Each term two students from each class are rewarded with £5 WH Smith vouchers. These are awarded at the teachers’ discretion but are generally for improvement or academic achievement.
- Regularly, certificates are sent home to parents, as well as postcards notifying parents and carers of the progress made by their child.