Head of Department - Rasha Kamlah
Curriculum Map: Economics 2-Year Curriculum Map.xlsx
At its heart, the subject is about people making choices; choices that pervade every aspect of each of our lives. At Ark Acton, we want our 16–18-year-old Economics students to comprehend and explain how these choices – and on a larger scale, socioeconomic decisions – impact their lives. Economics students will leave post-16 education understanding socioeconomic responsibility and the costs associated with adhering to exclusive or prohibitive attitudes.
We want students to be able to thoroughly explore current events from a theoretical perspective and understand contemporary applications of what they study, thus allowing them to form opinions backed up by their knowledge of economic concepts. More generally, and arguably more crucially, we want students to be able to use their knowledge to make a change, either in their own lives or in the wider community.
The aim of the Economics A Level course at Ark Acton Academy is to equip students with the knowledge, skills and understanding that will be needed for progression to undergraduate study at a UK higher education establishment; particularly (although not exclusively) in the same subject area, for example economics degrees with a focus on theory, or degrees in applied economics such as environmental economics, labour economics, public sector economics or monetary economics. Even for those students who do not opt to study (economics) at a higher education establishment, A Level Economics gives them the necessary skills for a professional life to be proud of: problem-solving, communication, numeracy, commercial awareness, analysis and decision-making, to mention a few.
We teach our students about the giants of the existing world of economic thought, and they can then build on the shoulders of these giants; and this epitomises our role as educators of Economics. We equip students to navigate a world filled with economic concepts that often leave much of the population stepping unknowingly into situations they cannot conceptually understand. Once they have mastered these fundamentals, students will progress by challenging existing economic theory and stepping into the shoes of theorists themselves.
In KS3 and KS4, students will study different methods of statistical analysis in Maths, the developmental journeys countries have undertaken in History and Geography, the way individuals think in Sociology, and will debate the merit of different governmental structures in their Co-Curricular DebateMate sessions, among other things. Economics allows students to synthesise all this knowledge and apply to contemporary situations; in many ways, it is the ultimate interdisciplinary amalgamation of students’ secondary education.
The Economics A Level comprises two domains: Microeconomics (Theme 1 and 3) and Macroeconomics (Theme 2 and 4).
Theme 1 allows students to consider how markets work, looking at how supply and demand interact to allocate resources in local, national and international markets. They learn how to apply supply and demand analysis to real-world situations and be able to offer explanations of consumer behaviour. This will involve looking at both how consumers act in a rational way to maximise utility and how firms maximise profit, but also why consumers may not behave rationally. Having investigated how markets work, students will then look at market failure. They will look at the nature and causes of market failure before considering the strengths and weaknesses of possible government intervention to remedy market failures.
Theme 3 builds on Theme 1 in its microeconomic nature and introduces students to business economics. Students will examine how the number and size of market participants, and the level of contestability, affect the pricing and nature of competition among firms. Students will consider the size and growth of firms through exploring organic growth, mergers and takeovers. They will look at the reasons for demergers and why some firms tend to remain small. Students will look at the rational assumption that firms are profit maximisers and then challenge this by looking at alternative business objectives. Revenues, costs and profits are explored before linking these ideas to different market structures. Students will then be able to analyse and evaluate the pricing and output decisions of firms in different contexts and understand the role of competition in business decision making. Supply and demand analysis is specifically applied to the labour market to see how wages are determined in competitive and non-competitive markets.
Theme 2 introduces the key measures of economic performance and the main instruments of economic policy primarily in a UK context. Students will be introduced to the aggregate demand/aggregate supply model so that they can use it to analyse changes in real output and the price level. They will: examine the use of demand-side policies, supply-side policies and direct controls as means of improving an economy's performance; recognise the underlying assumptions; predict the likely impact and effectiveness of such policies; and consider these in an historical context.
Theme 4 builds on the knowledge and skills gained in Theme 2 and allows students to apply them in a global context. Students will be expected to understand the significance of globalisation, international trade, the balance of payments and exchange rates. They will examine public finance, macroeconomic policies and the role of the financial sector in a global context. Students will consider the factors influencing the growth and development of emerging and developing countries.