Curriculum Intent

Studying psychology and criminology will enable students to reflect on their behaviours and that of others within society, by strengthening their understanding of how societal processes work, which in turn will help to build up a resilience from the pressures of others. As students progress through the course their knowledge and skills gained will be invaluable in later life. This includes a stronger development of empathy for others through learning about a range of difficult topics such as Brain and neuropsychology, psychological disorders (for example; depression, addiction, schizophrenia and OCD) to the genetically constructs of criminality and how this affects the public perception of crime. This emotional intelligence will be critical for students to foster a compassionate viewpoint to truly understand others. Likewise, students will gain mathematical and scientific skills through research methods, and stronger critical thinking skills through the application of theoretical constructs to realistic situations resulting in more divergent and inquisitive thinking.

Our Psychology curriculum aims to offer KS4 and KS5 students access to a range of Psychological disciplines to foster their love for all areas of psychology. GCSE and A level is studied using the AQA exam board, as this is seen to suit the demographic, cultural background, and motivations of all the students we teach.

AQA GCSE Psychology 9-1

(Course code: 8182)

Why Study GCSE psychology?

Studying GCSE psychology is an excellent way to give yourself a foundational knowledge of how the human mind works, understand social behaviour and human development.

GCSE psychology will also give you the basis upon which to build deeper knowledge in the form of A Level psychology and an undergraduate degree. Psychology is one of the most interesting and dynamic fields in the world currently. In part due to the growing awareness of mental health issues.

The subject also links well with health, child development and other subjects such as biology. Combining these can give you remarkable insight into society as well as the individual.

Course Structure:

This course is studied across 2 years, and there are 8 topics to learn.

There are two written exams, each 1hour 45minutes long each worth 100 marks and forming 50% of your GCSE grade. These exams consist of multiple choice questions ranging all the way through to essay style 9 marks questions.

You will have to use skills which involve displaying your knowledge surrounding psychological theory and studies; applying your knowledge to real life scenarios and evaluating the effectiveness of psychological concepts.

Units Details:

Memory: This includes the process, structure and process of memory. You will explore the different kinds of memory – such as episodic, semantic and procedural and how they are formed. You will also touch on how memories can influence our reality, including accuracy of memories, false memories and context.

Perception: Perception refers to the way we organise and interpret sensory information. You will study the difference between sensation and perception, Gibson’s direct theory of perception including the role of motion parallax in everyday perception. You will also explore Gregory’s constructive theory of perception, studying the influence of nurture and the perceptual effects of culture, motivation, emotion and expectation.

Development: Developmental psychology examines how and why human beings change over the course of their life. You will understand the four stages of development and the role of these stages in education, egocentricity and social interactions. Originally concerned with infants and prepubescent children, the field has expanded to include adolescence, adult development, aging, and the entire lifespan.

Research Methods: This module teaches you how to carry out scientific research including how to form a testable hypothesis, the types of variables and sampling methods. You will also understand planning research, ethical considerations and the importance of data.

Social Influence: Social influence explores the affect of conformity and major influence on an individual depending on a variety of factors. Including anonymity, peer group, personality and others. You will also study the concepts of obedience and prosocial behaviour that influences the individual in order to alter behaviour.

Language, Thought and Communication: This module examines the relationship between language and thought and how this can alter your view on the world. You will study the differences between human and animal communication as well as the significance of non-verbal communication in human interactions.

Brain and Neuropsychology: You will study the structure and function of the nervous system. This is essential to understanding our fight or flight response and the James-Lange theory of emotion. You will also study the structure of neurons and the brain itself and their respective roles to play in our conscious and unconscious lives.

Psychological Problems: Psychological problems is an introduction to mental health issues, the significance of these challenges and the impact they can have on society.You will also look at clinical depression, therapies, the characteristics of addition and theories underpinning that.

Careers and Destinations:

Studying psychology at GCSE will give you a solid foundation upon which to build your psychological knowledge. While the course covers a lot of ground, this is just scratching the surface as you will discover should you study at A Level.

If you’re interested in human behaviour, then GCSE psychology can go some way to answering your questions and providing valuable insight. It will help you to understand human behaviour and what compels people to make the decisions they do. You can then build on this knowledge, leading towards a number of exciting career opportunities including:

Possible career options:

  • Clinical psychologist.
  • Counselling psychologist.
  • Educational psychologist.
  • Forensic psychologist.
  • Further education teacher.
  • Health psychologist.
  • High intensity therapist.
  • Occupational psychologist

The expertise that you will possess as a psychologist will assist you in a range of sectors, including mental health, social work, education, business and even sport and fitness.


Course outline

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. Why do people behave in particular ways? If this is question that interests you then psychology may be the subject for you. The subject is taught through assessing the research and ideas of psychologists, looking at key case studies. While studying this subject students will develop an understanding of research methods, mathematical and practical research skills.

Entry requirements: GCSE at Grade 5 or above in maths, English and at least one science subject.

Awarding body: AQA

Assessment: A Level Psychology is a linear subject, assessed at the end of two years of study though examination (100%) – There will be three two hour papers at the end of the course (each worth 33.3% of the A level). Each of these exams comprises a number of short questions, essay questions and scenarios for knowledge application.

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology (Social Influence, Memory, Attachment, and Psychopathology).

Paper 2: Psychology in Context (Approaches in Psychology, Research Methods and Biopsychology).

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology (Section A is a compulsory section on Issues and Debates in Psychology. Sections B, C, D each contain questions on the in-depth option topics you’ve studied (relationships, forensics and schizophrenia)

Where can this course take me? This qualification will be a building block to many careers within Psychology, including becoming an educational, sports, and clinical, occupational psychologist or within the health sector. Similarly, beneficial for any career that involves an understanding of others an individual difference, such as dentistry, medicine, marketing, law, education, and forensics.