Psychology is defined as “the scientific study of human behaviour” and it provides an opportunity for students to learn a new subject at GCSE and continue it at Sixth Form. The specification followed at GCSE and A-LEVEL is AQA.

The Psychology Department aims to help students to develop an appreciation of how psychological principles can be applied to situations in everyday life. It engenders an awareness of the complexity of human behaviour and relationships and allows students to reflect on their own experiences.

As psychology is a science it enhances student’s skills in subjects such as Biology, Mathematics and English. There are also very few schools that offer GCSE psychology as an option with specialist teachers to deliver it.

Staffing and responsibilities

  • Mrs S James-Weir – Head of Department
  • Mrs L Price – Teacher of Psychology

How will Psychology be useful in my career?

The opportunities for using your psychology studies are endless as psychology provides you with a varied subject base with skills used in the workplace. They can be applied to any job that involves working with people.

Many career choices are applicable to psychology e.g. the police force, the healthcare sector, teaching, counselling and therapy, human resources, social work and working with the elderly, disabled and children.

How will It be taught?

Some group work is carried out, but students are also given the opportunity to extend their independent learning skills. Some lessons involve practical tasks such as designing and taking part in psychological experiments, videos, discussion and ICT activities. Students are encouraged to take an active part in class activities.

What if I want to know more?

If you have any additional questions or require further information please contact Mrs James-Weir (Head of Psychology) at Perryfields High School and she will be happy to assist you!

What is the content of the GCSE?

The GCSE content includes an introduction to the main topics of psychology including research methods. The GCSE specification is very closely linked with the A-Level specification to enhance student’s performance at KS5 if they wish to continue their studies at Perryfields High School. Both units are assessed by examination at the end of year 11 and they are worth 50% each.

Unit 1 (Making Sense of Other People) This unit covers memory and forgetting (how we remember/ forget and eye witness testimony), non-verbal communication (eye contact, facial expressions, body language, personal space and tone of voice), development of personality (including temperament and anti-social personality disorder), stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination (including ways of reducing S,P and D) and research methods including methods of control, data analysis and ethical issues (how to conduct psychological experiments).

Unit 2 (Understanding Other People) This unit covers learning (classical and operant conditioning), sex and gender (the differences between sex and gender identity and gender identity disorders), social influence (conformity, social loafing, deindividuation and obedience), aggression (different explanations of aggression and ways to reduce it) research methods including methods of control, data analysis and ethical issues (how to conduct psychological experiments).

What is the content of the A Level?

The A- Level content includes an introduction to the main approaches of Psychology and the research methods involved, as well as many topics of applied psychology. All three units are assessed by examination at the end of year 13 (May/June). Each exam is worth 33.3% of the overall A Level.

Paper 1: Introductory topics in Psychology. This paper includes the topics Social Influence, Memory, Attachment and Psychopathology.

Paper 2: Psychology in Context. This paper includes the key approaches to Psychology, Research Methods and Biopsychology.

Paper 3: Issues and options in Psychology. This paper includes the topics, Aggression, Relationships and Gender.