School Curriculum - Psychology


The Psychology Department aims to provide a challenging, intensive and enriching educational experience. It is designed to introduce students to current research, encourage active involvement via group discussions, presentations and workshop activities.

Reasons for studying the subject are varied and range from career aspirations to intrinsic interest.  Psychology is accepted as an appropriate A-level for 99% of current undergraduate courses and therefore is eclectic in its educational value.

Lower School

Psychology is not offered at this level.

Middle School

Psychology is not offered at this level.



Board:  AQA  Specification 7181/7182

The specification is linear and students will be tested at the end of two years via three examination papers.

Psychology involves 'the scientific study of mind and behaviour'.  Students are given an overall view of several major perspectives in Psychology and will concentrate on seven areas:

  • Cognitive Psychology (the study of memory and eyewitness testimony)
  • Developmental Psychology (the study of attachment and institutionalisation)
  • Forensic Psychology (biological and psychological theories)
  • Atypical Behaviour (depression, OCD, phobia)
  • Social Psychology (social influence)
  • Humanistic Psychology (Year 2)
  • Psychodynamic Approach (Year 2)

Research design and statistics will also be taught as part of Year 1 and revisited in Year 2.  After successful completion of Year 1 students progress to studying theoretical aspects of psychology such as Schizophrenia, Relationships and Forensic Psychology in Year 2.

There is also a large philosophical element to the final year, for example whether psychology is a science, free will versus determination issues in conjunction with future research design and statistics.  Psychology and its impact on the economy and real world application of psychological research is an integral part of the course.

Examination Structure (A-level linear)

Paper 1 (2 hours)

Consists of the topics of Social Influence, Memory, Attachment and Psychopathology.

Paper 2 (2 hours)

Consists of approaches in Psychology, Biopsychology and research methods.

Paper 3

2 hour written paper with a compulsory section on Issues and Debates and questions on Relationships, Schizophrenia and Forensic Psychology, although these topics are subject to change dependent upon student interest.

Up to date research can be accessed through the Psychology Twitter Feed and the use of several apps suggested by subject staff.

Research methods are assessed throughout and biological psychology is explicit.  The Government requirements for this specification are that 25-30% of Psychology assessment should focus on research methods and 10% is mathematical content.


Attendance at student conferences.

  • Sixth Form Film Society.
  • Participation in local university research studies.
  • Guest speakers relating to course content.
  • Webinar courses.