Psychology at Sir Thomas Rich's

Psychology is a fascinating subject which offers students an insight into how and why people behave the way they do.

Psychology is the science of mind and behaviour. The key word being ‘science’, as it suggests that the way we research the mind and behaviour is a methodical and precise way of generating theories of behaviour. Psychologists attempt to answer questions, such as what happens when a brain is split in half, and why are some people better able to resist temptation than others? Such questions will be answered as students follow the A Level course at Sir Thomas Rich’s. Different psychologists subscribe to different perspectives and explain behaviour in terms of these perspectives. For example, biological psychologists would argue that aggression is caused by an excess of testosterone or damage to critical areas in the brain, whereas social learning theorists would argue aggression is behaviour imitated from role models. What do you think causes aggression?


By studying Psychology, students will learn about how behaviour is accounted for by different theories, based on an understanding of psychological research (some of which students will conduct themselves). It will enable students to develop a greater understanding of their own and others' behaviour, and to appreciate diversity in society.

Head of Department:
Department Teaching Staff:
Entry Requirements: Grade 6 in Mathematics and one of: Grade 6 in English Language; 6 in Biology or 7,7 in Double Award Science.
Teaching Arrangements: Year 12: 9 lessons a fortnight. Year 13: 10 lessons a fortnight.
Homework Guidance: Students can expect to complete at least one homework per week, alongside continuing consolidation and revision.
Assessment Arrangements: We follow the OCR specification for A Level Psychology, which has an examination for each component at the end of the A Level.
Component 1 – Research Methods (2 hrs) - this asks questions based on your knowledge of methodology and includes multiple-choice questions, data analysis and interpretation and research design from novel sources (30%).
Component 2 – Psychological Themes Through Core Studies (2 hrs) - this requires you to show your knowledge of the core studies, perspectives, debates and practical applications relating to a novel source (35%).
Component 3 – Applied Psychology (2 hrs) – this requires you to answer questions on issues in mental health and select questions on criminal and environmental psychology to answer. Answers are mostly essay-based (35%).
Exam Specification: OCR A Level Psychology Topics Covered:
Year 12
Research Methods: this area provides students with the opportunity to understand what is involved in a range of different research methods and techniques, and it creates awareness of associated strengths and weaknesses.
Psychological Themes Through Core Studies: this area covers 10 pairs of studies (classic and contemporary) to cover a range of areas, including social, cognitive and biological psychology. Students will also learn about specific perspectives, such as behaviourism and the psychodynamic perspective. An appreciation of a range of issues and debates are incorporated throughout this component.
Year 13
Applied Psychology: this area covers a compulsory section on issues in mental health and two further applied areas, which are criminal and environmental psychology.
University courses this subject may be required for or lead onto: Psychology A Level is always looked upon favourably by universities, as students need to demonstrate many skills to succeed in Psychology; writing essays, constructing reports, and critical analysis skills are all developed. It is always advisable to review course requirements for any university degree, and if you are not sure, contact the department you wish to join. You do not necessarily require A Level Psychology to study the subject at degree level, but it would be beneficial.
Careers that Psychology may lead onto: As Psychology students develop a range of transferrable skills, a degree in the subject can open many doors to a variety of careers. Students may pursue a career in Clinical Psychology, Organisational Psychology, Educational Psychology, Teaching, Management, Marketing and many other areas.

For many years The Department regularly welcomes True Life Conferences into School to deliver a ‘Behind Bars’ conference to our Year 13 students which aligns with the Criminal Psychology unit the students cover. This has been one of the highlights of the course as students have the opportunity to apply criminology to the real world.