Psychology Curriculum

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Due to the current situation, departmental curriculum plans are not currently available.

Here is the Cowley COVID resuming plan as an interim guide.

Curriculum aim

Psychology is the study of human behaviour through research, theories and biology, therefore students are required to think critically about the ideas that they learn and apply their knowledge to real life situations. Throughout Psychology lessons, students will have the opportunity to learn through real world events and news stories and look at phenomena through a range of interesting studies.

Students in Psychology will need to be hard working and motivated to learn new and sometimes difficult facts after the lesson. Students will also need to be motivated to practise writing about difficult concepts after the lesson and have a good standard of English due to the range of literacy skills required when writing essays. An interest in how topics learnt are relevant to the lives of students and an inquisitive nature are important and fostered with students throughout the A level course.

Ambition is essential and is encouraged through the wide ranging curriculum and giving students the opportunity to discuss Psychology careers and courses beyond A level. Staff that love their subject and are passionate about the topics taught develop the lessons; this helps to develop student’s curiosity and appreciation for the wide reaching concepts of Psychology within and beyond the curriculum.

The design of the curriculum and lessons gives students the opportunity to become independent, conscientious students with the ability to construct well-balanced arguments and appreciate the individual differences between people and cultures.

Curriculum structure

Students study the AQA Advanced Level Psychology course across year 12 and year 13. Students sit the full A Level exam at the end of year 13 and are taught the full curriculum across two years. Topics are split between teaching staff, this means that students learn multiple topics at a time; this allows multiple skills to be developed and refined throughout the teaching as they will be introduced and revisited by different members of staff at different points in the sequence of teaching.

There is a big emphasis on independent study throughout both year 12 and year 13. Homework is set almost every lesson with the focus being appraising the learning of that lesson or small sequence of lessons. Homework set covers a range of tasks including revision and exam questions; this allows the development of Assessment Objective skills from the very beginning of the course. This also helps to develop skills such as literacy (and numeracy during research methods).

The curriculum is assessible to all students through the range of pedagogical styles used with lessons and differentiation available to those students who require it. Students have access to revision guides throughout the year via the library and lessons can be made available electronically if required. Throughout the course, students can access additional help from staff at any time via email.

The scheme of work is designed to support the learning of all; this is evident through the range of resources available to students and the support provided by staff throughout the year both within and extra to timetabled lessons. Independence is a key skill that is encouraged in all students from the start as they are given the responsibility for their own learning and enhancement of their understanding.

As a department, a range of techniques are used to enhance memory, recall, analysis, and assessment skills for a range of Psychological concepts.

Curriculum Beyond the Classroom
Extra-curricular Psychology is encouraged e.g. Psychology film club with discussions and notes on how the film links to Psychological concepts.

Visits that link to Psychology have included University and revision themed visits e.g. Leeds University subject focus day.

Links to other departments are encouraged. Certain topics, e.g. crime,  link to Law, Criminology and Sociology and Science. Also, mixed taster days have been delivered that give students a view of a topic, e.g. committing knife crime, from multiple viewpoints.

Subject Expertise
All staff that teach Psychology teach within their areas of interest and expertise. Staff are kept up to date with subject developments via AQA announcements and courses. Staff that teach Psychology have an interest in the subject and so try to include recent developments and new stories in their lessons.

Staff have been on Psychology CPD provided by AQA in order to improve skills for delivering the course content and supporting students with exam skills. However, general A Level CPD and information is shared throughout the year during 6th Form Forum meetings.

 Support is provided to all staff through resource sharing and discussions about particular areas of concern. The department is quite small and so good practice, ideas, and answers to questions are shared throughout the year via email.

 Taster sessions are provided to year 10 students to support their applications to their transition from KS4 to KS5. This introduces Psychology, as for most it is a new subject, from interesting “in the news” topics e.g. explanations for knife crime.

There are open evenings for year 10 and 11 student come and discuss Psychology with subject teachers and current students along with their parents and carers. This also gives students the opportunity to see some of the studies they will learn about during lessons and take part in a piece of research.

Students in year 12 are encouraged to attend University open days and research the different options available for them if they wish to study Psychology beyond KS5. Careers in Psychology are discussed during lessons where appropriate.

Each year a proportion of year 13 students will go on to study Psychology or Psychology related degrees, e.g. Counselling & Psychotherapy at Salford University.