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Hampstead School



Head of Social Sciences Mr S Walter

What we aim to do:

We aim to engage and excite students in psychology by developing their understanding of human behaviour from a range of psychological perspectives so that they become critical and analytical thinkers.

At GCSE students will explore a range of human behaviours which will help them to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and others.  They will learn about some of the most influential pieces of research in psychology and will develop the skills to critically evaluate them.  Students will also develop a range of research skills and will learn about what makes a piece of research reliable and trustworthy.  Throughout the course they will explore questions such as: How does memory work?  Do our genes determine our behaviour? Why do people become criminals?  Why do we dream?  What happens if our brains are damaged?

At A Level, students will study the main psychological approaches and perspectives and will look at ways that each approach seeks to explain behaviour.  They will develop the skills to become adept at critical evaluation of psychological research and will be able to suggest improvements to key pieces of psychological research.  Students will be encouraged to think about their own experiences and explain them within the context of psychological research findings. Throughout the course they will explore questions such as: Why do people obey authority figures?  Is eyewitness testimony reliable?  Do our early attachments affect our relationships later in life?  Do prisons rehabilitate offenders? Do we have free will?

Key Stage 4 Curriculum and Assessment:

At Key Stage 4, the Edexcel Specification is taught. Students study eight different topic areas which are assessed over two exams.

The topics taught include:

  • Paper 1: Development, Memory, Psychological Problems, The Brain and Neuropsychology, Social Influence
  • Paper 2:  Criminal Psychology, Sleep and Dreaming, Research Methods

Paper 1 makes up 55% of the GCSE grade. The remaining 45% is from Paper 2.There is no coursework in GCSE Psychology.

Pupils are assessed with knowledge tests; scenario based and extended writing assessments throughout each topic to develop their exam skills and receive detailed feedback on how to improve. In Year 10 pupils will sit an end of year examination in the summer term, which assesses their learning and progress in psychology based on GCSE style exam questions. In Year 11, students sit pre-public examinations in preparation for their final GCSE examinations.

Home learning activities are regularly set and include a range of activities from independent research to exam-style questions.

Key Stage 5 Curriculum and Assessment:

In Year 12 and 13 the AQA Psychology Specification is taught.

Topics studied in Year 12 include Research Methods, Attachment, Social Influence, Memory, Psychopathology and Approaches

Topics covered in Year 13 are Inferential Statistics, Issues & Debates, Forensic Psychology, Gender and Schizophrenia

The A Level qualification is completely exam based and all examinations will take place at the end of the second year of A Level study.  Students will sit three two hour exams in total – each worth 33.3% of their A level grade.

Enrichment Opportunities:

Students will have the opportunity to design and carry out their own psychological investigations.  In addition, there will be opportunities to attend lectures and key revision events as they approach their exams.  ‘Psychology in the news’ will also be a consistent feature of lessons across both years of study in which topical news stories, relevant to psychology will be debated and discussed.

Additional Information:

There are a range of excellent websites, films, documentaries, books and podcasts, which support and extend students’ understanding of the topics they study. The Psychology Department is happy to provide further information for particular topics.

Each student will have access to a digital version of the core textbook once they begin their course.

We recommend the following websites for general support:

A Level: