'It's all in the mind'. - George Harrison

The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different perspective on the things we know best.

Psychology is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and with the thoughts, feelings and motivations underlying their behaviours. Psychologists are interested in what makes people tick and how this understanding can help solve major problems in society.

By studying psychology students will gain a better understanding of human behaviour, thoughts, feelings and motivations. Students will learn about people and their behaviours.

Training as a psychologist can lead to a variety of careers such as clinical psychologist, forensic psychologist and educational psychologist to name a few. Studying psychology is useful in many careers including marketing, management, health, sports and education.

Students will consider:

  • Why do people do what others tell them to?
  • How does personality affect what we do?
  • Why do we become stressed and how can we treat it?
  • How do we study addictive behaviour?
  • How can you measure abnormal behaviour?

Students should be prepared to discuss as a class and in smaller groups about people and behaviours.

An effective student in psychology is one who is actively engaged with the subject, motivated to learn and able to apply their knowledge to everyday life.  Students must have knowledge about and be able to evaluate:-  the main approaches in psychology, research methods, attachment, social influence, psychopathology, issues and debates in psychology, biopsychology, schizophrenia, gender development, aggression and memory.  We want students who are interested in people,  motivated to learn, curious, enthusiastic, have a sense of humour and who have the willingness to persevere even when the going gets tough. We want students to take responsibility for their own learning and be aware of how they can progress and achieve their potential.

Students are able to study psychology from Year 10 (GCSE) to Year 13 (A level).

GCSE psychology is an optional subject and in Year 9 we ensure that potential students are aware of its demands. The Year 10 Psychology curriculum is set by AQA and the exam board prescribes the syllabus content.  There are 2 exam papers at the end of Year 11.  We have textbooks available for class use and students are encouraged to buy their own for use at home.  The syllabus is academic in nature but it does clearly link to everyday life and provides students with skills and knowledge that will be relevant e.g. theories about learning, childhood, mental health, memory and body language.

In Year 10, students are taught research methods, social influence, memory and development.  In Year 11, they are taught perception, psychopathology, communication and neuropsychology. Students need to be able to master description and evaluation and apply these topics to everyday life.  

Students attend a school trip in Year 10 to Bristol Zoo.  The aim of this trip is to consolidate learning by allowing students to  by applying their knowledge to animal behaviour.  

The Curriculum at Post 16 is based on the AQA specification and there are 3 exam papers at the end of Year 13.  The syllabus is academic in nature but it does link to everyday life and provides students with life skills e.g. theories about learning, childhood, mental health, memory, conducting research, gender development. 

In Year 12, we begin with approaches and research methods as this provides a solid base for the rest of the syllabus.  In year 12, students learn about research methods, attachment, psychopathology, biopsychology, approaches, memory and social influence.  We cover the majority of the syllabus in Year 12 so this allows more time in Year 13 for revision.  In Year 13, students learn about debates, biopsychology, schizophrenia, research methods, gender and aggression.  In Year 12 and 13, all teaching is completed by Easter allowing time to go over the syllabus leading up to exams.

There is a residential trip to London for the Year 13 students.  This involves staying in a hostel and visiting museums including the Freud museum.  The aim of this trip is to consolidate learning and the majority of activities have a psychology link. 

Year 13 A level students can access some useful FREE revision resouces and e-books here

Please see the Psychology curriculum overviews for each Key Stage below.


Ms T Gascoine: Head of Psychology