The Economics and Business Studies Department is the largest department in the VIth Form with over half of all the senior pupils studying one or other subject in roughly equal number. There are six members in the department who all bring with them varying business and commercial experience. The department is well situated in the main Connaught block with dedicated classrooms which, in conjunction with the computer rooms, help to host a range of media which complements the delivery of these contemporary subjects.
Economics continues to be a popular subject amongst Cranleighans. Many enjoy the new challenges it offers them, while others seek to take a subject that has real relevance in today’s competitive market-place. Whatever the choice, someone who successfully completes the course will have a thorough grounding in analysing and evaluating the functions of the modern economy.
Since Economics is based around the choices made by individuals, firms, governments and ultimately society, it is an opportunity for debate. It provides the framework for argument, on such diverse subjects as poverty, health-care, footballers’ wages and the environment. The goal is to use what resources we have to make ourselves better off, and it is no coincidence that people with Economics degrees are among the best-paid graduates.
Specifically, Economics is split into two areas: microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics looks at how we should best use our scarce resources, how markets work to determine prices and output, why markets sometimes fail to work efficiently and how government should intervene to solve this market failure. Some questions we consider are:
- Will house prices keep rising?
- Is Tesco’s monopoly power a bad thing?
- Should the congestion charge be extended?
- Should the Government spend more on the NHS?
Macroeconomics involves studying the whole economy and trying to improve overall living standards. It considers how the Government should try to achieve objectives, such as raising economic growth and lowering inflation and unemployment, by altering interest rates, taxation and government spending. Macroeconomics also looks at international factors affecting the UK economy and the importance of imports and exports and the exchange rate. Some questions we consider here are:
- Should the UK join the Euro?
- How is the UK affected if the USA goes into a recession?
- Who benefits from globalisation?
The specification offered is the AQA course, which is split across two key themes:
- Individuals, firms, markets and market failure
- The national and international economy
At A2 Level these themes will be tested across three papers, which will be a combination of multiple choice, short answers and essays. There is no coursework element in either year.
Economics suits pupils who think logically and can use theories to understand how economies, markets and firms operate. It requires a clear mind and an ability to think and analyse logically. Students with a scientific/mathematical mind may benefit, as concepts and theories need to be grasped and applied. It is worth noting that whilst there is very little Maths required at A Level, universities require students applying for Economics at university to have a Maths A-Level (typically at A grade or above). Given the contemporary nature of the subject the pupils will find it essential to get into the habit of reading a quality newspaper and thus to be excited by the many issues which affect modern society. In turn they will find that they are able to use their academic work in this subject to help make informed judgments about how Economics can offer solutions to issues such as poverty, pollution, inflation, the NHS and, more broadly, how to raise the standard of living in an economy.
As a social science, halfway between arts and the sciences, Economics combines well with many other subjects at A Level. However, we do not allow pupils to take Economics if they are planning to take Business Studies, as the two subjects share some common ground.