Economics is an exciting and dynamic social science which examines how individuals, businesses, governments and societies make choices, and is used to analyse a wide range of global and topical problems.
Economics teaches you to critically analyse arguments, data, and diagrams so it is suited to pupils who possess very good diagrammatic and written skills. An interest in current affairs and the everyday world is very important for students doing this course.
We follow the OCR specification.
Staff and facilities
The department is based in the new Woodsmoor building and enjoys two well-equipped, spacious teaching rooms.
One of our teaching rooms has a suite of networked computers, enabling pupils to explore the considerable IT potential within the subject. Both classrooms have interactive whiteboards and multimedia facilities. We are a lead department in the development of the school’s online learning environment SGS Online.
There are two full-time teachers and one part-time teacher in the department. The department has grown in recent years due to a significant increase in pupil numbers at A-level. We also train and develop associate teachers in the department from a range of universities.
In markets in action we will discover how firms set prices and learn about the workings of free markets. Then we learn how markets fail covering topics such as pollution, healthcare and education, together with an examination of how governments intervene in markets to correct market failure. This part of the course demonstrates how economics is related to many elements of our day to day lives.
In Macroeconomics we learn about the recent performance of the UK economy with respect to topical issues such as the credit crunch, the great recession of 2008 to 2009, the public debt crisis and Brexit while also considering how the UK economy fits into the wider global economy. We consider the relative importance of Macroeconomic objectives and how they support or conflict with one another.
In Economics we ask questions such as:
- Should the government be cutting its spending?
- Should the government tax unhealthy foods?
- Should university students pay tuition fees of £9,000 per year?
- What should economists do about traffic congestion?
- Should commercial banks ever be allowed to go bankrupt?
Economics teaches you how to analyse and think logically. So, while it has obvious applications to business and working in the public sector, it is also a natural complement to maths and science subjects. It requires students to analyse data and manipulate diagrams so it is suited to students who can think in a logical and scientific manner. We encourage students to develop as independent learners and critical thinkers, skills essential for university and the world of work. Hence we make significant use of IT, group work, discussion, debate and research based activities in our lessons.
There are three two hour exams sat at the end of the second year of the course. The first exam focuses upon Microeconomics and the second upon Macroeconomics. The third is a synoptic paper focusing on both Micro and Macroeconomic themes.
How useful will economics be to me?
Economics is very useful for those considering a career in government, business, finance, and a wide range of professions in the public and private sector. Economics teaches you to analyse so the skills you will learn are widely respected and valued.
It is well-regarded by the most competitive universities, including Oxbridge.
Who should study economics?
As a social science, economics can be studied by students who favour either humanities, science subjects, or a combination of both. It offers maths and science students a broader academic portfolio with the same level of academic rigour. It also combines well with related humanities subjects such as geography and history. You should have good extended writing skills and be comfortable with diagrams, numeric data and logical thinking.
What will I study in Economics?
In Microeconomics we will discover how firms set prices and learn about the workings of free markets. We learn about how market failure can occur in areas such as pollution, healthcare and education, together with an examination of how governments intervene in markets to correct market failure. We also consider labour markets, topics such as inequality, and how the number of firms in a market can impact upon price and quantity sold, and the efficiencies of those firms.
In Macroeconomics we learn about major objectives such as low inflation, low unemployment and sustainable GDP. We also consider the relative advantages of disadvantages of operating with different types of exchange rate systems, and consider the role of the financial sector in detail. We explore the benefits of free trade, and the impact of protectionist policies upon an economy, businesses and consumers.
This allows pupils the chance to invest virtual money into stocks or other investment options in both the short and long term. Teams trade with others all around the country with the aim of increasing the value of their initial £100,000 investment.
In 2017 the department ran its first overseas trip to Prague; in 2018 pupils are embarking on a Study Tour to China. Such trips provide pupils with the opportunity to visit local businesses and understand how other economies operate, consider the external factors affecting the country and its businesses and enhance their knowledge of globalisation.
The department also runs extra classes either during lunchtime or after school on advanced, interesting topics that we would not normally cover on the A-level course.
We also provide support for those applying to do related courses at university, including those applying to Oxbridge.
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