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Curriculum Road Map: Psychology
Curriculum Statement: Psychology


Humanities comprises four key subject areas; Geography, History, RE and Psychology. At KS3 students follow bespoke curriculums for Humanities (Geography and History combined) and RE.

Humanities at KS3 has been developed using the Edexcel KS3 scheme of work for History as a foundation, with links made to the national curriculum for Geography, ensuring all elements of the national curriculum are followed. RE at KS3 uses the Bolton Agreed Syllabus as its foundation, but has been developed to reflect the key questions faced by the students of our college.

At KS4 students study Geography (AQA), History (Edexcel), Psychology (AQA) and RE (AQA short course).  All students currently study either Geography or History as one option, and Psychology has a high uptake as another option – all are popular subjects within KS4. RE is taught to all students as part of the PSCHE curriculum within the college. Students achieve well in Humanities, and through the key links between KS3 and KS4 we will continue to challenge all students to make the best progress they can, especially those who have achieved highly in previous key stages.

At KS5, students currently have the option to study Geography (AQA) and Psychology (AQA). Students who have opted for the subjects do incredibly well in achieving the highest grades, with both subject areas scoring highly on the ALPS system for measuring progress and attainment. As a department we work with the pastoral system in the college to support our KS5 students with planning and preparing for their stages of education or work.

The Humanities department is integral in supporting the college ‘Life-skills’ process, ensuring that students are provided not just with knowledge, but also the skills that they can transfer into everyday life outside of college. We review our curriculums each year, working together as a department to share best practice, but also working with colleagues from other schools to ensure that we are providing the most supportive curriculum for our students.


Within the Humanities department, curriculum planning and development focuses on three key areas. First of all is the clear understanding of the subject content and knowledge that students should attain at the end of each key stage, and the integration of this into Schemes of Work.  Secondly, we focus on the key skills that can be developed in each key stage and how these skills are transferable to the next key stage. Thirdly, as each topic is taught, we identify a ‘big question’ that allows students to apply the knowledge and skills. These ‘big questions’ run through all the key stages and allow students to link their learning to real world skills, employment opportunities, and to make them global citizens. Furthermore, by being consistent in our approach through the key stages, this allows students to develop their memory and recall skills more efficiently.  For example, regardless of the new learning that may be taking place, students become more confident in identifying the correct processes or skills that they need to employ to make progress in their learning.

Curriculum Sequence

The curriculums for the subject areas in Humanities are designed by the lead specialist teacher for the subject. Mr Ball for Geography, Humanities and RE. Mr Ward for History and Humanities. Mrs Atkins for Psychology. Guiding ‘road-maps’ are produced for each curriculum area that provide an overview of the sequencing of topics.


In Humanities and RE at KS3 there is an understanding that these topics are not taught consistently at KS2 due to the broad scope of learning that KS2 schools can adopt. The aim is that by the end of the first term all students have a solid foundation in both subject knowledge and key skills. Humanities focuses on the local history and geography of Bolton. RE focuses on the major world religions and an ability to make comparisons and see differences.


Humanities then uses the Edexcel History KS3 framework to guide the structure of learning. As each topic has its ‘big question’ identified then the national curriculum for KS3 Geography content is used to match up linked content. For example, the study of the Elizabethan period contains a section on exploration. This is linked to the geography concept of migration. Using a recap of the Crusades and the Middle East, this region of the world is used as a case study for migration. These links are made explicit and clear to the students as learning takes place.


RE uses the Bolton Agreed Syllabus as its foundation for learning in KS3. Using the Humanities ‘road-map’ as a supporting guide, content is matched where possible to topics being taught at the same time. Students start with a broad understanding of the major world religions, and then, using Christianity, Islam and Judaism – key moral and ethical issues are understood and analysed.  Furthermore, where links to the local community can be made these are included too.


The KS3 ‘road-maps’ support the progression of students to KS4 learning. Geography and Psychology (AQA), History (Edexcel) and RE (AQA short-course) are the curriculums followed. Sequencing of content is planned to allow students to start with topics that allow further development of the key skills from KS3, and allow confidence to be developed in completing assessments.


The Humanities department follows whole school policies with respect to teaching and learning, and assessment and monitoring. A typical Humanities lesson contains the 5 P’s to guide sequencing of the lesson content. Humanities lessons incorporate where necessary, links to the school life-skills and employment/real-world opportunities. Student progress and attainment is monitored every lesson through effective, structured questioning (both written and verbal). Students regularly reflect on their learning to allow them to identify personalised targets to allow them to make further progress.

No student in Humanities is a passenger, all students expect to be questioned every lesson. All students take full pride in their work and respond positively to both structured guidance as well as independent learning. Students are aware of the success criteria for assessments and are supported and encouraged to try and exceed their agreed targets.


Through careful analysis of Humanities examination data, we have been able to identify strengths and targets with respect to both subject knowledge and examination skills. Throughout the key stages students complete regular assessments containing a mixture of question types (interleaving). For example, in a typical KS4 Geography assessment, students will complete questions that focus on data analysis, locational knowledge, essay writing and evaluative skills. In History, students will complete questions linked to source analysis, chronology, key events evaluation, and understanding of the role of key individuals.

