Subject Team

Mr A Grant (Head of Department)

 

Economics

Department Aims

Economics addresses some of the most pressing problems and issues that society faces today, including:

  • What should be the market’s role in providing for society’s wants?
  • How can individuals, businesses and governments manage their resources effectively?
  • What are the best solutions for environmental problems such as pollution, road congestion and climate change?
  • How can we ensure that poorer countries as well as richer ones benefit from globalisation?

Economics provides students with a tool kit of concepts, ideas and techniques.  These tools allow them to critically investigate and analyse problems, evaluate information and evidence and arrive at reasoned conclusions and judgements.  The subject provides opportunities for students to communicate ideas orally and in writing and to use information and communication technology to access, interpret and analyse data.

GCSE

GCSE is unavailable

A Level

Economics
Examination Board: CCEA

What is A Level Economics about?

Economics addresses some of the most pressing problems and issues that society faces today, including:

  • What should be the market’s role in providing for society’s wants?
  • How can individuals, businesses and governments manage their resources effectively?
  • What are the best solutions for environmental problems such as pollution, road congestion and climate change?
  • How can we ensure that poorer countries as well as richer ones benefit from globalisation?

Economics provides students with a tool kit of concepts, ideas and techniques. These tools allow them to critically investigate and analyse problems, evaluate information and evidence and arrive at reasoned conclusions and judgements.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

AS Content Assessment Weighting
Unit AS 1 Markets and Market Failure

How markets work – how market forces of supply and demand interact to allocate resources.

Why markets fail – causes and consequences of market failure in provision of services such as health and education and over production of goods causing pollution.

External Examination

 

50%

 

(20 % of    A Level)

Unit AS 2 Managing the National Economy

How an economy works, macroeconomic measures such as economic growth, inflation, unemployment and balance of payments.

Using aggregate demand and aggregate supply model to analyse changes in the economy.

Evaluation of government policies aimed at dealing with the consequences of these changes.

External Examination

 

50%

 

(20% of     A Level)

A2 Content Assessment Weighting
Unit A2 1 Business Economics

The number and size of businesses, how firms compete with each other, how firms grow both organically and through mergers and takeovers.

The goals and aims of businesses, the role of competition and the government in markets

Understanding of economic behaviour in markets.

External Examination

 

30% of       A Level
Unit A2 2

Managing the economy in a global world

The significance of globalisation, international trade, the balance of payments and exchange rates.

Analysis of government finance, macroeconomic policies and the role of the financial sector in a global context.

Factors influencing growth and development of developing countries.

External Examination

 

30% of

A Level

 

Are there any particular qualities or skills I should have to study this course and to what kind of careers can it lead?

The requirements to study Economics are a grade B in Mathematics (higher level) and a grade B in English Language.  20% of all marks at A level are for quantitative skills, so a good understanding and competence in Mathematics is essential. In addition you need to have good skills of analysis, interpretation and evaluation. You should also have an interest in current affairs, as many of the topics studied are related to the news and key stories in business and the economy.

There are many careers options open to students studying Economics both at school and university. These include effectively any career in finance, business, accountancy, stock markets, human resources, management, as well as actually working as an economist.

Several former students have gone on to study Economics and related subjects at a range of universities, including Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics. In addition, several students have studied subjects such as Finance and Accounting at universities including Queen’s University Belfast.

Department News / Events

Year 14 Target 2 Point Zero

In November a team of four Year 14 Economics students Neil Reilly, Jacob McKeeman, Philip McKinley and James Nicholson competed in the Bank of England Target 2.0 schools competition Northern Ireland heat. In this competition the team took on the role of the Monetary Policy Committee in setting interest rates to meet the bank’s inflation target. They conducted thorough research and then gave a presentation before facing searching questions from representatives of the Bank of England.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and useful day and although the team did not win it was a great opportunity to apply what they study in class to the vital decisions the Bank of England make to ensure economic stability. Who knows if someday one of them may be doing this for real!

Educational Visits / Trips

Educational Visits:

Year 13 Trip to Queen’s University School of Management

In October the Year 13 Economics class travelled to Queens’ University School of Management to participate in the Sixth form Stock Market Challenge held in the fantastic Trading Room at Riddell Hall. This was a highly enjoyable day where the students worked in pairs investing in stocks and commodities to make as large a profit as possible in an on-line simulation which mirrors the real stock market. 

