Head of Department - Mr P Usher
Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact in Economics
Introduction to subject
Economics at St Martin’s School aims to develop students’ understanding of how the local/national/global economy works through analysing economic issues, problems and institutions that affect everyday life. Economics students are independent and resilient learners who engage readily in the process of exploring economics ideas and theories about the production and distribution of scarce resources. Through teaching both within the classroom and beyond, Economics students at St Martin’s engage with information aimed to allow them to evolve into independent economic thinkers. Our curriculum at St Martin’s goes far beyond what is taught in lessons, for whilst we want students to achieve the very best examination results possible we believe our curriculum goes beyond what is examinable.
Why is the study of Economics important?
Studying Economics provides an understanding of the ‘real world’ and helps develop the critical thinking and analytical skills that many employers and universities crave. It provides a lens with which to see the world and help interpret the fast-changing environment within which we live. We live within a time of tumultuous change, with events such as the Financial Crisis, Brexit, US/China trade wars and the energy crisis. Therefore, studying a subject that aims to understand the causes and implications on us both personally and as a society is imperative.
Economics is a well-regarded A-level and evidence suggests that it is one of the subject areas that leads to higher future earnings, especially at degree level.
How does the study of Economics develop your skills, knowledge and understanding?
Economics helps develop applied numeracy skills & the ability to interpret/infer meaning from complex data sets. The acquisition of economic concepts allows students to apply economic models & analysis to real world events. This critical and reflective view of current affairs gives students the confidence to defend their beliefs and the ability to be open-minded about the beliefs of others, approaching economic ideas with an objective but critical eye.
There is also the opportunity to further develop extended writing skills for an identified audience.
How are students assessed in Economics?
Economics is often divided into two key areas; microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics is concerned with individual markets, where markets fail (such as the overproduction of pollution or under-provision of education) and market structure (including monopolies and their regulation). Macroeconomics covers economic issues on a national and international basis such as globalisation, inflation, unemployment and government taxation & spending.
These are examined at A-level over three exam papers. There is one paper for microeconomics and one for macroeconomics. Additionally, there is a third ‘synoptic’ paper that covers both micro and macroeconomics).
What does the curriculum plan for Economics look like?
Economics is currently only studied at A-level and there is no assumption of prior knowledge (although some students may have covered elements in other subjects such as Business Studies or Geography or GCSE Economics itself). Therefore, the first module is an introduction to Economics, which is followed by studying core microeconomic & macroeconomic skills over Year 12. In preparation for the actual examination at the end of Year 13 (Edexcel Economics A), more complex micro and macroeconomic concepts are studied which build upon those covered in Year 12.
How does Economics support learning in other areas of the curriculum?
Economics is a multidisciplinary subject. There is a clear need to be numerate and deal with large amounts of data. Essay writing develops extended writing skills, important in many other subject areas.
In addition, economists often draw on historical comparisons, such as the Great Depression and there are direct links with parts of the curriculum in Business Studies & Human Geography.
Many economists like to appreciate the relationship between politics and economics and there are many discussions on which drives which. Finally, Psychology a growing area of Economics, especially with the development of Behavioural Economics.
How can students extend and deepen their knowledge in Economics ?
There is a thriving Economics Society that meets regularly. This gives opportunity for debates and discussions (both teacher and student led). Additionally, multiple students have enjoyed entering national economics competitions which have given the opportunity to broaden their study and undertake personal research in the subject. There have been opportunities to interview academics and recently, a renowned commodity trader led a seminar for us. Students also have the opportunity to contribute to the Economics Society’s journal.
Outside of school, there is the possibility of completing work experience or internships. Finally, wider reading is encouraged with a wide range of readily available sources being available.
How does Economics link to the world of work?
Economics is inextricably linked to the world of work. Much of the subject is concerned with how firms act and interact with the external environment. There is also a clear link with those who wish to enter financial markets as these are explicitly studied within the A-level curriculum. Additionally, many of the ‘soft skills’ that are valued in ‘the world of work’ are developed such as numeracy, presentation, extended writing, critical thinking, analytical skills and much more besides.
How does Economics link to the three strands of our core values?
Traditional values – treating others with respect, treating people from different cultures with respect.
Learning for the future – learning Economics equips students with valuable skills for today’s global job marketplace and explicitly involves the study of the changing world.
Outstanding personal achievement – Many students carry on with A-level Economics after GCSE and then go off to top universities or apprenticeships to continue developing their subject knowledge and skills they have developed.
THRIVE – the THRIVE agenda is promoted via classroom displays and signposting where appropriate in lessons. This can be evidenced in group-work, challenging work, self-marking, the consideration of different points of view and debates and more beyond this.
Shared Learning Intentions
Economics at St. Martin’s School aims to develop students’ understanding of how the local/national/global economy works through analysing economic issues, problems and institutions that affect everyday life. Economics students are independent and resilient learners who engage readily in the process of exploring economics ideas and theories of about the production and distribution of scarce resources.
Economics is currently taught at A-level, following the Edexcel specification. This is divided into three distinct sections; the first section is Microeconomics (Theme 1 & 3), which is concerned with how markets operate, fail and government actions to correct market failure when it occurs; the second section is macroeconomics (Theme 2 & 4) which relates to issues that effect entire countries and the world at large such as globalisation, inflation and economic growth; there is a third synoptic unit that combines both micro and macroeconomic issues.
Due to the analytical and discursive nature of economics, it is essential that key concepts and theories are revisited regularly. Therefore, there are continuous, regular opportunities for students to undertake retrieval practice. This may manifest itself as a starter activity within a lesson, verbal questioning, presentation or essay planning. Examples of retrieval practices employed in Economics are:
- Starter activities – focusing on retrieval from one, two, three weeks ago – designed as quizzes, summarising what was learnt last week, explaining what the main points of the topic were
- Encouraging students to see lessons as sequences and not stand alone
- Encouraging use of exercise books as a valuable resource in Year 11
- Providing the “Big Picture” so that they know where they are going
There are many forms of assessment employed within Economics. This may be verbal questioning, discussions, presentations or more traditional forms of written work including essay writing; consistent feedback is given to all students. All major assignments will receive written & verbal feedback and time will be allocated for a ‘DIRT’ time activity to enable students to develop and improve their answers.
It is important that students have the opportunity to develop important ‘soft skills’ and an awareness of the place of Economics within wider society. To this end, all students have opportunities to undertake activities that focus on different elements of THRIVE in their lessons. Also, there are significant super-curricular opportunities accessible to all Economics students, for example:
- A regular Economics Society that is co-run by sixth form students
- Encouragement of wider reading
- Oxbridge application & interview preparation
- The production of a school Economic Journal (Inherited Economics)
- The opportunity to work with universities
- Entering national Economics competitions
- Seminars led by guest speakers
Economics is an exceptionally popular subject at St. Martin's School. We pride ourselves on teaching an enriching curriculum that enables students to achieve academically and foster a real love for the subject. This can be seen with the high proportion of students who go on to study a related subject at university or work in the financial sector.
There is a regular Economics Society that fosters debates, guest speakers have led seminars to students, and all have the opportunity to contribute to an economics journal. Students enter a wide range of national competitions, such as Young Economist of the Year.
Every year a proportion of students apply for top Russell Group & Oxbridge Universities and are given support in their application and preparation for interviews.