Curriculum Intent

The social sciences are those subjects which examine and explain human society and behaviours. A diverse range of subjects, courses and topics are offered to students within the department.  We offer courses that are both vocational and traditional academic subjects. All of these courses are designed to equip students with knowledge and transferable skills in particular literacy, analysis and evaluation required for their futures.

All of our courses aim to prepare students for the next stage of their lives. This may be studying one of our subjects in greater depth or beginning training for a particular career pathway. At St Thomas More we offer courses in health and social care, child development and care, psychology and sociology.


Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it dictates and influences our behaviour, driving humans to do what they do. Psychologists formulate theories, test hypotheses by conducting research, and analyse their data with statistical techniques that help them identify important findings. The study of Psychology at St Thomas More will aim to develop academic literacy by encouraging wider reading in to up-to-date research and contemporary issues. Students will develop analytical and evaluative skills when dealing with theories, therapies, research methods and studies so that they can question the validity and reliability of research.

We offer AQA A level psychology at St Thomas More. This is a linear qualification, where all examinations are taken at the end of Year 13. Exam papers will use a variety of assessment styles including multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions. Final examinations will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives;

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures.
  • AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures:
  • in a theoretical context
  • in a practical context
  • when handling qualitative data
  • when handling quantitative data.
  • AO3: Analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information, ideas and evidence, including in relation to issues, to: • make judgements and reach conclusions • develop and refine practical design and procedures.

Topics studied in Year 12 include approaches, research methods, attachment, social influence, psychopathology and issues and debates. In Year 13 students study, gender, biospsychology, forensic psychology, schizophrenia, before revising for their examinations.

  • Paper 1 Introductory Topics in Psychology

96 marks / 33.3% of final qualification grade

2 hours

AQA set and marked

  • Paper 2 Psychology in Context

96 marks / 33.3% of final qualification grade

2 hours

AQA set and marked

  • Paper 3 Issues and Options in Psychology

96 marks / 33.3% of final qualification grade

2 hours

AQA set and marked

The overall qualification will be graded A*, A, B, C, D, E.


Curriculum Implementation

All social science lessons follow a common thread of being engaging and linked to real life situations. Lessons are tailored to meet the demands of relevant specifications and the needs of our learners. We promote a growth mindset amongst our students throughout all our communication, both verbal and non-verbal. Displays are present in our classrooms and starter activities regularly include tasks designed to promote growth mindset.

Our A Level subjects, Psychology and Sociology are both linear courses and are usually new subjects for our learners. Therefore, we initially induct students into the key themes of each subject such as culture, inequalities and the nature verses nurture debate. Specialist teachers use active lessons to deliver key content and then students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through making links to real life situations. Further developing the ability for students to see the synoptic links between topics and understand the holistic nature of their courses. Any misconceptions can then also be addressed. Weekly recall tasks are used to reinforce previous learning, focussed on key concepts whilst further imbedding links between topics. When studying research methods, mini projects are undertaken to bring the methods to life. Assessment and exam question planning and reflections take place regularly. Students develop the skills to interpret exam questions, plan how to answer them before writing a response. These responses are assessed by their teacher or a self / peer assessment takes place, which leads directly to reflection and target setting.

Tips and Advice

For the Sixth Form once a fortnight there is a lunchtime support session alongside an afterschool one on Fridays.

Further Information

A Level Psychology


Subject Leader Information

For more information or if you have any questions please use the contact details below.

Mrs J Burton – Head of Department –

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