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Why choose A-level Economics
Economics is part of the Business Studies department which has 6 fully qualified full time members of staff. There are about 100 students studying Economics, 4 groups in the AS year, 2 in the second year sixth. Students are taught by one member of staff over the 2 years and follow a modular course offered by OCR. There are no particular entry requirements for the course, for example it is not necessary to have studied GCSE Economics or Business Studies, so the course assumes no prior knowledge.
You may have heard the term "Economics" but may be unsure of what it means. When you read the newspapers or watch television you are presented with economic issues daily. These include issues such as motorway and urban congestion, NHS waiting lists, tropical rainforest destruction, allocation of world cup tickets, search for new energy sources and global economic problems.
The basic economic problem involves limited resources and unlimited demand for those scarce resources.
If it involves money or resources and how to use them, then it is an economic problem.
Some students choose Economics because:
- of their career intentions eg: law, accounts, banking, management, retailing
- it "goes with other subjects", it complements Geography, Politics, History, Business Studies, Sociology and Mathematics.
- they wish to start a "new" subject
It " broadens " their A level study eg: 2 sciences and Economics,
English , History and Economics
it is a well regarded subject by universities
- of an interest in current affairs
- it is interesting and challenging
The Course at GreenheadEconomics: Advanced Level, Cambridge Modular
The course is based on modules which are assessed throughout two years. The method of assessment for the modules is based on a case study, data response and essay questions.
The modules in year one could constitute an AS level whilst the addition of the second year modules leads to the complete A-level qualification.
The first year consists of the two foundation modules:1) Markets in Action - within this module there are 2 broad areas of study
a) Market Systems - this provides an introduction to why economic choices have to be made and how the markets work Within the module, issues considered would be:
- How societies decide what to produce?
- Problems of water supply
- What determines the price of a product?
- Why are nurses paid less than fashion models?
- How do firms compete against one another?
b) Market Failure and Government Intervention - this provides an overview of how markets can fail and the reasons for government intervention. Issues covered here may include:-
- Should Health care and Education be provided by the state or should the market provide them?
- Why are cities congested and polluted?
- Should drugs be legalised?
- Should monopolies like Microsoft be controlled in the consumers' interest?
- Should Blackpool have a supercasino?
- Should Heathrow have a new runway
2) The National and International Economy - this covers how the economy works, government objectives, conflicts between government objectives.Issues covered here may include:
- What causes Inflation and Unemployment?
- What are Balance of Payments difficulties?
- Why is UK growth faster/slower than other developed nations?
- Should foreign goods be taxed?
The 2 modules above constitute an AS level in Economics
The second year consist of two modules:
1) Transport Economics - Issues considered here may include:
- What determines transport demands?
- What impact has privatisation had on rail travel?
- Has deregulation of the bus and air travel market been benefitial to the consumer?
- Should food be sourced locally?
- Should new runways/airports be built?
- Should the government introduce road pricing as a solution to congestion?
2) The Global Economy - Issues considered here may include:
- What causes growth in the developed and developing countries?
- Is trade benefitial?
- Should the UK join the single currency?
- Is economic growth sustainable?
- How does globalisation affect an economy?
- What policies can promote development in the developming economies?
The course is supported by activities which go beyond the classroom. Visits have been arranged in the past to Land Rover (Halewood), Peugeot, Bass Brewery, Cains Brewery, Fazackerley Waterworks, Kelloggs, Liverpool Docks and Manchester Airport..
Students are encouraged to keep up to date with the media and to use resources such as the Economics Review, the Financial Times and the Internet.
Economics allows you to develop the whole range of Key skills: communication, application of number, IT, working with others, problem solving, and improving own learning and performance.
Your questions answered
What skills are required to do economics?: Students are expected to have an interest in current affairs, to be able to interpret data and to have a good command of English.
Is economics very mathematical?: The simple answer is no. Students are expected to interpret numerical data but this does not require a high order of mathematical ability.
What is the work like?: Emphasis is placed on students' understanding the basic concepts and varied examples are given. Students are provided with a number of short exercises which reinforce classroom teaching and their reading. Regular written assignments give students the opportunity to research their ideas and communicate their understanding in an essay format. Student participation and discussion are central to the course.
How big are the classes?: Economics is a popular subject at Greenhead. At present there are approximately 110 students in 6 teaching groups.
As a student of Economics, you would learn how to:
- Analyse problems and think critically
- Apply economic ideas
- Discuss and work together
- Use computer software
- Express informed opinions in written work.
Links with industry are also encouraged by external visits. During the past ten years, students have been on a two-day residential course to the Peugeot Car Plant in Coventry, the Rover plant at Longbridge, the Jaguar Car Plant at Coventry, and the Bass Brewery at Burton-on-Trent, and also visited Leeds/Bradford Airport. More recent visits included Land Rover/Jaguar factory [Liverpool], Liverpool docks, Hull docks, Bass brewery, Drax Power Station, Manchester Airport, Cains brewery, Robinsons brewery and a Water Treatment works (sewage to you and me!).