At Waseley, our Psychology curriculum aims to develop students’ understanding of the mind and behaviour; encouraging them to have a curiosity about people and the world we live in. By promoting social and emotional learning skills such as empathy (of those with mental health issues for example) and tolerance (which has strong links to British Values), we develop students who can connect with those around them and contribute positively to society. This provides students with an understanding of themselves contributing to academic success and improved mental health. We want students to think critically about the theories and studies we look at, considering possible economic implications and methodological issues.  

The curriculum is carefully designed to enable students to know and remember more by building on existing knowledge from core subjects (for example, knowledge of the brain from Biology; writing skills from English; and Mathematics skills). As students progress through Key Stage 4 and into Key Stage 5, their knowledge will become broader and more sophisticated. Each lesson is carefully sequenced to allow students to make synoptic links to previously taught material to aid their memory. Key Stage 4 Psychology has been designed to give students a good knowledge base for studying the subject at Key Stage 5 and beyond, building upon existing skills and making synoptic links between KS4 and KS5 through approaches and debates. 

At the start of Year 10 and Year 12, we want students to have a strong foundational knowledge of the basics of the scientific discipline, so we start with Research Methods, introducing students to how we conduct research in Psychology and that drives psychological theories. Throughout GCSE and A-Level, we revisit Research Methods knowledge; applying it to content within other topics (for example, the use of a lab experiment in memory) and develop their mathematics skills through allowing them to conduct their own research and analyse their data. Although a significant number of students who opt for Psychology have studied it previously at GCSE level; we always assume no prior knowledge and begin with the basics in the first half term of year 12. 

Through a broad and diverse curriculum, students will be able find areas of interest which will boost their confidence. We aim to promote high aspirations for our pupils, making links to careers and further education throughout our delivery and providing support to ensure all can succeed.   


Overview and Assessment Information 

Please refer to the subject Curriculum and Assessment Overview document for an overview of specific topics and assessments.  

Assessment timeframes can be found in the subject Scheme of Assessment



KASE in Psychology 


Knowledge: is the driver for our subject planning and the aim is to develop expertise by ensuring that pupils master, over time, the key substantive and conceptual knowledge within Psychology. As a trust, we think of knowledge as consisting of:   


  • Substantive knowledge – the substance of each unit of learning and its associated vocabulary, connected through the subject to other units by substantive concepts – the “big ideas” of each subject.   


  • Disciplinary knowledge – the way in which the thinking in each subject develops as pupils build more substantive knowledge, what are commonly thought of as the ‘subject specific skills’ of each subject domain.  


The design of the curriculum is characterised by the relationship between substantive and disciplinary knowledge, interwoven and built over time. Knowing more, remembering more, being able to do and demonstrate more is at the core of our sequencing in Psychology. This includes students understanding research methods and approaches which underpins all psychological research before moving on to applying their knowledge within topics.  


In Psychology, we want our students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques, and procedures. Students should be able to link new substantive knowledge to existing schemas through explicit teaching of these synoptic links.  We want students to know psychology specific terminology and be able to apply this to explain behaviour. We also want them to know how to apply relevant knowledge theoretically and practically. Students are encouraged to think critically to analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific ideas and evidence. In order to do this, we ensure our students know how to use PEEL structure in order to develop strengths and weaknesses; and make appropriate judgements on the reliability and validity of a theory or study. Exam skills are embedded into every lesson so students understand how to tackle questions with different command words such as discuss and outline; and how to structure of both short- and long-answer questions.  


Attributes: Psychology develops the attributes of empathy, tolerance, and compassion. By exploring emotionally challenging topics, students will develop courage and insight into their own behaviours. Students will develop a curiosity and drive through designing, conducting, and analysing their own research. Within lessons, students are encouraged to think critically and share their ideas, developing confidence and resilience.  


Skills: Psychology develops a range of valuable skills which are transferable to further study and the workplace. These include critical evaluation, analysis, communication, teamwork, and research skills. We also develop students’ mathematical skills to enable them to analyse data and design research which is feasible and ethical. As students progress through the GCSE and A-Level course, they will become scientifically literate and able to articulate their knowledge and thinking both verbally and in written form. Reading is also developed within lessons through the regularly use of news and BPS articles.  


Experiences: Building cultural capital through discussing real-life application within lessons. For example, while studying Social Influence at GCSE and A-Level, students consider the consequences of extreme obedience and conformity, through studying real-life examples such as the Holocaust, the Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the 2011 London Riots. There are also opportunities for students to visit the Freud Museum in London, experience Systematic Desensitisation of phobias at the Safari Park and take part in a mock crime scene investigation as part of the criminal psychological topic in Year 10.  


Psychology Curriculum Page