Curriculum – Economics

Curriculum – Economics

Economics

The Curriculum

Curriculum Intent

Economics at Southend High School for Girls gives students a unique toolkit with which they build a deeper understanding of the world around them from their local reality to more abstract global issues.  It provides a framework for SHSG students to interrogate past events, evaluate current economic conditions and assess economic predictions, all skills that are invaluable to our students as they compete for world class career opportunities.  It is a vibrant, stimulating and ‘real time’ subject which will engage and challenge all students, whether they are new to the subject in year 12 or are building on their GCSE Economics skills learned prior to joining the SHSG Sixth Form.

The Student’s Economics Toolkit sub divides into two; one for Microeconomics and one for Macroeconomics.  Both toolkits enable students to engage with economic problems in writing (by applying theories and building arguments), through mathematical and statistical modelling and by using visual representations such as graphs and charts to communicate their ideas.  By the end of year 12 an SHSG economics student’s microeconomic journey will have taken them from the root of the fundamental economic problem (finite resources yet infinite wants!) through how markets operate to solve this problem, to being able to evaluate the actions of Government as they step in to correct the various ways in which markets fail to deliver their promise.  Environmental problems, the continual under provision of health care and education and the over consumption of high salt/high fat foods are amongst the real-world problems that can be attributed to market failure. By the end of year 13 an SHSG Economics student will have added a detailed understanding of the structure of competitive markets and how this influences the behaviour of firms, evaluating the response of Governments to the challenges that uncompetitive behaviour by firms presents.

For Macroeconomics, SHSG Economics students will start by developing the aggregate demand aggregate supply model which they then use to explore economic issues within the UK economy such as evaluating the effects of economic growth, inflation, unemployment, and international trade. They continue by considering the macroeconomic objectives of the UK Government and exploring the policy prescriptions adopted to try to achieve them.  They will contrast these with policies adopted by other governments, building an evidence base from which to make judgements about the effectiveness of the different approaches to management of national economies.  By the end of year 13 this expands to a global perspective as SHSG Economics students are challenged to understand why some economies are more economically developed than others and what strategies exist to further promote their development. The global theme continues as students ask deeper questions about the parity of global trading relationships, global inequality and poverty and a detailed investigation into the global banking and financial markets and the financial crisis of 2008.  By the end of the course SHSG Economics students will be able to discuss and articulate different perspectives on a wide range of economic and social issues, thinking evaluatively about the approaches that have been adopted and innovatively about alternative solutions.

What does it feel like to be a student in the Economics Department?

Studying economics at Southend high school for girls is as rewarding as it is challenging. Each lesson you will be faced with a new economic idea or school of thought that you will incorporate into the ever-expanding economic landscape that you will be building in your mind. You will need to draw and redraw this map, challenging and refining your thinking so that, overtime, your arguments will be rooted in the solid foundations of economic theory and honed by an understanding of real-life evidence. You will be expected to keep up to date with current economic events through reading a reputable news source and bring this knowledge into each lesson. The more connections you make across topics and economies the more value you will get from the subject (and the more successful you will be!).  You will be encouraged to ask questions about these events and work collaboratively with your peers to make sense of them to reach well-reasoned judgements.

Expectations are high from the beginning, and you will be encouraged to understand and use the technical vocabulary of the subject in all discussions.  You will sound and act as an economist from day one. Whether your future is within a global city-based investment bank, or a Global NGO working with grassroots micro finance the economic understanding that you develop will stand you in good stead.  In recent years the SHSG Economics department has prepared students for courses at Oxford and Cambridge, LSE, Nottingham and Bath Universities as well as city Apprenticeships with global institutions such as Ernst and Young, KPMG and Merryll Lynch.

To complement the course, you will attend the IEA lecture programme.  This will give you the opportunity to update your economic landscape with some of the latest thinking.  It will also bring you into contact with real life working economists and economics students from other schools. This is further extended through TED talks and visits from alumni students working in a variety of Banking and finance careers.  There is also a walking tour of the City of London which you give you a fascinating perspective into what happens behind the shiny exteriors of iconic office buildings such as the Shard and the Gherkin.

