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Psychology at Spalding High School

Course description


Do you like ‘watching’ people? Are you fascinated by what makes people ‘tick’? …..then psychology may be for you.

The AQA A Level course offers a stimulating, engaging and effective introduction to psychology. Students will learn the fundamentals of the subject and develop skills valued by higher education and employers, including critical analysis, independent thinking and research.

Within lessons students are encouraged to develop an understanding of the behaviour of the individual; to engage in practical activities to appreciate the methods used to gather evidence and to consider the direct application of psychological knowledge to everyday situations.


Psychology is concerned with people so therefore a genuine interest in the diversity of human nature is important. Communication skills are vital; students should have an ability to formulate, justify and communicate ideas. 10% of the overall assessment of psychology will contain mathematical skills therefore numerical skills and an analytical approach to problem solving is beneficial. The skills of analysis and evaluation are developed throughout the course.

Course content


Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies, research methods and ethical issues in relation to a number of topics:

Social Influence: conformity and obedience

Memory: Different theories, explanations for forgetting, eye witness testimony

Attachment: Caregiver-infant interactions, types and explanations of attachments, the influence of early childhood attachment on adult relationships

Psychopathology: Definitions, explanations and treatments of abnormality; phobias, depression and OCD Students also consider general elements of psychology itself by examining:

Approaches in Psychology and Research Methods

For those students who wish to complete the 2 year A-level course, the first year will consist of the study of the AS topics and during the second year the students will study.

Biopsychology: the study of the central nervous system, localisation of function, biological rhythms and techniques used to study the brain.

In addition to this students will study 3 option topics such as cognition and development, schizophrenia and aggression.


A wide variety of teaching methods are used, suitable for different learning styles; whole class teaching, group discussion, practical activities, role play, use of DVD material and music in addition to independent work. Modern textbooks are provided, many of which are specifically written for the AQA syllabus. Students are taught by two teachers who each have different subject specialisms, thus students benefit from their range of expertise.

Entry requirements

To achieve at least 6 grades, A* to C, at GCSE, including English language and mathematics. 

At least GCSE grade B in psychology. Also a minimum of grade C in one GCSE science.

Students are required to have a reference/report which clearly shows that they are suitable to undertake academic studies at A Level standard.



End of year examinations form the method of assessment for A level psychology.

AS: 2 papers—each 1hr 30mins

1: Introductory Topics in Psychology (50%)

2: Psychology in context (50%)

A level: 2 papers similar to those taken at AS, but which require a greater depth of knowledge (2 hrs each).

Paper 3: Issues and options in Psychology.

Each of these 3 papers are worth 33.3% of the final A level grade.

Future opportunities


Psychology is useful for any career which involves working with others; business, nursing, social work, teaching or play therapist. It is an ideal subject to study whether you wish to continue into higher education or progress straight into the world of employment. A-level psychology is recognised as a diverse, academic qualification, readily accepted for university and college courses, whatever subject area you decide to specialise in. A degree in psychology can lead to a variety of specialised careers such as forensic psychology within the prison service, clinical psychology within the health service or educational psychology.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Spalding High School directly.

Last updated date: 04 December 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years