The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.

Paul Valery 

Psychology keeps trying to vindicate human nature. History keeps undermining the effort.

Mason Cooley

The chief difficulty for those who begin the study of scientific psychology is that all men indulge in popular psychology.   

Karl Friedrich Munzinger 

Psychology is a broad field that encompasses the study of human thought, behaviour, development, personality, emotion, motivation, and more. Gaining a richer and deeper understanding of psychology can help people achieve insights into their own actions as well as a better understanding of others.

Head of Faculty for Computing, Media and Social Sciences 

Oliver Rosen 

Head of Department

Tessa Osborne |  

Subject Lead

Sumaya Rose | 


Dylan Owen |

Niamh Lawrence | 




Students can first study Psychology as a GCSE in Y10 and Y11. Detailed below are the topics covered.

Curriculum Intent and Map

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Autumn term: Memory and Research Methods


  • Processes of memory: encoding (input) storage and retrieval (output)
  • Structures of memory
  • Memory as an active process

Research methods

  • Formulation of testable hypotheses
  • Types of variable
  • Sampling methods
  • Designing research
  • Correlation
  • Research procedures
  • Planning and conducting research
  • Ethical considerations
  • Quantitative and qualitative data
  • Primary and secondary data
  • Computation
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Interpretation and display of quantitative data
  • Normal distributions

Spring term: Perception and Development 


  • Sensation and perception
  • Visual cues and constancies
  • Gibson's direct theory of perception – the influence of nature
  • Visual illusions
  • Gregory's constructivist theory of perception – the influence of nurture
  • Factors affecting perception


  • Early brain development
  • Piaget’s stage theory and the development of intelligence
  • The role of Piaget’s theory in education
  • The effects of learning on development

Summer term: Social Influence and revision

Social influence

  • Conformity
  • Obedience
  • Prosocial behaviour
  • Crowd and collective behaviour


Autumn term: Brain and neuropsychology and Language thought and development

Brain and neuropsychology

  • Structure and function of the nervous system
  • Neuron structure and function
  • Structure and function of the brain
  • An introduction to neuropsychology

Language, thought and development

  • The possible relationship between language and thought
  • The effect of language and thought on our view of the world
  • Differences between human and animal communication
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Explanations of non-verbal behaviour

Spring term: Language thought and development and Psychological Problems

Psychological problems

  • An introduction to mental health
  • How the incidence of significant mental health problems changes over time
  • Effects of significant mental health problems on individuals and society
  • Characteristics of clinical depression
  • Theories of depression
  • Interventions or therapies for depression
  • Characteristics of addiction
  • Theories of addiction
  • Interventions or therapies for addiction

Summer term: Revision

Medium Term Plans

GCSE Subject Specification 

Please click through to the links to view more information on the AQA website.

Psychology - AQA Exam Board

Y11 Revision materials


Enrichment opportunities

  • Every Thursday 3.20-4.30pm in the Media Lab: Y11/Y12/Y13 revision mentoring 
  • Monday lunchtime in YG4: Y10 revision
  • Monday period 4 in YG1: Y13 extra revision class

Suggested reading

We have a subscription to an online text book which covers the whole course:

The login details will be provided by your Psychology teacher. If you'd like to purchase a hard copy, the details are below.

AQA GCSE Psychology Paperback – 6 April 2017
by Mike Stanley (Author), Karen Boswell (Author), Sarah Harris (Author), Nicky Hayes (Author), Fran Knight (Author), Tracy Mendis (Author)


Useful websites

Things to see and do



As part of the LaSWAP consortium, Acland Burghley offers a Psychology A Level.

Useful revision resources: Learndojo