Throughout the course you will be encouraged to take part in prestigious competitions.    These include the IEA essay competition, the London Institute of Banking and Finance investor challenge and the Royal Economics Society Young Economist of the Year competition.

When you leave the subject at the end of year 13 you will have a way of seeing the world that makes you stand out from other students.  You will be able to converse in an informed way on some of the biggest challenges facing your generation. You will be able to command the use of evidence and data to support your arguments and see when others are overextending the reach of their evidence in the points that they make.  You will be able to think in abstract models about real world scenarios and will demonstrate deeply honed analytical skills that help you examine the causes and consequences of different economic phenomena.  You will also be able to see balance in situations, weighing up competing arguments and seeing different viewpoints.

A Levels (Years 12 – 13)

At Southend High School for Girls we teach a curriculum that is ambitious and takes students on a learning journey beyond the Exam Specification for Economics. The SHSG Economics curriculum is what we believe will expose and challenge students to develop a cultural capital in Economics that is the best that has been thought and said in this subject.

Our subject curriculum is carefully organised to take our students from their yr12 starting point (either having studies GCSE Economics or not) to the higher outcomes at the end of Year 13.

The Economics curriculum is planned and delivered using the intellectual framework of the classical education model, the Trivium:

  • Grammar (Knowledge and skills) knowledge, learning by heart, subject terminology, cultural capital
  • Dialectic (Enquiry and exploration) debate, question, challenge, analyse, evaluate
  • Rhetoric (Communication) essays, speeches, graphs, calculations, presentations

Pre-requisite or helpful knowledge from Year 11 GCSEs  

  • A strong command of data interpretations and presentation skills
  • A strong numerical ability including a reasonable command of algebra
  • An interest in political, historical and current economic events

Adjustments from the Pandemic for years 12-13 if applicable?

  • Additional focus in the ‘language of economics’ in year 12
  • Additional focus on examination skills and practice in yr13

The topics below have been chosen as they reflect the ambitions of the EdExcel Exam board specification, and as a Grammar school, also challenge students beyond this specification. They have been carefully sequenced in this order to build a student’s learning journey to achieve the aims of our Chemistry Economics. Along the way students are assessed and topics will be revisited in assessments to keep each stage of this learning journey alive.

Year 12

Term 1

Micro Economic Topics

1.1.1 Economics as a Social Science
1.1.2 Positive and normative economic statements
1.1.3 The economic problem
1.1.4 Production possibility frontiers
1.1.5 Specialisation and the division of labour
1.1.6 Free market economies, mixed economy and command economy
1.2.7 Price mechanism
1.2.1 Rational decision making
1.2.2 Demand
1.2.3 Supply
1.2.6 Price determination
1.2.8 Consumer and producer surplus
1.2.3 Price, income and cross elasticities of demand
1.2.5 Elasticity of supply
1.2.9 Indirect taxes and subsidies
1.2.9 Alternative views of consumer behaviour

Macro Economic Topics

2.1 Key economic measures of performance
2.4.1 National income and 2.4.2 Injections and withdrawals
2.1.1 Measures of National Income / Economic Activity
2.2.1 The characteristics and determinants of AD
2.2.2 Consumption (C)
2.2.3 Investment (I)
2.2.4 Government expenditure (G)
2.4.4 The multiplier
2.2.5 Net trade (X-M)

Assessment

  • SAQ practice tests
  • Graphical skills tests
  • Essay tests
  • Data response tests

Term 2

Micro Economic Topics

1.3.1 Types of market failure
1.3.2 Externalities
1.3.3 Public goods
1.3.4 Information gaps
1.4.1 Government intervention in markets
1.4.2 Government failure

Macro Economic Topics

2.3.1 The characteristics and determinants of AS in the short run and the long run
2.3.2 Short-run AS
2.3.3 Long-run AS
2.4.3  Equilibrium level of real national output and 2.5.2 Output gaps
2.5.2 Output gaps
2.5.3 Trade (business) cycle
2.1.2 Inflation
2.1.3 Employment and unemployment
2.1.4 Balance of payments
2.5.1 Causes of growth
2.5.4 The impact of economic growth
2.1.1 Economic growth

