Economics at Sir Thomas Rich's School

Head of Department:Mrs Fiona Banks

What is Economics?

Central to economics are the forces of demand and supply that lead to the price mechanism allocating scarce resources in markets - this is the focus of microeconomics. Real world case studies are drawn on to illustrate economic theory in practice. However, there are cases of markets failings and we study their causes and possible policy remedies. Policy remedies are evaluated for their effectiveness.

Macroeconomics involves the study of the key measures of economic performance and the main objectives and instruments of economic policy. Students are introduce to the use of aggregate demand and aggregate supply curves to understand why demand and/or supply side policies may be seen as appropriate ways of managing an economy. Students also examine the possible impact of such policies and judge whether such policies would be successful in comparison to one another.

Students following an economics course will develop an enquiring, critical and thoughtful 'economist's mind'. They will develop an understanding of current economic issues, problems and institutions that affect everyday life. They will also learn to apply economic concepts and theories in a range of contexts and appreciate their value and limitations in explaining real world phenomena.

GCSE Economics

In studying Economics you will learn how to think from an economics perspective and gain an understanding of key economic concepts and theories. You will apply these concepts to a variety of real world issues such as the price of iPods to the wages of premiership footballers. You will also study how the government intervenes in the economy and the impact of their intervention for example minimum wage legislation.

This course is 100% examination consisting of:

Paper 1 (25%) This will consist of a mixture of low and high mark questions based on a series of case studies. This paper covers microeconomics.

Paper 2 (25%) This again consists of low and high mark questions based on a series of short scenarios. This paper covers macroeconomics.

Paper 3 (50%) This paper incorporates both micro and macroeconomic concepts and questions are based on a pre-released case study that is studied in class beforehand. Questions tend to be focused on the state of the UK economy and issues arising from globalisation.

After studying GCSE Economics you are in a very strong position to continue and study AS/A2 Economics, however, it is not a prerequisite for the A level course. Alternatively, you may wish to consider AS/A2 Business Studies that takes a broader approach in studying how businesses operate and covers such areas as marketing, production, accounts and personnel.

A Level Economics

Year 12

In studying Economics you will gain an understanding of current economic issues such as can car usage be reduced through toll roads, can the government control big business power, can the Bank of England continue to control inflation?

You will be introduced to a range of concepts and theories that are used to explain how the real world operates. Economics attempts to explain the behaviour of consumers, producers and governments.

The course is divided equally into microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics focuses on how markets operate ie the forces of demand and supply, and why markets fail, such as the failure of businesses and to account for their external costs, and how government can correct for market failure. Macroeconomics is a study of worldwide economic phenomena such as inflation and unemployment and how government can address these complex issues. This is a theoretical subject with the use of diagrams to illustrate economic theory.

Year 13

In the second year of study, microeconomic and macroeconomic themes continue to be studied.

In microeconomics, the labour market is analysed, covering issues such as the minimum wage, unemployment, discrimination and income inequality. It also analyses the leisure industry in terms of market structures and uses case studies such as TV broadcasting and spectator sports. This unit is split into four main areas of study:

  • Trends in employment and earnings in the UK
  • Market structures and competitive behaviour in leisure markets
  • Labour demand, supply and wage determination
  • Labour market failure and role of government and trade unions in the labour market

In the other , you will examine, in more detail, the macroeconomic performance of the UK economy and policy issues for the current government. The module also examines the impact of globalisation and the growth of trading blocs, especially the EU.It also analyses policies to promote economic growth of underdeveloped nations with a particular emphasis on sustainable development. This unit is also split into four discrete topic areas

  • Macroeconomic performance
  • Trade and integration
  • Development and sustainability
  • The economics of globalisation

Skills developed in studying A Level Economics

  • Analysis and interpretation of data
  • Assessing different theories
  • Analysing and evaluating different viewpoint
  • Applying concepts to the real world
  • Presenting constructed arguments
  • Evaluating different approaches to solving economic problems

Assessment

This course is 100% examination with three examinations at the end of the second year.

Component 1, Microeconomics, covers the basic economic problem, how a market economy works, the theory of demand and supply, market failure and government correction of market failure. Component 2, Macroeconomics, covers economic policy objectives indicators of macroeconomic performance, aggregate demand and supply analysis, fiscal, monetary and supply-side policies.

Components 1 and 2 are assessed through a compulsory data response question and two essays (each essay has a choice of two questions).

Component 3 is a synoptic unit and draws on the content of Components 1 and 2. This is assessed through 15 multiple-choice questions, a compulsory data response question and one essay from a choice of two questions.

AS Entry Requirements

Whilst GCSE Economics is NOT required to follow this course, students who have studied Economics at GCSE Level will be expected to have achieved at least a B grade. Students would benefit from being comfortable with their use of numeracy and to this end a B grade in GCSE Maths is expected

Life beyond A-Level Economics

You may wish to pursue a degree course in Economics or a specific area of the subject that you have enjoyed such as Development Economics. Alternatively, you may wish to study a related subject as business management, marketing, accounting, law, politics and land management. Alternatively, you may wish to study a combined course of which popular courses include PPE and Economics with a Modern Language.

Instead of further education you may decide to join the workforce and many employers will welcome the fact that you have knowledge of economics. Suitable careers may be found in banking, law, retail management, accountancy and economic analysis.