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Curriculum Purpose and Impact

The Psychology team at Uxbridge High School are committed that through the understanding of critical analysis, independent thinking and research, students will develop skills that are desired by employers and Higher Education. 

The curriculum encourages students to think about ‘why people behave in certain ways’ and to be successful students have to be open-minded to all viewpoints whether they personally agree or disagree.  In order to build their understanding students are encouraged to read a wide range of literature and research case studies independently at home. 

Psychology requires the students to construct essays which evaluate all perspectives surrounding a critical question for example; Ever wondered if prison really does change criminal behaviour? Or why some people conform? Or perhaps if the experiences you had before the age of five really do shape the person you are today?  The evaluative writing skills required provide the foundation for further study and can be used across a variety of subjects.  Psychology links to a number of other curriculum areas including Humanities, Maths and Science and students have the opportunity to explore these links within lessons and between departments.

Psychology covers a range of very sensitive topic areas for our students and this promotes the concept of social responsibility for students as well as the Spiritual and Moral development of students during the programme of study.

The design of our curriculum at Mastery and Advanced level is to promote student engagement and a passion for studying Psychology.  Where possible students are able to complete historical Psychology experiments and are encouraged to find examples of Psychology in the real world for example; finding an article in the local newspaper on the way to school to discuss that day!  We strive to ensure that not only can our students access the rigour of exams that they have a full understanding of Psychology in the world outside of the school curriculum.


At mastery level we aim to provide a full and comprehensive introduction to Psychology that prepares students for the skills needed to succeed at the advanced stage whether students carry on with the subject or not.  Students learn the key fundamentals behind:

• Memory • Perception • Development • Research methods

• Social influence • Language, thought and communication • Brain and neuropsychology • Psychological problems

It is intended that students acquire knowledge and understanding of psychology, developing an understanding of self and others, and how psychological understanding can help to explain everyday social phenomena.  In addition, understand how psychological research is conducted, including the role of scientific method and data analysis.  Students should be able to present information, develop arguments and draw conclusions through a critical approach to psychological evidence, developing as reflective thinkers.  Furthermore, develop an understanding of the relationship between psychology and personal, moral, social and cultural issues, and develop an understanding of ethical issues in psychology.

“Psychology is a compelling subject with a number of studies and theories that keep you keen to learn more about human brains and behaviour. I like studying it as it gives you an opportunity to look into why people behave a certain way, with profound topics such as social influence and obedience. These topics become even more interesting when you begin to recognise the effects of the studies in real life people, such as how we are more likely to obey authority figures if they look or behave a certain way.” (Khameel Awuni – Year 10)


Whilst there is an overlap in topics from the mastery level students will gain and in-depth knowledge of:

  • Introductory topics in psychology: students learn about conformity, social norms, how the mind remembers and forgets and how children form attachments.
  • Psychology in context: students learn more about the different approaches in psychology and how to design and conduct their own research. In the second year of the A-level students deepen their understanding of human behaviour. Students study additional topics under Approaches in psychology, Biopsychology, Research methods and Issues and debates in psychology.
  • Issues and debates in psychology: students learn about the fascinating tendencies of human behaviour, with options looking into gender differences and the criminal mind.
  • Students then choose three further topics; one from each of three option groups. Issues and options in psychology: you’ll learn more about psychological concepts, research methods and ethical issues.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed studying psychology at Uxbridge High School because of how interesting it is. The content involves concepts that you can relate to which helps you understand it even more. The fact that the teachers are extremely passionate about the subject helps with learning too, they ensure the lessons are interactive and they don't give up on students. Personally, I struggled at the start. I was constantly achieving grade B's in paper 1 and U's in paper 2. However, due to how amazing the staff are, they made sure I and other students persevered and came out of the end of year 12 with an A on both papers. I also love the fact that you find yourself in day to day life relating certain situations to the content you learn in psychology. At the beginning of learning psychology, you may find part of it overwhelming however, I assure you, it is worth the time and effort that you must put in to achieve excellent grades.” (Inaayah Irshad – Year 12)

Wider Curriculum

The breadth of the Psychology curriculum allows for many opportunities to explore Psychology outside of the classroom to further engage students and create life experiences for them.  Examples of trips and visits include the:

  • Dr Zimbardo Conference
  • Freud Museum
  • Centre of Clinical Hypnotherapy Workshop
  • Holocaust Exhibition at The Imperial War Museum

Through the curriculum students are able to see how studying Psychology links to a number of career paths including:

Marketing • Business development • Accountancy • Human resources • Forensic psychology • Occupational therapy • Clinical psychology • Nursing • Teaching.

Those wishing to study at Higher Education level, often use Psychology as the basis of degrees in:

Psychology • English studies • Sociology • Business studies • Teaching • Sport and exercise science • Law.