Psychology Curriculum

  • Mrs A. Chinn

    Teacher of Psychology


It is our intent to create the very best Psychology and Criminology students. The aim of the Psychology and Criminology curriculum is to equip students with the appropriate knowledge and skills needed to be able to understand and explain the causes of human behaviour and the impact of this behaviour on wider society. We do this using quality first teaching, which ensures students understand underlying Psychological principles and can apply them in a variety of familiar and unfamiliar contexts.

We want students to be able to think analytically and reach logical conclusions based on scientific evidence. Our curriculum at Sandy Secondary School goes far beyond what is taught in lessons, for whilst we want students to achieve the very best examination results possible, we believe our curriculum goes beyond what is examinable. Our curriculum in Psychology and Criminology supports the ethos statement previously mentioned and also seeks to embed the School’s Core Values from Y9 (KS3) through to Y13 (KS5).

Students are constantly challenged to work collaboratively and think independently when engaging in all lessons and class debates. Through teacher modelling and acclaimed teacher skills in questioning, we encourage our students to demonstrate manners, respect and tolerance in Psychology and Criminology lessons. This allows students to express themselves in a confident manner. Lesson materials are engaging to promote topical discussion and encourage students to develop an enquiring mind.

As a knowledge-based curriculum we believe that knowledge underpins and enables the application of skills; both are entwined. Content is delivered to students and then built upon through a variety of practice questions, with regular quality feedback being given to support student progress. The knowledge acquired then allows students to develop their analytical and critical thinking skills. Cultural Capital is embedded throughout the Social Sciences curriculum. Our students are introduced to a wide variety of viewpoints from some of the most influential Psychologists and Criminologists throughout history.

We study the impact that their work has had on the world we live in and students are encouraged to make links between their studies and real life examples. They are expected to analyse the relative contributions of competing theories in order to discuss their impact on our understanding of human behaviour and society as a whole. In addition to our aims, our curriculum design includes revisiting and building on existing knowledge. We ensure the level of challenge is high enough for the most able, with scaffold and support available for students who need it. All of which supports and promotes our School’s Core Values:


How the curriculum is implemented

Collaborative, detailed and thorough curriculum planning lies at the heart of what we do in the department. We are committed to an on-going development plan of developing our schemes of work in accord with the new linear programmes, early entry patways design and L3 mixed vocational provisions. We use all available resources and teaching strategies to ensure that students have a comprehensive knowledge of the specifications and are capable of going beyond what is taught in lessons. Techniques to help develop long-term memory and help students master subject content are embedded in the curriculum. These are focussed on specifically embedding:

  • Challenge,
  • Metacognition,
  • Memory techniques,
  • Numeracy and Literacy into our departmental curriculum.


To complement the schemes of work students also engage in Psychology and Criminology through arranging student revision with extensive use of the AQA Exampro facility. The Curriculum Leader is also the school Lead for EPQ and as such provides students with direct access to higher education links to expand the challenge and academic rigour. These activities allow students to gain valuable insight into the subject and the demands of the examination. In Psychology and Criminology we also implement our curriculum through using a variety of teaching strategies and kinaesthetic tasks as well as more traditional skills practice. Staff in the department make full use of the Google applications for education and all students use this to access the departmental resources both in lessons and where possible remotely.


What can be expected by the end of each key stage (for KS4 this will the end of course)

The number of students choosing to study Psychology and Criminology at A-Level are very high and a number of our students go on to study the subjects further at university. We know our curriculum is working as we strive to redress the gap in national average achievement and achieve our targets. In addition, Psychology (and now Criminology) has significantly grown with maintained retention over the past 4-5 years at an impressive rate – more so than any other subject outside the core subjects.

Furthermore, the quality of teaching and learning in Psychology and EPQ has been praised many times during learning walks by both external (HMI-Ofsted) and internal observers. The engagement of students in the department can be observed in lessons and recorded in student voice. More importantly, students frequently express their enjoyment of Psychology and Criminology, the quality of teaching they have received and their appreciation of the knowledge and study skills they have gained from the department.

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