The King's (The Cathedral) School




In a broad sense the psychology department aims to instil in learners a love of learning and provide them with a set of skills which will prove useful to them in both managing the demands of work and everyday life within a global society.

In a more specific sense, psychology aims to help learners appreciate the values of scientific enquiry and understand its application in understanding human behaviour.

Scientific Enquiry: Love of Learning

  • To demonstrate to learners the variety of human behaviour that can be explained through psychology and understood through scientific enquiry.
  • To help learners understand that we can be different for a range of reasons, both cultural and personal, and that we should aim to understand and accept each other.
  • To seek opportunities to apply learning to understanding human behaviour reported in current affairs.
  • To interpret the past and student’s current situation through psychological theories formed through scientific enquiry.

Scientific Enquiry: Skills for work and life

  • To provide learners with skills to be both critical and analytical of data and arguments both old and new. Students will learn never accept data or explanations without analysis. Students must learn that no belief or explanation is beyond scrutiny, but also that one cannot simply dismiss a perspective. Ideas must be appreciated and debated respectfully.
  • Learners should develop the skills to interpret data (percentages, proportion, averages, measures of dispersion, methods of displaying data); this should provide with the skills to analyse data related to work and everyday life (bills, bank accounts etc).
  • Learners should also be able to identify where data is being misinterpreted for personal advantage. They should be able to identify the issues within the enquiry that caused the misinterpretation (sampling, research design, post research analysis).

The department intent is evident from start to finish of the scheme of learning. The first topic in Year 12 introduces the key features of scientific enquiry, the last unit covers research methods and the last lesson is features of science.


Key principles of the department’s curriculum design and implementation:

Cumulative development of academic skills (Subject specific and cross curricular): The units have been sequenced to begin with topics that provide the substantive concepts first.  This foundation can act as a platform of prior learning from which abstract and threshold concepts can be developed. In sequencing the lessons and units the department has considered the following:

  • Cognitive load: The first units chosen have the least amount of new and unfamiliar material for learners, whilst providing the most substantive concepts. They also provide threshold concepts, examples and processes that apply to topics with high intrinsic load. Consequently, sequencing will lower the cognitive load of later units and maximise progress.
    • Assessment for learning: Assessment for learning is planned in to the scheme of work. Sequencing has been based on the concept of scaffolding and the “worked example effect”; a process which will gradually move the learner from novice to expert. Within each unit learners move through an assessment micro cycle of setting the context, modelling and deconstruction, joint construction and independent construction (the end of unit test). Over the course of the cycle students will develop an understanding of the assessment questions, metalanguage and second-order concepts. Assessment and feedback are a crucial aspect of developing learners. The scheme of work provides some flexibility so that teachers can adjust delivery of lessons in response to learner needs that have been identified through previous assessment.
    • Vocabulary (Tier 2 words): Planning of the curriculum has considered the development of learners’ knowledge and application of vocabulary for tier 2 words. Development of tier 2 words occurs through the assessment for learning micro cycle. Over the modelling and construction phases time is given to analysing use of vocabulary.
  • Retrieval practice and spacing to secure knowledge and understanding in long term memory: Teaching of all topics ends in the December of year two. Due to the linear form of the assessment, planning for significant time to revisit topics assists with retrieval of earlier learning and provides learners with the opportunity to develop links between earlier learning and the second-order concepts of later units.
    • Structuring and sequencing of the scheme of work is based on the idea of spaced learning, retrieval practice and interleaving.
    • Learners return to content over three different intervals:
      • Within the unit = Knowledge tests, quizzes, homework and end of unit assessment
      • Within the academic year = Mock exams
      • Within the course = 120 lesson revision unit Jan – May of year two.
    • Interleaving occurs through:
      • Returning to threshold topics (Research methods, issues and debates and approaches) and concepts during the delivery of year 2 units (Gender, schizophrenia and forensic psychology)
      • The planned revision lessons at the end of year 2
  • British values, employment and SMSC (BES): The department’s curriculum seeks to identify opportunities to explore British Values (democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs) and the challenges we face in upholding these values. In addition, we identify the opportunities in which we can inform learners of the career opportunities related to psychology and identify the skills that can be applied to unrelated fields of employment (Gatsby benchmark 4).


  • A positive value-added score ALIS 0.6 / SISRA 0.66
  • A 1.4 increase in value-added between 2019 - 2022
  • Increased recruitment = Cohort numbers have increased from 36 to 60 (current Year 13 cohort) 2019-2022
  • Increasing number of learners choosing Psychology as a HE destination.
  • High student satisfaction = 100% of learners believed that lessons helped them learn and make progress (student survey)

Department Staff

Mr Robert Mbanu (RM): Head of Psychology Department
Mrs Helen Birch (HMB): Teacher of Psychology and Deputy Headteacher (Pastoral)
Mr Hayden Brader (HAB): Teacher of Psychology and Academic Head of Year 7