St Ursula’s School

Psychology Curriculum Intent 

Psychology as a discipline provides students with a knowledge of how interaction with the physical and social world around them affects their thinking and behaviour.  Such knowledge then allows them to be self determining and to understand their impact in society. 

Psychology provides students with opportunities to explore value systems and ethical perspectives and to examine underlying cultural biases, role expectations, and prejudices. Young people in contemporary society are exposed to more information than at any point in history and Psychology students are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to interpret this information and think critically about what they read and hear. Understanding human behaviour can build students’ confidence, develop their awareness of people from different backgrounds, help them to communicate more effectively, and encourage them to participate in the community.  Psychology could not be more relevant and needed with young people facing mental health challenges on an unprecedented scale. Psychology students are able to regulate their own behaviour and support others so that they make positive lifestyle choices. 

Psychology students gain powerful knowledge about human thinking and behaviour and how this is the result of both nature and nurture.  Students learn about the biological basis of thinking and behaviour as well as the effect of social factors such as family and peer groups.  Students study conformity and obedience, memory, psychopathology, language and thought, as well as perception and child development.  Through this knowledge they develop competence in core approaches within the discipline such as cognitive psychology, biopsychology, social psychology and developmental psychology.  These are vital for those students going on to study at Advanced Level and university.  

As well as this substantive knowledge students learn the skills of psychological investigation including scientific method and data analysis.  This provides cross-curricular links with Science and Maths.  The practical elements of psychology are extremely important and students wishing to study psychology at university will have a solid grounding in research design.

As well as the powerful knowledge that the Psychology curriculum provides it also develops each student’s ability to articulate informed judgments about the human behaviour in the world, hold discussions, show compassion and empathy, and make considered decisions for the betterment of themselves and others. It enables students to develop the knowledge and skills to respect opinions and views alternative to their own.

The Psychology curriculum is designed to be appropriately ambitious for all students, from the highest attaining to those who require special consideration, whether that be SEND or a disadvantaged context.  It also recognises the power of disciplinary literacy so that students can read and speak as a Psychologist would. Schemes of learning set out tier 3 subject vocabulary developed through students’ reading of academic text.

Links to curriculum maps

Year 10

Year 11

Links to useful sites for KS4 students, parents and members of the public

Psychology GCSE AQA Specification