Economics

What is Economics?

The study of Economics emphasises the importance of economic issues in a modern society and seeks to encourage an understanding of the world in which we live today and the economic forces that shape all our lives.  Economics is an excellent subject for developing personal transferable skills such as the skills of analysis, application and evaluation. It is intellectually robust and of contemporary relevance.  Employers and higher education value the content, the questioning attitudes and the skills which are acquired through studying Economics.

Why study Economics?

Fundamentally, economics is about people and the economic choices they make. At New Hall, studying economics allows our students to become better-informed consumers, producers and citizens of this world.

Studying economics enables students to develop an awareness and understanding of the economic forces that shape all our lives. Economists asks big questions about the world around us and seek answers to often complex issues. Economics is undoubtedly the most powerful social science, with economists working in key roles in government and in international organizations.

The global economy in which we live today is a highly competitive one; studying Economics will help give you that competitive advantage.

More information on why you should study economics can be found in the link below:

www.discovereconomics.ac.uk

Economics at New Hall: Why is it special?

The Economics Department at New Hall School is a vibrant department with staff and students that show a deep interest in the subject that extends well beyond the curriculum.

Firstly, as a staff, we are committed and experienced department. All staff have worked at a number of highly performing independent and selective state schools. We have a track record of academic success and show incredible passion for the subject.

Economics lessons are engaging and exciting. Students are given the opportunity to explore the subject fully and really try to move beyond the A level specification. We really see students’ study of the subject as a journey.

Our results are also outstanding.

A Level Economics Results

The department has excellent resources. For example, all students are signed up to a fantastic online learning resource called Uplearn. This learning platform was designed with neuroscience in mind concerning how students learn best and it which really helps students to deepen their subject knowledge. Surveys from past students about the use of Uplearn have been overwhelmingly positive. We have also found a very close correlation between use of Uplearn and student results. Students will also be given a subscription to the Financial Times, offered the highest quality textbooks and revision guides and will have access to a great selection of economics books and journals such as the economist through our library.

 

The department has a vibrant co-curricular life. In the past, students have been taken on a trip with the other social sciences to New York bi-annually which will hopefully run again. The students also have a well-attended weekly Economics Society run by our Economics Prefects where students are given the chance to explore their passion for the subject further. We have links with organisations such as the IEA and students regularly enter national events such as the BoE and RES essay competitions. We also run an annual trip into London for A Level Economics conferences and student workshops.

We have close links with other departments such as Politics and Business and have been involved in cross-curricular events such as the recent Economics vs Business debate. We are also looking to increase Economic awareness lower down the school so their will be opportunities for A Level students to share their love of the subject with younger students.

What subjects does Economics work well with?

Economics is an incredibly diverse subjects works well with a lot of other subjects. It is often paired with Mathematics which serves as an excellent combination. Likewise, as it is a social science, Economics also works well with other social sciences such as Psychology and the humanities subjects such as History and Geography. Many of our economics students also study subjects such as Politics, Theology and Ethics, particularly those who have the intention of studying PPE at university. It is also common for our economists to study Science subjects such as Physics, Biology and Chemistry. Please note, it is not generally advised to study Business and Economics in combination as some universities such as LSE see this combination as too narrow.

Do I need to have studied Economics at GCSE to take the subject at A Level?

No. We assume you have no prior knowledge of the subject when you begin to A Level Economics curriculum. You will begin with the very basics in Year 12 and build on this knowledge as you move through the specification.

What are the entry requirements?

Students will be required to achieve at least a strong Grade 5 in an essay-based subject and Grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics (or their equivalent).

Is there much Mathematics involved?

Whilst Economics does require some mathematics, the mathematical skills students are expected to demonstrate at A Level for Economics will be achievable for most. If students have achieved a Grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics, they should have the necessary mathematical skills required to fully access the subject. As an economics student, you will be expected to be comfortable working with numbers and interpreting data. The key quantitative skills expected of an economics student involve being comfortable with percentages and percentage change, ratios, fractions, mean and median, calculating index numbers, calculating rates of change (eg. economic growth rates) and being able to construct and interpret data in a range of graphical forms. Questions which involve quantitative skills make up approximately 20% of your overall marks on the papers.

How is the subject assessed?

The A Level is structured into four themes with three externally assessed examinations taken at the end of Year 13. Each written paper is two hours long.

The four themes are as follows:

  • Theme 1 – Introduction to markets and market failure (inc. government intervention)
  • Theme 2 – The UK economy – performance and policies (inc. growth, employment, inflation and macroeconomic policy)
  • Theme 3 – Business behaviour and the labour market (inc. business growth and market structures)
  • Theme 4 – A global perspective (inc. international economics, economic development and the financial sector)

The specification taught is Edexcel Economics A (9EC0).

Details about this specification and past examination papers can be found in the link below: https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/economics-a-2015.html

The examination papers contain a good mixture of short answer questions, data response questions and essay style questions.

Examples of Topics Taught at A Level

Microeconomics Topics

  • The Economic Problem (limited resources but unlimited wants and needs)
  • How Markets Operate (demand and supply)
  • Market Case Studies
  • Elasticity
  • Market Failure
  • Government Intervention and Government Failure
  • Growth of Firms
  • Objectives of Firms
  • Costs and Revenues
  • Market Structures
  • Labour Markets

Macroeconomic Topics

  • Measurement of Macroeconomic Performance
  • Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply
  • Economic Growth and Development
  • Inflation and Unemployment
  • Fiscal, Monetary and Supply Side Policies
  • International Trade
  • Exchange Rates
  • Protectionism
  • Inequality
  • Financial Markets
  • Central Banks

Co-Curricular Opportunities for A Level Economics Students

The Economics Department offers a wide and varied co-curricular programme. Students are encouraged to attend the weekly Economics Affairs Society where students usually guest lecture on areas of interest. There are also annual trips into London to attend the Annual Economics Student Conference and revision workshops. Students are also given a chance to go on a Business, Economics and Politics trip to New York and Washington bi-annually (circumstances permitting). Students are actively encouraged and supported to enter national economics competitions such as the Institute of Economic Affairs Budget Challenge and the Financial Times Essay Competition.

Career Opportunities in Economics

Economics is a subject highly valued amongst employers and universities alike. Average earnings and employment levels for Economics graduates are particularly high.  Its study can lead to careers in a broad range of areas such as Banking, Finance, Business, Consultancy, Law and Government Policy. Students intending to pursue a pure Economics degree at university are advised to take A Level Mathematics, although only 25% of Economics degrees require students to study A Level Mathematics.

Information on careers in Economics can be found in the link below:

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/economics

Who can I contact if I would like more information about Economics?

If you would like more information about studying Economics at New Hall, please contact our Head of Economics, Mr Hughes. Mr Hughes’ email address is g.hughes1@newhallschool.co.uk