Preparation for these questions begins at the start of Key stage 3, with additional focus on the identified target subject areas and examination skills. This changes every year, so as a department, staff review and update schemes of work on an annual basis.

Humanities follows the whole school assessment policy, with regular whole class feedback to address any key misconceptions and set review targets. This will be verbal feedback in every lesson, with written feedback following on. Termly ‘review’ assessments, linked to the development of examination skills as well as including content from throughout the key stage, support individualised target setting.

The UTC Fingerprint

The Humanities department, by its very nature, focuses on local communities and how events at different scales and different times impact on them. Through the life-skills programme, key topics and key skills are linked to real world applications. From the very start in KS3, the curriculums consolidate and then build on the learning from previous key stages. For example, in KS3 Humanities, students start by learning about the place they live, both today and in the past. In RE, students gain knowledge of world religions before focusing on the religions local to them.

At KS4, both History and Psychology contain units of work that link to the health specialism of the college, whilst in Geography, students are asked to apply engineering knowledge to provide solutions to real world issues.  This is continued and developed in KS5.


Pedagogy in Humanities allows the needs of all students to be met. Challenge is the starting part in the development of all lessons, working backwards to plan the steps that will allow all students the potential to complete the challenge.

Following the whole school teaching and learning objectives, lessons are structured using the 5 P’s with a clear Do Now task on entry to motivate the students as soon as they enter the room.

Challenge in a lesson may link to a specific examination skill that draws on a specific piece of knowledge. Through the use of short repetitive learning methods, students are able to process and store more information. Humanities staff work together to produce curriculums, schemes of work and lesson plans, with weekly meetings to review, update and improve.


Humanities follows the whole school policy on assessment and feedback. Schemes of work are designed (or adapted from linked examination board schemes) to ensure that as content is taught, students are frequently assessed to check and review understanding.

Formative assessment is applied in every lesson. From the purposeful Do Now task at the start of the lesson, through verbal feedback and learning quizzes, and concluding with a clear plenary to review learning.

Summative assessment is designed with a focus on three key areas. Firstly, has the student learnt and understood the content of the latest topic? Secondly, can the student remember content from previous topics and previous learning? Thirdly, has the student developed the skills to allow them to access all the questions and show their understanding?

Through this combination of assessments, students can be quickly identified if additional support or intervention is required. This can be through focused intervention support as well as supportive working from home tasks. Using both frequent monitoring in lessons and the termly reporting procedure, the level of success of interventions can be measured and new strategies, if required, put into place.


Humanities is taught and prepared by specialists with a genuine enthusiasm for the subjects being taught. This enthusiasm is reflected in curriculums that are designed to engage and enthuse all students, and inspire them to ask questions.

Through the use of fieldwork, educational visits and professional links, learning is taken outside beyond the classroom to further inspire students.

Through the use of the whole school feedback policy, students are able to reflect on their learning at regular intervals. This supports the progress and attainment of all students, and also allows targeted intervention to be provided if required.


Humanities is taught and prepared by specialists with a genuine enthusiasm for the subjects being taught. This enthusiasm is reflected in curriculums that are designed to engage and enthuse all students, and inspire them to ask questions.

Using fieldwork, educational visits and professional links, learning is taken outside beyond the classroom to further inspire students.

Using the whole school feedback policy, students can reflect on their learning at regular intervals. This supports the progress and attainment of all students, and allows targeted intervention to be provided if required.


The majority of lessons in Humanities are taught by specialist teachers in their subject of delivery. This also ensures that the curriculums and schemes of work have been designed by specialists. As the college expands though, temporarily there are some non-specialist staff teaching RE.

To overcome this all staff are met with regularly by the curriculum leader to ensure that they have the confidence to deliver the curriculum. The overall structure of the RE curriculums have been designed by the Head of Faculty (who has experience of teaching RE to GCSE) with the support of a specialist Head of RE from Golborne High School. Guidance has also been provided by the Bolton Schools Partnership in developing a scheme of work for the key stages.

Each subject area curriculum is designed using a whole school platform, starting with a ‘road map’ that plans out the sequence of learning and ensuring that all subjects meet the National Curriculum requirements. Each key topic is then planned in more detail using a scheme of work. These show a detailed structure of lesson-by-lesson learning, assessment, and feedback procedures, as well as links to curriculum enhancement, digital learning, and cross-curricular links.

Humanities is always striving to ensure that the learning environment for the students can be the most engaging and interesting it can be. Using the school digital policy and research led teaching and learning strategies, students in Humanities enjoy learning and this is reflected in elevated levels of student engagement. To extend learning further outside the classroom we employ a ‘meanwhile/elsewhere’ philosophy, where we ask students to use their knowledge and skills to find out about similar or contrasting examples in other places and/or other times. This supports the development of subject knowledge breadth.

© 2021 by The University Collegiate School, Bolton. 

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