Psychology involves the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes, which encompasses both humans and animals. The name of Sigmund Freud is synonymous with psychology, but as A-Level pupils at Colston’s soon discover, Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory is merely one of several approaches attempting to explain human behaviour.

Psychology is a popular A-Level and is easily combined with many other subjects. The approach to objectively studying human behaviour mirrors research methods practised in all three practical sciences, and pupils’ essay-writing skills utilize those found in both history and English. In addition, the study of psychoses complements the drama department’s study of Artaudian theatre, and theories of conditioning link directly to sports studies. 

The department believes strongly in the application of psychology as a science and our aim is to inspire pupils to study psychology at degree level. We are proud to have a regular stream of pupils gaining places on undergraduate university courses as well as pursuing post-graduate research. 

We have the flexibility to tailor our curriculum to meet the preferences and interests of our pupils. Topics range from the study of aggressive behaviours to relationships and gender development. In addition, the study of psychopathology is divided between depression and schizophrenia. 

Owing to the practical application of psychology as a science, our pupils are also ideally placed to pursue the Extended Project Qualification viewed so favourably by universities. We encourage our pupils to develop into independent learners by providing them with access to a fully-resourced intranet site, and offer opportunities within lessons to question ideas and express their own opinions. 

We also encourage our pupils to gain practical experience of psychology through attendance at university-based lectures, as well as inviting speakers into school to provide a practical insight into the subject. We also visit Bristol Zoo to gain first-hand experience of conditioning techniques and take part in cross-curricular projects such as the WW1 battlefields trip to discover more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.