Advanced Level Psychology at King Solomon Academy

1. Intent: why do we teach what we teach?

  • Link subject to big picture of the whole school mission, vision and values
  • What are the underlying principles of how the curriculum is designed?
  • How do you keep your knowledge and understanding of the curriculum up to date?
  • Is there sufficient coverage, timetabling and progression of curriculum in this subject? How do you know?
  • Which aspects of the curriculum are revised and repeated? What is the rationale for this? How well does the curriculum ensure progression and develop learning from one key stage to the next?
The psychology curriculum aims to prepare students to be able tackle psychology and social science subjects at university. By studying psychology A level, students should feel well-equipped to analyse the usefulness of research, evaluate its credibility and understand how to plan and carry out their own research; the depth of the psychology curriculum should make the transition to a psychology degree at university smooth. These skills would be equally applicable to economics, history, politics, business or sociology degree at university. To enable this to be the case, the curriculum will go beyond the A level syllabus to ensure students have full exposure to the key concepts and skills that are required in the first year of an undergraduate degree. The curriculum is designed to equip students with the fundamental skills of understanding how psychology as a discipling emerged and developed over time and through improvements to our understanding of human and animal behaviour, which allows them to progress rapidly when dealing with the different approaches’ theories on psychological dilemmas. For example, in year 12 being able to critically analyse how depression can be explained from both a biological and behavioural perspective and analysing the best treatments that are available and why. Students are also exposed to psychological reading early on with book chapters and articles from The Psychologist and Psychology Today given as part of weekly homework, and students complete a reading record log to build their bank of resources. The curriculum must be informed by the very latest research, and how that compares to classic studies to be relevant and purposeful for students. Examples are used in every lesson and students are trained to apply concepts to the most recent economic data. Any teachers of the subject are encouraged to read The Psychologist, subscribe to Research Digest by the BPS and engage with wider current psychological research.

2. Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?

  • Explain (in a table if most helpful) the curriculum hours/allocation/choice within the subject and the organisation of pupil work (e.g. ex books/folders/online etc)
  • How many teachers are subject specialists? What training related to the curriculum in the six months to two years. Has there been any subject specific training for staff in your subject? How are non-specialist staff supported and consistency and quality of curriculum implementation assured?
  • How do you ensure access for pupils/learners who have low prior attainment, including their basic skills such as reading?
  • How does the curriculum meet the needs of all pupils/learners – particularly disadvantaged learners and learners who have additional needs/SEND.
  • How well is the planned curriculum implemented? What checks do you make and what changes have you made as a result of your checks?
  • How well does output match to the planned progression? Is planned progression evident?
  • How well are resources used to support the curriculum? Do all pupils/learners have access to appropriate resources?



Hours of Teaching per week per year

Number of Teachers

Teacher Experience (# yrs teaching subject)

Examiner expertise

Organisation of work





1-year AQA examiner experience

All work in folders and work packs. HW, assessment and PW found in folders. Consolidation in exercise books



In psychology, there has been one teacher leading the subject for one full academic year. This teacher is an experienced practitioner and an examiner for the AQA exam board, which is taught. There is only one teacher of the subject and there would therefore be a risk if the subject specialist left the school. The curriculum is fully planned with LTP and MTPs and a large body of lesson-by-lesson resources. While MTPs could be more detailed, all individual lessons have a teaching PowerPoint, and accompanying resources with homework’s and pre-works built in and there is an extensive bank of revision resources. The curriculum is designed to initially start teaching the approaches section of the course, although not the starting point of the syllabus, the approaches underpin the whole of psychology so without a level of understanding this unit, it would be difficult to build additional knowledge. This is also taught alongside some maths skills as 10% of the new A level course is mathematical content, so students understanding this, and teachers knowing the students understanding of statistics is crucial. All lessons have key elements of model presentation, real-world application and student practice, often to exam questions. Prework and ‘do nows’ are used as opportunities to expose students to wider reading, but also comprehension and prior lesson recall. In year 12, students are taught paper one topics, followed by paper two topics. In year 13, students are taught paper 3 topics. This is done so that students can develop their skills and understanding of the more basic topics before progressing onto the units where a deeper psychological understanding is needed.

3. Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?


  • How do you know what pupils have learnt? How do you check? When did you last check? What did this tell you? Use the language of formative and summative assessment
  • How do teachers use assessment to adapt the curriculum and plan the right work? How well do staff understand the purpose of assessment?
  • Does learning over time show progression and appropriate levels of challenge?
  • How is assessment used to inform and improve curriculum design?
The psychology course is assessed using tri-weekly taught and cumulative assessments in accordance with the wider KS5 assessment model. Apart from the first tri-weekly in Yr12, which is a numeracy assessment, all assessments include end of Yr13-standard assessments often taken from past papers, and sample exam board material. A re-teach lesson always follows a tri-weekly assessment and often takes a whole lesson as content is reviewed and work re-drafted. Skills are gradually built, and by October half term (usually 6 weeks of teaching), students will have practiced their first psychology essay (16 marks). Progress in lessons is always checked by ensuring there is an opportunity for students to apply their learning to exam style questions. Over time this will build to students always completing exam questions in timed conditions, to prepare them for the pace of the exams. Students will also complete parts of bigger questions such as just description or evaluation paragraphs, to check their progress. Questioning and discussion is a key method of both student engagement and assessment for learning and is used to push and inspire students. Students are also required to engage in wider reading in psychology, again the purpose of this is to inspire and motive student engagement, whilst also broadening their understanding of the subject beyond A level study. By Easter of Yr12 students are sitting a full A level exam paper and the end of Year 12 assessment is designed to reflect two thirds of a final A level exam. The course is designed for content to be very close to complete by the end of January in Yr13 allowing for global assessment to take place.