How did you develop? How does your memory work? How would psychological problems affect you? Is your behaviour controlled by your situation or your personality? Why do some people become criminals? What makes you who you are?

Psychologists have answered the above questions successfully. They do experiments and observations to try to understand why people act the way they do. Selecting Psychology as a GCSE option will enable you acquire knowledge and an understanding of psychology, develop an understanding of the self and others, and understand how psychological research can help to explain everyday social phenomena. You will also understand how psychological research is conducted, including the role of scientific method and statistical data analysis.

The Department

The Psychology department is in its early stages at Heathfield Community School. Last year’s Year 11’s completed the Edexcel Psychology GCSE course with teacher assessed grades. The current Year 11 group will be the first year group to sit the summer exams. The department priorities are the same as the whole school priorities. To actively engage all pupils through a well-planned curriculum with clear and consistent routines. From January 2022, we will be using the OCR exam specification

Programmes of Study

The OCR GCSE (9-1) Psychology course is a GCSE qualification. The course consists of seven units:

  1. Criminal Psychology
  2. Development
  3. Psychological Problems
  4. Research Methods
  5. Social Influence
  6. Memory
  7. Sleep & Dreaming

All of the units, except research methods, requires students to learn about key concepts, two key theories, two core studies and applications. Research methods focuses on the ways that psychologists investigate behaviour. Research methods and neuropsychology have been embedded throughout the course.

Curriculum Map

(Click to enlarge)


Knowledge Organiser


There are two exams at the end of Year 11. Each exam is 90mins long and features multiple choice questions, short answer questions and a 13mark essay question.

Paper 1 includes Criminal Psychology, Development, Psychological Problems and Research Methods.

Paper 2 includes Social Influence, Memory, Sleep & Dreaming and Research Methods.

Revision Guides/Supporting Resources

OCR GCSE (9-1) Psychology: My Revision Notes – Mark Billington - Hodder Publishing OCR GCSE (9-1) Psychology – Mark Billington & Helen Kitching - Hodder Publishing both print and eTextbook

Recommended reading

Elephants on Acid

Elephants on Acid is a collection of the bizarre and weird experiments that have been performed over the many years of science.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

Dr. Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients struggling to adapt to often bizarre worlds of neurological disorder.

Opening Skinner's Box

In Opening Skinner's Box, Lauren Slater sets out to investigate the twentieth century through a series of ten fascinating, witty and sometimes shocking accounts of its key psychological experiments.

Blame my Brain: The teenage brain explained.

Nicola Morgan's carefully researched, accessible and humorous examination of the ups and downs of the teenage brain has chapters dealing with powerful emotions, the need for more sleep, the urge to take risks, the difference between genders and the reasons behind addiction or depression.

Careers and Progression

This course develops a variety of skills, including numeracy, literacy, ICT, scientific enquiry and critical thinking, that can be applied to various other qualifications. The course content also compliments other subjects, such as Sports, Health & Social Care and Biology. The skills learnt in Psychology can assist in the progression to numerous level 3 courses, including ‘A’ level Psychology, ‘A’ level Sociology, BTEC Health & Social Care, etc. An understanding of Psychology can benefit many careers, including but not limited to:

  • Sports coaching;
  • Teaching;
  • Social work;
  • Educational Psychology;
  • Marketing;
  • Project management;
  • Journalism;
  • Armed Forces;
  • Medicine.
Wayne Davies Head of Psychology and Teacher of RPE
Kevin Harris Second in Science and Teacher of Psychology


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