St Peter's School
Economics is not about having ready-made answers to economic questions; it’s about how to avoid being deceived by those in power.
- Joan Robinson, Nobel Award winning economist
The emphasis in the classroom is on developing analytical abilities, encouraging argument from different standpoints and critical examination of data. Economics proves to be a challenging and rewarding subject with a sound basis in academic study as well as the excitement of dealing with topical issues; currently over 70 pupils study Economics at AS and A2 level and career choices are considerable, as is the range of options for further study.
The A Level Economics course follows the Edexcel exam board specification in a linear approach with exams at the end of the two years. The Lower Sixth syllabus introduces the basic concepts of micro and macroeconomics. Pupils will develop their understanding of key commodity prices around the world based on demand and supply factors whilst also discussing the core methods of government intervention in failing markets. What is the appropriate level to tax products such as cigarettes or alcohol? Should education or healthcare be provided by the government through taxpayers? What should the Bank of England do with interest rates? Are further austerity cuts the way forward for UK growth? Pupils will develop their analytical and evaluative skills in answering questions such as these.
In Upper Sixth, pupils again study both microeconomics and macroeconomics. In microeconomics, the focus is on the business side of economics and markets. Discussions on key business economic concepts will be placed in the context of transport and labour markets, such as the impact of the national minimum wage, the economic impact of the London congestion charge and the nature of competition in different market structures, from the dominance of a monopolist such as Amazon, to more competitive markets. In the macroeconomic module pupils study globalisation and economic issues in the EU and beyond, with a greater emphasis placed on the economic challenges facing both developed and developing economies in the 21st century.
Pupils are required to engage in this ‘current affairs’ subject and the reading of a good quality newspaper / website is of utmost importance. Theory studied in the classroom is regularly seen on the news and pupils are required to keep an Economics scrapbook which will be used regularly in lessons. The department reading list, with all books available in the school library, is exhaustive and pupils are expected to go beyond the confines of the A Level syllabus. Trips to London to the Bank of England and the financial district are supplemented by university visits for lectures and practical visits. At the end of Lower Sixth, all pupils are given the opportunity to enter three essay competitions through the Royal Economic Society, Cambridge University and the IEA. Additionally virtually all pupils contribute an article (or more) to the department magazine, ‘Peternomics’ which is published in September each year. In recent years the quantity and quality of entrants to these opportunities of independent pupil work has been staggering. Economics and its related disciplines has been a very popular choice for Peterite undergraduates in recent years.