Poole Grammar School, Gravel Hill, Poole, Dorset, BH17 9JU | Tel: 01202 692132 | Email: pgsoffice@poolegrammar.com
Select Page


Intent: What do we learn?

Over the two years, you will develop an appreciation of the psychological and biological processes that explain human behaviour and how we can examine those behaviours scientifically. 

You will learn how to explain human behaviour using the main approaches within psychology. These approaches will cover biological and psychological approaches. Biological approaches focus on genetics and neural processes, both brain structure and brain chemistry. Psychological approaches involve understanding how you process and store knowledge and experiences, as well as understanding how your environment and early experiences can explain your present behaviour.

There are three papers covering the following topics:

Year 12 you will study:

  • Memory: how memory works i.e. why we remember and why we forget
  • Attachment: Importance of early relationships and their influence on adult behaviour.
  • Approaches: theories in psychology.
  • Psychopathology: causes and treatment of mental disorders.
  • Social: why people obey/conform to others and independent behaviour.
  • Research Methods: designing investigations including some statistical interpretation.

Year 13 you will study:

  • Biopsychology: examines the structure of the brain, split brain research, recovery from brain trauma and the sleep-wake cycle
  • Relationships: How they are formed, maintained and breakdown.
  • Stress: sources of stress and how we can manage stress
  • Aggression: causes of aggression
  • Issues and Debates: bias within psychology and debates surrounding its approach to examining behaviour

Implementation: How do we learn it?

The focus is on active learning. The activities that you will experience are designed to engage you with the both the requirements of the specification and to ignite your interest. Examples of how you will learn include the designing of psychological investigations, case studies on crime, class debates, whiteboard activities, presentations and essay writing challenges, analysing film, art and music.

Booklets are available to help you with the content of the course and will be colour coded to help you write effectively. Many tasks are undertaking in small groups.

Students will be required to analyse scientifically the human mind and behaviour.  They will be required to show evidence of various explanations and research. An appreciation of the scientific method and good written skills are key to success. Because of the level and type of work involved in the ‘Stress and Biopsychology’ modules, students must have a level 6 in GCSE Biology.  There is also an emphasis on extended writing; therefore, a level 6 in English Language GCSE is required.

Impact: How do we know we have been successful?

Assessment materials will be provided and are available on the Moodle. Past exam papers, informal and formal assessments within class will help you assess how you are progressing.  

Methods of assessment

  • Three exam papers each of 2 hours duration. No course work.

Discussion and written work are central to the course.  In all areas the content will emphasise applied psychology – materials will have a clear emphasis on real-life, contemporary issues.

Guidance and support? Lunchtime sessions are available for extra support. In addition, course materials and activities are designed to help you with the skill requirements for the exam, but staff within the department are always willingly to make themselves available at lunch times to provide additional help if required.


Over the past few years, speakers have visited the school to talk about areas related to the course. For example, Dr K. Burnell gave a talk on post-traumatic stress disorder, and other speakers have covered such issues as stress, anxiety and occupational psychology. Former Poole Grammar students have also been invited back to discuss their experiences of studying psychology at degree level. In the past few years, the department has developed a link with St Anne’s hospital, culminating in two visits. Presently arrangements are underway for mental health professionals to visit the school to discuss their experiences within the area of mental health.