Psychology

Situated in the Medawar Centre Psychology is a vibrant and dynamic science which aims to dissect the very essence of human nature, behaviour and inner workings of the mind.

We take the pupils on a journey of scientific discovery from the fundamental behaviourist works of Pavlov and Skinner, Freud’s tripartite theory of personality to cutting edge fMRI scans demonstrating the beginnings of nicotine addiction. We analyse the human condition through a thematic approach of some of the most fundamental aspects of our experiences in life; parental love, addiction, conformity, gender development and mental ill health (psychopathology). In addition, we equip the pupils with the ability to analyse behaviours or themes through a more general lens of psychological approaches; broad schools of thought that shape various aspects of the discipline. This allows pupils to become familiar with the theoretical debates within Psychology and prepares them to become critical authors as well as deepening their understanding of the subject as a whole.

With the scientific method at the heart of the subject, pupils develop a deep understanding of how science works and will become proficient at analysing and critiquing a wide range of experimental and observational studies as well as being able to conduct research of their own. The strong focus on scientific enquiry is also married with a development of a critical writing style, where pupils are encouraged to balance detail and depth. Numerical skills and data handling are enhanced through analysis of experimental findings and pupils are encouraged to question both the validity and reliability of results. This will encourage pupils to engage with information presented, rather than accept all scientific data as ‘fact’.

Pupils will be challenged through a combination of essay based work, data handling, application based answers, diagram formations and focussed short answer questions. Practical work, including experimental planning and execution will be conducted alongside independent and group projects which will utilise both ICT and the impressive library resources. Discussions form a large part of the pedagogical philosophy of the department and various media clips and articles will be used to promote and guide debate. We will also probe and develop the vital lived experience of our pupils to contextualise the topics covered, a willingness to engage is therefore a vital attribute of any potential psychology student.

In terms of external assessment pupils will sit three 2 hour papers at the end of the course.

Departmental Aims

The Psychology department is committed to providing a vigorous and challenging A level curriculum. The department will deliver the course via a variety of methods, drawing on the most current pedagogical theory and learning and teaching techniques that have been vigorously tested through research based enquiry.

The students will be expected to demonstrate their prowess as independent learners, and they will be able to express these skills through challenging prep tasks and project work in class. However, the students can also expect high levels of support and scaffolding from their contact time in lessons.

 In addition to contact time in lessons, students will be encouraged to seek extra help if they need support or to access the extension materials and reading area when they feel that they would like to supplement their work.

The department aims to not only deliver the best possible curriculum but also to ensure that students are motivated to carry on the subject once they leave the College; whether this be reading the subject at University or continuing to engage with the new scientific developments.  We will achieve this through the delivery of a Psychology reading club (designed for University applicants) and a seminar group (aimed at those with a broader interest in the subject)

In line with the recent changes, the course will be delivered in a linear fashion and students will be required to take three two hour exams at the end of the second year of the course.