The mind is something intangible that exists within our brain. An unseen process of enzymes, chemicals and electric current moving within the structure of our neural networks dictates why we feel, think and behave the way we do. But why is it that some people suffer from stress and mental illness? Why do some people fear snakes yet a few think they are cuddly? Psychology looks at questions like these in the study of the human mind and behaviour. It is a science with cutting edge research that has real-world applications to issues in everyday life, ranging from things like artificial intelligence to social change.


Ms MJ Blease - Subject Leader

Psychology provides a valuable opportunity for students with inquiring minds to engage with some profound questions relating to human nature and society within a structured and scientific framework. The GCSE currently offered at Richmond Park Academy follows the OCR specification and is a fascinating course that centres around five key areas of Psychology whilst maintaining a clear focus on Mental Health:

  • Biological Psychology: Explores how biological factors, such as genes and chemicals, influence behaviour
  • Cognitive Psychology: Examines the functioning of the mind and mental processes
  • Developmental Psychology: Studies the ways in which people’s minds and behaviour change over time
  • Social Psychology: Focuses on how we respond to and are affected by others
  • Individual Differences: Reminds us that we are not all the same and how each individual is unique

The course will also provide the opportunity to develop important skills such as demonstrating and applying knowledge and understanding building to interpretation, evaluation and analysis of psychological data and practice.

Research methods will be embedded throughout the topics. Students will develop the skills to plan, conduct and analyse psychological research

Key Stage 4

Course Outline

Unit 1: Criminal Psychology

Unit 2: Development

Unit 3: Psychological Problems

Unit 4: Social Influence

Unit 5: Memory

Unit 6: Sleep and Dreaming

Unit 7: Research Methods

At KS5, Psychology A-Level is offered according to the AQA specification. Here we investigate how Psychologists observe and measure behaviour, and consider how their therapies are based on scientific principles. Psychology has links with many disciplines including biological, computer and forensic science as well as humanities such as sociology, philosophy, anthropology and even literature. It involves the study of theory, empirical evidence and practical applications. This mix of disciplines helps to make psychology such a fascinating subject.

Key Stage 5

Course Outline

Year 1

Topic 1: Social Influence

Topic 2: Memory

Topic 3: Attachment

Topic 4: Approaches in Psychology

Topic 5: Psychopathology

Topic 6: Research Methods

Year 2

Topic 1: Approaches in Psychology

Topic 2: Biopsychology

Topic 3: Research Methods

Topic 4: Issues and Debates

Topic 5: Aggression

Topic 6: Relationships

Topic 7: Schizophrenia

What skills will I learn?

This course will help you develop a number of skills:

  • how to view the world around you from different perspectives
  • how to plan and conduct scientific investigations
  • how to analyse and interpret data critical reasoning skills
  • how to put across your point of view fluently

Where will success take me?

Psychology can help your career either directly or indirectly. Of course, if you wish to become a psychologist, therapist or mental health worker, then A Level is of direct value.