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Reading Girls' School

Reading Girls' School


"Don't become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin." Ivan Pavlov

Head of department/faculty: Mr Alex Smith

Introduction to Course 

Learning Psychology allows pupils the opportunity to gain a better understanding of themselves, others and everyday social phenomena - important skills in the ever changing world in which we live. As well as developing an understanding of psychological concepts, (including biological, cognitive, social and developmental psychology), it also also teaches pupils to understand how psychological research is conducted including the role of scientific methods, research and data analysis and the various ways to present information, develop arguments and draw conclusions through a critical approach, helping them develop as reflective thinkers. It also allows the opportunity to better understand personal, moral, social and cultural issues and wider society.

Subject content KS4: Through studying GCSE Psychology, students will:

  • learn specialist vocabulary, psychological concepts, terminology and convention to engage in the process of psychological enquiry
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of psychology, developing an understanding of self and others, and how psychological understanding can help to explain everyday social phenomena
  • understand how psychological research is conducted, including the role of scientific method and data analysis
  • understand how to present information, develop arguments and draw conclusions through a critical approach to psychological evidence, developing as a reflective thinker
  • develop an understanding of the relationship between psychology and personal, moral, social and cultural issues, and develop an understanding of ethical issues in psychology
  • develop an understanding of psychological issues, the contribution of psychology to individual, social and cultural diversity, and how psychology contributes to society
  • gain knowledge and understanding of key features of the core areas of psychology

In addition, students will learn to understand:

  • key debates in psychology, including ‘reductionism/holism’ and ‘nature/nurture’
  • how psychological knowledge and ideas change over time and how they inform our understanding of behaviour
  • the contribution of psychology to an understanding of individual, social and cultural diversity
  • the interrelationships of the core areas of psychology
  • how case studies relate to the associated theory
  • various research methods and how and why they are used

Typical topics studied include:

  • Development - How did you develop?
  • Memory - How does your memory work?
  • Psychological problems - How would psychological problems affect you?
  • The Brain and neuropsychology - How does your brain affect you?
  • Social influence - How do others affect you?
  • Research methods - How do you carry out psychological research?
  • Criminal psychology - Why do people become criminals?
  • Sleep and dreaming - Why do you need to sleep and dream?

Exam board KS4: We follow the Pearson/Edexcel 9-1 GCSE Psychology specification at GCSE level in KS4

Typical lesson activities

Within lessons, students will typically engage in small scale research tasks and be subject to psychological assessments, tests and tasks to better understand how research in carried out. Other lesson activities include research tasks, individual and group presentations and debates, information gathering, reading and understanding case studies, evaluating theories and observing phenomena in and around the school

Contact details for any questions: