Why study Psychology?
Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and behaviour. As psychologists, we seek to understand the ways in which people act, and interact, through the use of the scientific method. Understanding the motivations and reasons behind human behaviour can not only aid treatment and therapy, for mental health and neurodegenerative diseases, but can help us to understand and offer solutions to individual and social dilemmas such as the holocaust, racism, aggression, mental health, crime and more.
What does the course cover?
The Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced GCE in Psychology is structured into nine topic areas. Topics 1 to 4; Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Biological Psychology and Learning Theories, are compulsory and focus on the areas that have laid the foundations of modern psychological understanding. These four approaches offer different explanations for human behaviour, from group identity to positive reinforcement and the structures of the human brain and nervous system. These will be covered in Year 12.
Topics 5–8 focus on how our understanding of psychology is applied today. Topic 5; Clinical Psychology is compulsory. Students apply their Year 12 understanding to mental health understanding, diagnosis, causes and treatment, focusing primarily upon schizophrenia and depression. One topic from 6, 7 or 8 must be studied. At New Hall, we opt for Criminological Psychology due to popular student demand. Both Clinical and Criminological Psychology are studied in Year 13.
Finally, Topic 9 summarises the psychological skills and research methods covered in the qualification. These will be covered across year 12 and 13. This qualification consists of three externally examined papers and students complete all external assessments in May/June in any single year.
What students say
“The lessons are informative and interactive. We are provided with lots of in-depth and extra information regarding the specification.” – Year 12 student
“The lessons are always engaging and well explained. The packs are well structured and include everything we need to know.” – Year 12 student
“I always have a good understanding of what is going on in the lessons and I know that if I struggle with understanding anything, I can always go to Mrs Milan-Vega and ask for help if I need it.” – Year 13 student
“Lessons are always fun and engaging.” – Year 13 student
Trips, Outings and Extension Opportunities
Each year, we aim to attend academic lectures in London, run by experts in the field. So far, we have witnessed presentations by: Phillip Zimbardo, famous professor of the Stamford Prison Experiment; Elizabeth Loftus, renowned researcher in false memory and the inaccuracy of eye witness testimony; David Wilson, world-renowned criminologist, and many more.
Within school we regularly run extension opportunities such as the Glial Cells in Medicine Conference, and offer both Psychology Society and Neuroscience Club (upon Mrs Milan-Vega’s return). Furthermore, we are keen supporters of Mental Health Awareness Week and regularly contribute assemblies on topics such as the Bystander Effect.
Hands on Experience
As part of the Biological Psychology element of the A Level Psychology course, Mrs Milan-Vega’s classes dissected the brains of sheep in order to identify important structures that are found in both human and sheep brains. This enabled them to better visualise the parts of the brain that are discussed in the key research they use in their essays. Students enjoyed the hands-on experience of putting on their aprons and goggles, and identifying structures such as the two hemispheres, cerebellum and corpus callosum. With neuroscience becoming such a fast-developing field in Psychology, such an experience proved invaluable for those looking to pursue careers in Psychology, Neuroscience and Medicine.
In 2022, our students proudly achieved 24% A* grades, 58% A* to A and 84% A* to B.
Head of Department (maternity leave): Mrs Milan-Vega [email protected]
Acting Head of Department (maternity cover): Miss Roberts [email protected]
Mrs Charlotte Milan-Vega
Mrs Milan-Vega graduated from the University of Essex in 2013 with BSc Psychology and in 2022, achieved Distinction in her MSc Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health from Kings College London. She has led the department at New Hall since 2018 and has particular interest in the biological basis of our behaviour and mental health. As an examiner for Edexcel Psychology, she has vast knowledge of the specification and many years of experience teaching Edexcel Psychology. Outside of work, Mrs Milan-Vega enjoys spending time with her family and is a keen ballroom and latin dancer. She is currently on maternity leave until July 2023.
Miss Ruth Roberts
Miss Roberts graduated from the University of Portsmouth with BSc Psychology in 2013 and MSc Research Methods in Psychology, from the University of Essex, with Distinction, in 2014. She joined the department in 2022 after several years of experience in teaching Edexcel Psychology. Miss Roberts is also an examiner for the Edexcel specification. Miss Roberts is a dog-lover and has particular interests in Social and Criminological Psychology. She will be acting Head of Department for the academic year 2022 -2023.
Miss Bethany Fagan
Miss Fagan graduated from the University of Northampton with BSc Psychology and Counselling in 2016 and attained Distinction in her MSc Psychology in 2017. She joined the department in 2022 with experience in both IB and A Level teaching in Psychology, both in the UK and abroad. Miss Fagan has particular interests in Social and Cognitive Psychology alongside excellent subject knowledge in Sociology. Outside of work, Miss Fagan is a keen paddle-boarder and enjoys sewing.