Year 13/14 London trip 

A number of students from Years 13 and 14 Business Studies and Economics joined with the History department for an unforgettable trip to London from 11-14 February.

Highlights included visits to the Bank of England, the Houses of Parliament, the Olympic Park (including entrance to both the Olympic Velodrome and the aquatic centre) and a guided tour around Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club to find out about the business of running a football club. In addition we joined with the historians for a night-time trip around the sights of London (or a football match at Selhurst Park to watch Crystal Palace take on Newcastle United) and a visit to the theatre to see Billy Elliott the Musical.

This was a highly enjoyable trip and a great experience for all students and staff who went.

CEIAG Links

There are many careers options open to students studying Economics both at school and university. These include effectively any career in finance, business, accountancy, stock markets, human resources, management, as well as actually working as an economist. See below for some views from former students:

Andrew Steele: Former Head Boy Andrew is currently completing a degree in Economics at Harvard in the USA. This is a report he sent last year.

Mid-way through my sophomore year- second year- I have finally declared my concentration of economics with a planned secondary focus in psychology. Despite having known that I wanted to study economics upon arrival at Harvard, the liberal arts system of education at many of colleges in the US means that you are not tied to any one subject. Consequently I have both been able to, and required to, study a wide range of academic areas. That being said, of late I have begun to really focus my study on economics alongside psychology. The amalgamation of both fields is known as behavioral economics whereby the generalized assumptions of neoclassical economics are questioned and furthered. This is a subfield I intend to explore at much greater depth over the next few years.

A- level economics provided a great starting point for me upon acceptance to Harvard. I opted to skip the introductory classes to take their intermediate counterparts and as a result I have been able to take statistics and econometrics a semester before most other economics concentrators (those studying economics).

Ultimately I would love to be an entrepreneur; however, at this point I’m still considering working in consulting or finance, particularly with VISA considerations. I hope to work in New York upon graduation; however, this is by no means set in stone. I thoroughly advise considering economics at degree level as in my opinion it is the hidden gem within universities in the UK. We all need doctors and lawyers, however, contrary to what we are conditioned to believe, their placement on a pedestal isn’t entirely accurate. After all, it isn’t through fortuity that economics is the largest undergraduate degree at Harvard.

Jennifer McElroy: Year left: 2006

  • Why did you decide to study Economics?

New subject, new challenge. Having studied all other subjects for a while, I wanted something totally different from traditional subjects and to keep my options open for university. Economics gave me an opportunity to study something that addressed current issues rather than focusing on old textbooks.

  • What were the most important things you learned over the two years?
    1. There is a social, economic and environmental cost and/or benefit to everything.
    2. Answer structure – introduction line, rule, theory, apply to question, conclusion line.
    3. Don’t forget the biscuits when it’s your turn!!
  • What did you study at university and where?

LLB -Law (Queens University Belfast)
MSc – Leadership for Sustainable Development (Queens University Belfast)

  • How useful was your study of Economics at A level been as a preparation for your degree course?

Very useful. Starting a new subject at A-Level, Economics students are faced with quite a steep learning curve to begin with. This gave me great practice for what university had in store as it is necessary to quickly absorb and process vast amounts of information within a limited timeframe, especially at the beginning of a degree course.

The format of economics classes was useful as open discussions (debates!) are encouraged which is a similar environment to the tutorial based learning that happens at university.

  • What did you do when you graduated?

Based on the state of the job market when I graduated in 2009, I decided to stay in education and study for a Master’s degree. I chose MSc Leadership for Sustainable Development as it balanced on “The Three Pillars” (society, economy and environment) and was largely policy based. I completed work placements in 3 sectors – government (Sustainable Development Commission OFMDFM, Stormont), NGO (Belfast Healthy Cities) and business (Debenhams Plc).

  • What are you doing currently?

Currently working as a Tax Associate at Deloitte LLP, one of the ‘Big 4’ companies in the financial services sector, and studying for the New York Bar Examination to qualify as an Attorney-at-Law (NY) enabling me to practice as a New York lawyer.