The intention of the psychology department is for students to be given every opportunity to access a subject with a breadth of topics that span across the two-year A’Level course. This subject allows students to gain the necessary skills and knowledge at each stage of the course, to enable them to build on their knowledge and understanding of psychology. This will allow a deep understanding of key theories and concepts that are important within the application of knowledge to various areas of life and more importantly, ambitious for our students. GCE A’Level study is ‘knowledge-heavy’ and therefore providing a knowledge-based course is a sensible approach, in order to support students, in gaining both ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’, within their learning. A mapping document outlines the sequence and structure of how the course is implemented. The psychology course focuses on the key information that is needed to understand and make progress across topics. Developing critical thinking skills; developing an ability to analyse and evaluate, as well as carry out high level problem solving are all designed to support students to remember what they are learning. Therefore, a clear progression route is planned and frequently reviewed to ensure full evaluation of objectives are being met.
The intended psychology curriculum will be implemented by a variety of teaching methods that both employ class room resources as well as extra-curricular activities, aimed at engaging students with interest and curiosity, from the beginning of the course in year 12, through to completion in year 13. The Foundation year of the psychology A’Level includes students learning how to develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject such as Social Psychology; Cognitive Psychology; Biological Psychology; Learning Theories and how they relate to each other. They will also develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods. Progression onto further skills, which develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem-solving skills. Further development of their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, involve a visit to Chester Zoo to take part in an interactive lecture on animal behaviour. As well as developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject and finally, to appreciate how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.
Throughout the second year of study, the students will study Clinical Psychology, where a visit to the Maudsley Hospital, includes an interactive lecture on mental health treatments and brain scanning techniques. The second topic is Criminological Psychology and students are given the opportunity to attend Liverpool Crown Courts, where they sit in on live trials, listen to experts giving testimonies and have the opportunity to ask questions to attending barristers and court clerks. Such extra-curricular activities bring the course to life, giving students the chance to gain a valuable insight into potential career pathways. Furthermore, psychology students have been trained as Mental Health First Aiders and have delivered a programme to KS4 pupils, including dealing with mental health issues – eating disorders, anxiety, depression and social media related problems.
There will be a clear indication of the extent to which students have learned what they were intended to learn. This will become evident by regular assessment of learning; subject knowledge and subsequently by progress. Outcomes within externally verified assessments will indicate the impact of the structure in place and final destinations of students at the end of the course. This could be into higher education, where students have progressed to Level 4 courses at universities, such as: – Winchester University: Applied Psychology; University of Liverpool: Applied Psychology; Keele University: Medicine; LJMU: Applied Psychology; Criminology; Childhood ‘Studies; Sports Science; Hope University: Primary Education; Pharmacy; Chester University: Psychology; Law; Biology; Law; Police Studies; Criminology; Bradford University: Paramedic Science; Salford University: Zoology; Social Policy; Politics. A qualification in this course has also led to Higher Level 3 apprenticeships, such as: – Recruitment; IT Technician; Accounting & Finance; Media and Hospitality. Both options will demonstrate students know, can do and importantly remember more than they did prior to studying psychology. Furthermore, the A’Level results have been in line with the National average for Psychology grades.