Psychology & Sociology

In many ways, all students have a natural interest and curiosity in the subjects of Psychology and Sociology as they explore and consider their own identity and their social identity.  For those students who choose to study either, or both, of these subjects at A Level we aim to encourage this natural curiosity whilst building a framework of knowledge and skills that students use to better understand humans as individuals (Psychology) or as collective members of their culture and society (Sociology).

Across both subjects, our aim is to contextualise learning by ensuring a focus on real life applications of the theory explored in the classroom.  We encourage students to engage in self-reflection, discussion and debate as they consider the behaviour of people (the discipline of Psychology) or the society around them (the study of Sociology).  We strive to provide a learning environment where students offer support and challenge to their peers as they explore topics that can be emotive and challenging.

Having studied the process of designing and conducting research, students engage in active research throughout the course to ensure learning is always put into action.  To allow students to explore particular areas of interest, they design and carry out their own research projects with titles as diverse as: ‘Investigating stereotypes in Education’, ‘Diversity and representation in the Media’ and ‘Men’s Strategic Responses to Their Violence Against Intimate Female Partners’.

Whilst our aim is to inspire students to continue their study of Psychology or Sociology beyond A Level, there are many skills that students can transfer to other studies or the workplace, for example: critical thinking and reasoning; conducting and analysing quantitative and qualitative research; clear and confident verbal and written communication; and perhaps most interestingly an appreciation and understanding of human behaviour and social systems.

For those students who study A Level Psychology or Sociology, there are a range of enrichment experiences that contextualise classroom learning or allow students to broaden their experience of the subjects.  Recent trips include:

  • Phobias Day at London Zoo where Psychology students hear a practising hypnotherapist talk about the origin and treatment of phobias.
  • Brain Day event where Psychology students are taught degree level material by a neuroscience expert.  Students also have the opportunity to see a brain dissection.
  • Liverpool culture & research trip where Sociology students engage in workshops in the city’s Museum of Culture & Slavery.  Students also have the opportunity to design and carry out research in a multicultural city.
  • Forensic Workshop where students studying either subject study real life crime cases and apply their learning from lessons to solve the crime.

Within lessons, students enjoy activities such as 'Psysnacks', where students present on an aspect of their learning in Psychology by linking it to an item of food.  Students are also encouraged to explore the subjects beyond the exam specification.  ‘Find something interesting about…’ tasks are set regularly with students sharing their research with the class.

For younger students, or those Sixth Form students who chose not to study the subjects at A Level, there is the opportunity to attend the Psychology Society meetings.  These are led by A Level Psychology students and are an opportunity to share and explore topics of interest.