At King Richard III College, Economics is offered at IGCSE and A Level. The subject provides a foundation for further studies in this area and is useful for students who intend to pursue a career in business or finance.
Economics is a contemporary, thought-provoking and evolving subject. It is always in the headlines, unearthing new problems and proposing new solutions. Economic decisions and events exert a significant influence over the everyday lives of everybody. Economics then, is concerned with identifying and clarifying the range of choices individuals face now and in the future due to scarce resources.
Economics is about facing difficult choices: earning income versus enjoying leisure, splurging today versus saving for tomorrow; developing new skills versus exploiting the skills you’ve got; searching for the perfect job versus settling for the one that’s available…
One of the greatest lessons of economics is that there is no single best way to resolve such choices; everything depends on circumstances; what’s right for you can be wrong for your partner.
The economist’s method is to observe behaviour closely, the better to understand other people’s goals and other people’s difficulties.
Economics is about more than just individual choices. It’s also about social choices: rewarding initiative versus promoting equality; preserving freedom versus preserving order; providing opportunities for the masses versus providing a safety net for the less fortunate. In other words, we want to ask what is right? What is just? What is fair?
KR3 believes that we all need to nurture economic awareness to be fully active citizens in a modern society. To this end we seek to encourage an interest in and enjoyment of Economics so that students better understand the world in which they live so they can participate in decision making as consumers, producers and stakeholders.
We aim to create a relaxed but productive working environment for students. By providing a varied yet balanced teaching approach that combines whole class activity with individual attention to pupils and teacher-led lessons with independent learning, it is hoped that students can fulfil their potential in the subject. The intention is:
- to provide students with good knowledge and understanding of the key principles and concepts underpinning Economics, and their applications;
- to provide students with the necessary skills to apply relevant principles to processes, institutions, problems and policy debates;
- to develop the students’ ability to communicate accurately and effectively in using knowledge and ideas in verbal, numerical, written, diagrammatic and graphical ways;
- to encourage students to think critically about the value and limitations of Economics in the real world.
Economics is available as an option subject at IGCSE and at AS and A Level to students who have achieved a minimum grade B in IGCSE Maths and Economics.
Students are provided with a range of up-to-date textbooks and other resources to assist their learning.
PREPARATION FOR SUCCESS
It is critical that pupils read widely around the subject and so the daily perusal of the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Fortune or Bloomberg is the expected minimum commitment to this principle. There is a department reading and resource list, which is continually being updated and available to students. Where appropriate, there is the use of extension material to challenge the most able and enthusiastic young economist, adding greater depth and sophistication to the topics studied.
It is expected that any pupil studying economics is confident handling mathematical formulae to produce answers that explain behaviour and response to change. Greater emphasis has been placed on the use of quantitative methods in the setting of exam papers and therefore, pupils will be expected to use a wide range of quantitative skills (in the form of tables, graphs, indexes etc.…) in their analysis. Analysis forms a large part of the pupil’s skill set needed for success in economics and the use of clearly labelled and precisely drawn diagrams is fundamental to their success in this skill.
Due to the heavy use of technical language, it is expected that the pupil’s level of written English is strong and that they have no difficulty in communicating ideas and concepts in writing. Furthermore, the ability to effectively and sympathetically evaluate different propositions and outcomes plays an increasingly important part in the successful answering of questions and is mandatory for any pupil successfully accessing grade A and above in the public examination. This last academic skill reinforces the need for strong communication skills and thus, excellent written English.
The department sets homework not only to consolidate work done in class with wider research and focused analyses but to prepare for what is coming. Tasks may range from essay-style questions to research-based investigation with a class presentation at the end of it. Reading is also set but it is expected that students do substantial wider reading and keep abreast of current affairs without direction. At A Level the student must take responsibility for their learning and research and be well prepared and organised.
RESOURCES & MATERIALS
The department has a wide variety of appropriate resources, most of which are digitised. These range from dedicated topic notes to worksheets and newspaper articles as well as more structured tasks and activities. They are continually being updated, modified, improved and extended. The department also uses documentaries and films, where appropriate, to highlight individual concepts and theories.