Psychology is a fascinating subject and is classed as a science. To some extent we are all naïve psychologists as we try to interpret and understand the behaviour of those around us. Psychologists further our understanding by generating theories and hypotheses and using scientific methods to test and draw conclusions about human and non-human animal behaviour.
The course focuses on the study of human behaviour, performance, and the human mind. Through understanding and analysis of human behaviour and mental processes, students better understand how we think, act and feel. At its core Psychology helps us understand how the body and mind work together. This can help a person make better decisions, navigate stressful situations, interact with others in a more positive manner, and gain empathy for others.
Studying Psychology equips students to use their knowledge of human behaviour in their daily lives. In addition, developing excellent research and analytical skills, enables students to develop their critical thinking and to improve their academic writing and presentation skills. The course also supports students in developing transferable skills such as goal setting, prioritising and even leadership and team work skills. The goal is to help students build on prior learning and develop skills and attitudes whilst being respectful to the differences of others.
In Years 7 and 8 students can access Psychology though weekly PsychSoc meetings and at unique Psychology focused PSHCE lessons.
In Years 9-11 students have the option to take GCSE Psychology, following the Pearson Edexcel syllabus. All Year 9 all students will follow the Matrix programme and cover introductory topics – producing a general understanding of the scientific method, mind and origins of cognition. We study the topics of Research Methods, Development and The Mind and Behaviour. There will also be a practical opportunity and a chance to share their results and practical experience with parents and carers. In addition in Year 9 all students are offered the opportunity to visit the Freud Museum, Bethlem Museum of the Mind and /or the Museum of Childhood to extend their cultural capital in Psychology.
In Year 10 we will cover the core content of The Brain and Neuropsychology, Studies in Social Influence, Perception and Theories of Sleep and Dreaming.
In Year 11 we cover the core topic of Psychological Problems and students are also offered the opportunity to extend their knowledge by attending after school revision sessions.
In Years 12-13 students can take AQA A level Psychology. The course is open to all students – a GCSE in Psychology is not a required.
In Year 12 we cover the topics of Research Methods, Social Influence, Memory, Attachment, Psychopathology and Approaches. In Year 13 we study Approaches, Schizophrenia, Bio-psychology, Gender and Forensic Psychology. Both Year 12 and 13 are offered the opportunity to attend Psychology lectures in London during the course and in Year 13 we offer an opportunity to extend student knowledge of Geographical Profiling by going on a Jack the Ripper walking tour of London with a specialist agency.
Students feedback is that Psychology is a warm and accepting department. Many students go on from their studies to continue in the field at university.
Co-curriculum and Extracurricular Activities
Student have many opportunities to extend their knowledge and to attend a number of societies, such as PsychSoc, which provide a forum for debate and discussion. Guest speakers are invited to present on a variety of topics and students may also attend the annual London Psychology Conference.
We also run the hugely successful FemSoc and organise sessions on studying Criminology. There is an extension club for Year 13 on the topic of Issues and Debates.
Many students take up leadership opportunities and we run a very successful Ambassador Programme with students from Years 7-13 as members. We also have a number of Subject Prefects and many students gladly take up the opportunity to be mentors in Year 12 for Year 11.
We produce a termly newsletter ‘The Freudian’ run by the specialist psychology editorial team, PsychSoc and the Ambassador team.
We have good connections with other schools and parents in the field and often have visitors coming to speak to classes – ranging from Clinical Psychologists to Forensic Scientists.
The department is situated in the recently built H block building, with dedicated, well-equipped, light and airy classrooms, which have interactive white boards. We have new textbooks and a library of research books available for student use.
Opportunities for Further Study and Destinations
Psychologists are involved in many areas of research. Some conduct work in the field of Applied Psychology and research in areas seeking to answer real societal issues – such as working with the government on how best to inform the population about social distancing or finding ways to reduce stress. Pure research instead focuses on areas such as how the working memory operates or how hormones influence levels of aggression. Psychologists are employed in a wide range of fields including medicine, dentistry, psychiatry, clinical psychology, industry and commerce, hospitals, teaching and education, social work, the probation service and in counselling. The study of Psychology also provides the student with transferable skills which can be utilised in many indirectly related careers including market research, advertising, careers guidance, retail management and personnel. Psychology is useful in any career which involves people, or understanding people, and is a popular choice at degree level.