What is the curriculum trying to achieve?

Psychology is the study of behaviour and the science of experience, but much more than collecting evidence for things that already seem obvious, it is about explaining why people do what they do in all circumstances and why we often behave differently from one another. Psychology should change the way students think about themselves and other people – we want to encourage empathy and understanding to develop individuals with integrity and a sense of responsibility. In expressing their opinions and reflecting on their own experience we ask students to show courage and respect. 

At The Downs School Psychology has grown to become a broad offer with three different courses available across Key Stages 4 and 5. We aim to challenge students at each step, encouraging them to develop the depth and complexity of their thinking and supporting them as they build vital skills of critical evaluation and experimental analysis.  

At GCSE students can begin Psychology their journey with a course that gives an intriguing insight into the range of Approaches which have developed as the subject has evolved into a modern science. A choice of two courses is available in the Sixth Form: A Level Psychology and BTEC Applied Psychology. Both these courses can serve as either a natural progression from GCSE or an introduction in their own right and each provides a strong foundation for further study and work. This ambitious breadth of curriculum enables students to progress in specific ways and allows creativity of expression with a range of fascinating topics which are specific to each course.  


How do we organise learning?     

How do we organise learning?

Each of our subjects organises learning to achieve our federation vision of ‘Educating today’s students for the world of tomorrow: a seamless education from 4 to 19’.  Please click here to see a visual map of students’ planned ‘learning journey’ in psychology BTEC and A Level across Key Stage 5.

To see more detail on what we teach, please click the relevant links below:

Year 12 curriculum summary

Year 13 curriculum summary

AQA A level Psychology

Anything else?

If you have any questions about our curriculum or require more information, please contact the Head of Faculty by emailing

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