The department aims to provide students with an understanding of how markets work and why they might fail and so require government intervention. This involves study of the price mechanism model and different forms of government intervention including taxation, subsidies and regulation. The department also aims to provide students with an understanding of performance indicators for the UK economy, including economic growth, employment, inflation and the balance of payments. Some emphasis is also placed on the global economy, particularly emerging markets.
Economics A-Level is an extremely popular subject which many of our students choose to go on and study at university. This includes straight economics courses and also modules on various business related degrees. We offer the Pearson Edexcel option A course which, in the first year, focuses on how markets work and the performance of the UK economy. In the second year more emphasis is applied to the behaviour of businesses and the impact of competition in an increasingly globalised world. Some 20% of assessment involves quantitative skills such as percentages, percentage change, index numbers, ratios and different types of averages. A mixture of teaching and learning styles is applied, including lectures, student-led seminars, paired work, class discussion and independent learning. Lessons often include use of the internet including the BBC news and newspaper websites. Students are expected to keep up to date with current affairs. Booklets of notes are provided for each theme in the economics course.
Extra curricular activities offered include the opportunity to participate in the Bank of England Target Two Point Zero Inflation competition. This is where students take on the role of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England and attempt to control inflation and successfully manage the economy. The competition requires students to assess the strength of the economy and weigh up the factors that influence policy decisions. They analyse UK and global economic data and how it might impact on inflation in the economy - just as the Monetary Policy Committee does each month. They must then decide if current monetary policy is appropriate or needs to be adjusted to meet the 2.0 per cent inflation target set by the Government. It involves manipulating the Bank Base interest rate and the quantity of money in the economy. A team is selected to represent the school in the national competition. We also offer the ‘Student Investor Challenge’ which involves teams of students trading with £100,000 of virtual money on the UK Stock market. This online challenge is a realistic trading competition that provides students with an insight into how the stock market actually operates.