Our aim is to teach students using a structured Five-Element Model that will ensure each student will reach their full potential. The teaching and course will also promote:
- students engagement with the subject, by introducing new, contemporary topics that are relatable.
- active and practical learning.
- developing skills such as; analysis, evaluation and synthesising.
- development of student’s critical thinking skills.
- students to demonstrate the ability to utilise scientific methodology in the context of psychology.
- an increase the presence and importance of psychology in school with the assistance and passion of the students taking the subject.
Psychology Department Staff
Elizabeth Antony - Teacher in Charge
Psychology is the study of the mind and behaviour of human and non-human animals. Over the last 50 years, Psychology has contributed to our society as its research has explored many areas where other disciplines haven’t. For example, the work of Baron-Cohen was fundamental in challenging the view that autism resulted from poor parenting and has given us a clearer understanding of autism and led to more appropriate care and support systems.
Since 2008, Psychology has been classified as a science, therefore there are a number of elements to the course that require scientific thinking and enquiry.
At Westminster City School, Psychology is offered at post-16 (key stage 5) and we are studying AQA (A) specification. In order to achieve a full A Level in Psychology, two years of study is required.
AS level (year one) consists of:
Topic A- Cognitive Psychology- This specifically involves looking at memory and models derived by psychologists that help us understand how memory works. You will also look at the contributions Cognitive Psychology has made to use of eye-witness testimony and cognitive interview.
Topic B- Developmental Psychology – This specifically looks at why forming attachments is important for infants and research into the different types of attachment. You will investigate what happens when attachment is deprived and cultural variations of attachment. You will also consider the role of day-care in the UK and other countries and research into this.
Throughout both topics you will study research methods.
Topic A- Biological Psychology- You will study the different kinds of stress our bodies go through. You will investigate the physiological impact such stress can have including stress-related illness and the immune system. You will investigate whether certain types of personality are more prone to stress.
Topic B- Social Psychology- Here you will study social influence by exploring obedience and conformity. You will also look at why people behave independently.
Topic C- Individual differences- Definitions of abnormality will be explored and you will learn an explanation for abnormality from each psychological approach. This will take you to considering relevant treatment and therapy options for mental health disorders.
(No formal coursework for AS level)
A2 level (year two) consists of:
This unit is called ‘Topics in Psychology’: You will study 3 topics from a selection of 8.
Possible topics include: Aggression, Biological rhythms and sleep, Eating behaviour and Cognition and development.
You will develop a greater understanding of each approach to psychology as well as an appreciation for issues and debates for example the nature/nurture debate, ethical issues and the issue of bias.
This unit is called ‘Psychopathology, Psychology in Action and Research Methods’.
Section A- You will develop your understanding of one of three mental health disorders and apply psychological models, diagnosis and classification to the chosen disorder.
Section B- You will study one contemporary application of psychology in detail developing knowledge, understanding and critical thinking. Knowledge of the psychological approaches, methodology and issues and debates will be applied.
Section C- You will extend your knowledge of research design, data analysis and interpretation, building upon content learned at AS. You will have the opportunity to conduct your own research projects in psychology in order to actively develop these skills.
(No formal coursework for A2 level)
Students interested in studying Psychology will require a minimum grade B in English and Mathematics, and a desired grade B in Science. This is due to the scientific and literacy demands of the specification.
We will regularly look at the presence of Psychology in the news and its relevance to everyday life, with particular links to the topics taught at Westminster City School.
Students will be given opportunities to go on educational trips including London Zoo to conduct observations, the Freud Museum and Psychology conferences.
In addition, guest speakers working in the field of Psychology will be invited to talk to students.
Psychology club will be available where students can come for extra support with regard to lesson content, literacy skills and any other support needs. A regular day will be confirmed in September.
Extra revision sessions will also run on the approach to exams.