Psychology and Sociology

Psychology and sociology are fascinating subjects that study human behaviour and societal functioning. 

These subjects explore why we behave the way we do; psychology considers why ‘abnormal’ behaviours emerge, how we are able to control certain behaviours and impulses and how our relationships in childhood dictate adult behaviour. Students study a range of behaviours including schizophrenia, OCD, depression and addiction to consider why some people are more likely to develop these behaviours than others. 

On the other hand, sociology analyses the purpose of group and individual behaviours and their impact on society.  Both subjects have clear links to other areas of the curriculum too; psychology lies heavily on methods of the natural sciences and considers genetics and biochemical factors when considering the risk of developing psychological disorders. Sociology considers elements of economics, law and politics. In all units in sociology, students consider how laws and policies impact on the structure of families, the education system and the criminal justice system, whilst also considering inequalities in society linked to class, gender and ethnicity. 

Social science requires active investigation/experimentation therefore, both subjects have a research methods element to it as well as a section on socially sensitive research as studying human participants requires ethically sound research.

Fundamentally, psychology and sociology academically assess why we are who we are.

All students are welcome to study Psychology and sociology upon commencing Key Stage 5. The entry criteria ensures that the subjects are accessible and that success is achievable.  The subject content is culturally diverse and examples range from groups of all social class, gender and ethnic backgrounds. The units studied cover a range of different topics to ensure all students can access the content directly or indirectly, through a range of media platforms.  

Lessons are clearly structured and our students are aware of the high expectations of the department. Lessons consist of a combination of teacher led activities, independent learning activities and regular testing. There is ample opportunity to support students in and outside of lessons, as well as providing stretch and challenge opportunities for the most able students. 

The use of real-life case studies in all our lessons e.g. serial killers with prolific disorders in psychology, or criminals that overtly ignore laws in society, highlights the importance of reading beyond the curriculum for deeper understanding. Class work and homework regularly involved a degree of reading, and wider project work enables students to pursue independent research (and therefore reading) of a topic of their choice.

Recommended Reading: 


  • Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments by Alex Boese
  • The Little Book of Psychology by Emily Ralls and Caroline Riggs
  • The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo
  • Wisdom of psychopaths by Kevin Dutton
  • The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson


  • Chavs: demonisation of the working class by Owen Jones
  • The McDonaldisation of Society by George Ritzer
  • The Spirit Level by Wilkinson and Pickett
  • Living Dolls: The Return of Sexismby Natasha Walter

A theoretical understanding of cultural capital is explicitly taught as part of the sociology of education unit. Students initially learn what cultural capital and deprivation is before developing their own, which is hugely insightful given the theoretical understanding they have. The rich language and understanding that both psychology and sociology provide enables students to understand the experiences of others whether it be about psychological illness or delinquency; the department make use of a range of media to enable the students to understand the behaviour before embarking on a reasoned argument for and against the development of such behaviours from a theoretical perspective. 

Students have the opportunity to broaden their scope of these subjects by attending enrichment sessions: The Psychological Society and Sociology Drop In – these sessions enable students to discuss the content of the specification or the subject in general.

Curriculum Maps

Here you can browse the curriculum maps for each Key Stage. Use the tabs to select the subject and key stage you wish to view, and use the left & right arrows to browse through the slides.