Psychology was first introduced as an A Level subject in September 2013 and has proved an instant hit with Sixth Form pupils. The Psychology Department was formed in response to increasing demand for the subject, evidence that the College responds to the evolving needs of its pupils. Psychology is defined as ‘the scientific study of mind and behaviour’ and suits those who are interested in looking at why humans act and think in the ways they do. In its first year the Department has doubled in size and will undoubtedly continue to grow in the future.
The Psychology Department is housed in the listed Stableyard area of the grounds.
Due to the high level of research content associated with the subject, pupils are granted access to relevant journals and publications as well as course textbooks. Psychology staff also utilise a range of interactive teaching resources including models of the brain.
Psychology teachers arrange additional lectures for pupils to explore related topics beyond the requirements of the academic syllabus. This is intended to further energise pupils’ enthusiasm for the subject. Gaining a broader understanding of topical issues is also beneficial for pupils preparing their UCAS applications.
Relevant trips are also organised, such as attending Derren Brown’s latest shows.
Psychology is offered as an A Level option in the Sixth Form, strongly complementing many other subjects such as the Sciences, Mathematics, Business, English and Physical Education. Students should ideally have achieved at least a 6 grade in English, Science and Mathematics at GCSE, as it provides a solid understanding on which to build upon in Psychology.
The topics covered are instantly applicable to everyday situations, giving pupils an insight into their own thinking and behaviour. Many find the practical relevance a particularly enjoyable element of the course. Topics studied in Year 12 are broken into Unit 1 (Introductory Topics) which includes Social Influence- How we are influenced and motivated by the world around us, including conformity, social change and obedience. Attachment- Looking at the development of children and the factors which affect and explain the formation in attachments. Memory- Studying cognitive processes which explain the storage and retrieval of memories, including explanations of forgetting. Psychopathology- Studying how we define abnormality, specific disorders and different approaches to explaining and treating them. Unit 2 (Psychology in Context) Approaches- How different schools of thought in psychology try to explain behavior from a certain viewpoint and with a certain set of techniques. Research Methods- Understanding how to use a scientific and objective approach to gather data and study psychological phenomena. This includes mathematical skills and Statistics.
In Year 13, areas are studied in greater detail with support from leading research. many aspects are looked at in more detail while investigating specific research methods, biopsychology and options in psychology. These include studying schizophrenia, relationships and aggression in more detail and with a focus on theory and research. Year 13s also look at some of the key debates in psychology and how these are present across the field.
The course is assessed by examination only. There are three two-hour examination papers taken at the end of Year 13. Question styles range from multiple choice through to short answer and essay questions.
Most universities class Psychology as a Science subject, which is a requirement for many degree courses. This makes Psychology a versatile choice for pupils undecided on their future. Psychology also provides a route into clinical psychology - helping those with mental health issues. The subject is also important in the medical profession, with numerous job opportunities. Other related professions include working in sports, business (particularly HR and advertising) and social work. There are also links to the legal profession.