Bury Grammar Schools


Psychology is the scientific study of human mind, behaviour and experience.
This fascinating subject combines the most intriguing content with a rigorous and scientific approach to investigation. It aims to provide students with invaluable insights into human nature as they explore the complex workings of people, from cognitive, biological and social perspectives. This is a unique academic subject complementing a wide range of courses from the arts to the sciences. The course develops both an academic understanding of the subject and an appreciation of its impact on people’s daily lives. The scientific and statistical elements of the subject mean it complements the study of Mathematics and the Natural Sciences, whereas the requirement to write essays and adopt an analytical and evaluative approach appeals to Humanities students. Psychology therefore develops a range of skills suitable for further academic study in almost any subject and is highly regarded by universities. One of the greatest strengths of Psychology is the enormous variety of career paths that are available. There is high demand for psychological professionals and the A level is often the start of a deeply rewarding future where students can use their passion to make a real difference in other people's lives.

Subject Curriculum

A Level

The AQA A Level Psychology course assumes students have no prior knowledge of the subject. An interest in people, a willingness to work hard, to contribute and to learn are essential requirements.

There are four major goals of Psychology;
  • To describe human thought and behaviour
  • To explain why human behaviours occur
  • To predict how, why and when human behaviours will occur again in the future
  • To modify and improve behaviours to better the lives of individuals and society as a whole. 
The A Level specification has been designed to provide an introduction to the nature of Psychology as a science. It incorporates practical work to develop understanding of research methods and a range of contemporary topics, in addition to traditional areas of study. Skills which students will have already developed; writing accurately, data analysis and IT skills will be used and extended during the A Level Psychology course.

Course Structure - topics students will cover:

Year 12
  • Memory 
  • Attachment
  • Social Influence
  • Approaches in Psychology
  • Psychopathology (abnormality)
  • Research Methods.

Year 13
  • Issues and debates in Psychology
  • Schizophrenia
  • Relationships
  • Aggression
  • Statistical Analysis.

Head of Department

Mrs McDermott graduated from the University of Sheffield, with an Honours degree in Psychology before completing her PGCE at Bolton University.
Prior to joining Bury Grammar School, ten years ago, she gained experience as the Deputy Head of Faculty in a large Sixth Form college, with responsibility for Teaching and Learning.
She is a Team Leader for a national exam board and has twenty years’ experience as an A level assessor.
She is passionate about new developments in Psychology and completed a Masters in Psychology in 2007, with a focus on Neuroscience.
Here at Bury Grammar School, she is also Head of Research, Training and Development and is passionate about building pupils’ knowledge of psychological principles to boost their ‘Learning Power’.
Mrs McDermott is a firm believer in the powers of Mindfulness Meditation to encourage positive mental health as a protective factor in relieving stress.