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Psychology

Psychology

The departmental aims is to create a secure and motivating environment in which students feel confident to:

  • Explore and understand the relationship between psychological knowledge, theories and methodology and their relationship to social, cultural, scientific and contemporary issues.
  • Study psychological theories, research, terminology, concepts, studies and methods;
  • Develop an understanding of debates and issues in psychology.
  • Promote an appreciation and understanding of individual, social and cultural diversity.
  • Develop an understanding and critical appreciation of the breadth of theoretical and methodological approaches in psychology including cognitive, developmental, physiological, social and the psychology of individual differences.

Staff

Miss A Langley, BSc University of the West of England (Head of Psychology)

Curriculum

Psychology is taught at A-level and follows the curriculum of the AQA Examination Board.

Why choose psychology?

The mind is something intangible that exists within our brain; an unseen process of enzymes, chemicals and electric currents. But why is it that some people suffer from stress or mental illness? Or that others are considered abnormal for deviating from social norms? Psychology looks at questions like these and more. It’s a fascinating science with cutting edge research that has real world applications that you are bound to find interesting.

What we study

Year 12

  • Introductory topics in psychology: learn about conformity, social norms, how the mind remembers and forgets and how children form attachments.
  • Psychology in context: learn more about the different approaches in psychology and how to design and conduct your own research.

Year 13

In the second year of the A-level you’ll deepen your understanding of human behaviour. You’ll study additional topics under Approaches in Psychology, Biopsychology, Research methods and issues and debates in psychology. You then choose three further topics; one from each of three option groups.

Issues and options in psychology: you’ll learn more about psychological concepts, research methods and ethical issues. 

Issues and debates in psychology: learn about the fascinating tendencies of human behaviour, with options looking into gender differences and the criminal mind.

Option one:

  • relationships
  • gender
  • cognition and development.

Option two:

  • schizophrenia
  • eating behaviour
  • stress.

Option three:

  • aggression
  • forensic psychology
  • addiction.

How will I be assessed?

At the end of Year 13 there are three exams, each account for one third of your A-level. The three exams last 2 hours and are worth 96 marks each. The exams consist of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions.

Resources

The Psychology Department is located in the newly refurbished part of the school and has its own dedicated classroom which houses an interactive whiteboard with internet access, TV/DVD facilities and networking facilities for students to access the school intranet via laptop. This aids the independent learning expected at this level of study and students benefit from teacher presentations and are able to access material to deliver their own work in class debates or discussions. Being comfortable and modern, the Psychology classroom at the school provides the right atmosphere to focus and strive for excellence.

The library houses a range of journals, reviews and texts to support students in their studies. In addition, the department is fortunate in its own library of books, DVDs and online resources. We have a range of interactive online resources that can be accessed at home to aid learning. But we are particularly keen to use interactive methods in class including our own ‘bio-feedback machine’ which we use to help students understand the physiological nature of stress.

Beyond the Classroom

Activities

Psychology club encourages AS and A2 students to select present and discuss topics that are not covered on the syllabus. This enables a wider understanding of the broad areas in Psychology.

Visits

At the beginning of the academic year, Francis Holland welcomed Stacy Gandolfi, a Counselling Psychologist who works with male offenders. Ms Gandolfi highlighted the many reasons why someone might turn to crime and how psychologists (and the prison service) rehabilitate them. 

The Psychology department also visited Bethlem Museum of the Mind. On the same site, Bethlem hospital continues to provide in-patient care as part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. This was a hugely enjoyable and valuable day, not least to promote a shift in the way people with mental health problems are viewed. 

 

Psychology is the Science of Mental Life, both of its phenomena and of their conditions …. The Phenomena are such things as we call feelings, desires, cognition, reasoning, decisions and the like

William James, 1890

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