Economics is a new subject available for study in the 6th form. It is not offered at GCSE at Camp Hill, but this does not appear to disadvantage any student. It is a popular choice: this year, (2014-15), in particular, it has attracted 40 students at AS level. Retention rates from AS to A2 tend to be high and many continue their studies at a higher level. A number of boys read Economics at University; a few go on to the most prestigious universities, such as Oxbridge and the LSE, though most study at a Russell group University. Reading for a degree in PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) has become more popular in the last five years or so, and Accountancy and more general Business degrees are also common. Some students also apply to Accountancy firms such as PWC or KPMG for their ‘School Leaver’ Programmes, where they gain a degree as well as accountancy qualifications, and are paid whilst they are training. These students usually study Economics at A level.
Economics looks at the way in which we deal with our scarce resources and the problems we meet in trying to ensure the most efficient allocation of resources. Thus we examine at markets, inflation, unemployment and so on. It is important to have a good understanding of how the economy is run and how the topics taught relate to the wider economy. Although it is important to possess good mathematical skills (at least an A grade at GCSE), it is also necessary to be able to cope with extended writing at AS, which is then further developed at A2.
We currently follow the AQA specification and expect to continue with this when the A level provision for Economics changes next year (2015 onwards).
In Economics we follow a familiar pattern, dealing with both Micro Economics (economic theory, looking at markets in particular) and Macro Economics (deals with aggregates, and the effects upon the whole economy)
Due to the changing nature of A levels from 2015, AS has now been ‘decoupled’ from A2. In Economics, it would be possible to do a ‘stand-alone’ AS at the end of year 12 and there are two examinations.
AS Paper 1 (The operation of markets and market failure) and Paper 2 (The national economy in a global context) are tested through 20 multiple choice questions, together with one data response question. There is a choice of data question and both examinations last one hour 30 minutes.
At Advanced Level all the content delivered over the two year course has to be examined – the AS mark will no longer count towards the final A2 score. Accordingly there are three examinations. The first two cover micro and macro content, and the third paper covers all content.
A2 paper 1 (Markets and Market failure) and Paper 2 (National and International Economy), are tested in two parts. Students respond to one data response question from a choice of two, and choose one essay from a choice of three. At
A2 students are expected to be able to write at length, especially in essay answers
Paper 3 (Economics principles and issues) contains a multiple choice section worth 30 marks, together with a case study, on which questions are set requiring written answers.
Each examination at A2 carries equal weight in deciding the final grade ie each is 33.3% of the A-level. Each examination is 2 hours long. More details can be found through the AQA website, at http://www.aqa.org.uk/
Class sizes are approximately 12-15 at A2, though larger at AS with numbers between 14-20. Students will have 9 hours contact time per fortnight for the course in both AS and A2