‘The economy’ is undoubtedly one of the most talked about topics of the 21st century. Whilst many traditional economic models have now been deemed redundant, it can be argued that the study of Economics has never been more important. The Economics Department caters for all pupils with a keen interest in the economy and market trends. Whilst it is a demanding A Level subject, those with a good work ethic invariably find the subject accessible, interesting and fulfilling. As well as improving subject-specific knowledge, studying Economics develops overarching skills with are helpful in many aspects of life, such as the development of logical thought processes.
The Economics Department is located on the ground floor of the listed Stableyard area of the College campus. All lessons take place in the dedicated Economics classroom. Course content is invariably delivered interactively, with pupils making use of their own mobile devices to assist learning. The classroom features a data projector and various visual learning resources. Pupils can bring their laptops into the classroom but also have access to shared IT facilities.
The academic course provides plenty of opportunities for wider reading, which can expand subject knowledge and be used to support UCAS applications. Economics students also enjoy debating topical issues.
Pupils interested in setting up their own companies enjoy entering the Young Enterprise competition. Recent Shiplake teams have made significant progress, with the 2013-2014 cohort winning multiple awards at the regional finals.
Economics is available to Sixth Form pupils as an optional A Level subject. Shiplake does not offer the subject at GCSE, and it is not necessary for Year 12 joiners to have had any previous experience. A good ability in Mathematics, however, is important. The subject suits individuals who are logical and methodical with good analytical skills.
Two units are studied in each year of the A Level course. In Year 12, pupils are introduced to the nature of Economics and how competitive markets function. The second AS unit explores the key measures of economic performance and the objectives of economic policy. Pupils become able to predict the possible impacts of such policies and plot the effects on supply and demand graphs.
Teaching in Year 13 largely builds upon the content of AS units. Firstly, pupils examine how the pricing and nature of competition between firms varies between different markets. The final unit looks to apply all knowledge and skills gained in a global context. This requires application, analysis and evaluation of economic models as well as assessment of methods which might be used to counteract economic problems.
Each unit is assessed with a separate examination, consisting of supported multiple-choice, data response and essay style questions. Economics is an excellent subject to study either for accessing related degrees at university or for keeping options open. It is a highly respected A Level, particularly relevant for those interested in entering business or finance-related industries.