Assessment

  • SAQ practice tests
  • Graphical skills tests
  • Essay tests
  • Data response tests

Term 3

Micro Economic Topics

3.5.1 Demand for labour
3.5.2 Supply of labour
3.5.3 Wage determination in competitive and non-competitive markets

Macro Economic Topics

2.6.1 Possible macroeconomic objectives
2.6.4 Conflicts and trade-offs between objectives and policies 

Assessment

  • PPE Exam
  • SAQ practice tests
  • Graphical skills tests
  • Essay tests
  • Data response tests

Year 13

Term 1

Micro Economic Topics

3.1.1 Sizes and types of firms
3.1.2 Business growth
3.6.1 Government intervention
3.1.3 Demergers
3.3.2 Costs
3.3.3 Economies and diseconomies of scale
3.3.1 Revenue
3.3.4 Normal profits, supernormal profits and losses
3.2.1 Business objectives
3.4.2 Perfect competition
3.4.1 Efficiency (related to market structure)
3.2.1 Business objectives (related to market structure)
3.3.4 Short-run and long-run shut-down points: diagrammatic analysis
3.4.5 Monopoly
3.4.1 Efficiency (related to market structure)
3.3.4 Short-run and long-run shut-down points: diagrammatic analysis
3.2.1 Business objectives (related to market structure)
3.6.1 Government intervention
3.6.2 The impact of government intervention

Macro Economic Topics

4.4.1 Role of financial markets
4.4.2 Market failure in the financial sector
4.4.3 Role of central banks
4.1.1 Globalisation
4.1.3 Pattern of trade
4.1.2 Specialisation and trade
4.1.4 Terms of trade
4.1.9 International competitiveness
4.1.5 Trading blocs and the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
4.1.6 Restrictions on free trade
4.1.7 Balance of payments
4.1.8 Exchange rates
4.1.9 International competitiveness

Assessment

  • SAQ practice tests
  • Graphical skills tests
  • Essay tests
  • Data response tests

Term 2

Micro Economic Topics

3.4.4 Oligopoly
3.4.1 Efficiency (related to market structure)
3.2.1 Business objectives (related to market structure)
3.6.1 Government intervention
3.6.2 The impact of government intervention
3.4.3 Monopolistic competition
3.4.1 Efficiency
3.2.1 Business objectives (related to market structure)
3.4.6 Monopsony
3.4.1 Efficiency
3.2.1 Business objectives (related to market structure)
3.6.1 Government intervention
3.6.2 The impact of government intervention
3.4.7 Contestability
3.6.1 Government intervention
3.6.2 The impact of government intervention

Macro Economic Topics

4.2.1 Absolute and relative poverty
4.2.2 Inequality
4.3.1 Measures of development
4.3.2 Factors influencing growth and development
4.3.3 Strategies influencing growth and development
4.5.1 Public expenditure
4.5.2 Taxation
4.5.3 Public sector finances
4.5.4 Macroeconomic policies in a global context

Assessment

  • PPE1
  • SAQ practice tests
  • Graphical skills tests
  • Essay tests
  • Data response tests

Term 3

Micro Economic Topics

Revision

Macro Economic Topics

Revision

Assessment

  • PPE2
  • SAQ practice tests
  • Graphical skills tests
  • Essay tests
  • Data response tests

Achieving Outstanding Outcomes in Economics – knowing and remembering even more than what is expected in a grammar school sixth form curriculum

Our assessment practice at SHSG reflects on how successful students have been in knowing, remembering and doing more through the above topics.

To go beyond being proficient in what is expected of an Economics sixth form student they should read widely, engage in watching Ted Talks and recommended research, and learn key language and subject specific terminology.

Students should relish the challenging nature of Economics and not be afraid of making mistakes, as students will recognise that making mistakes is an opportunity for learning. Good mistakes are therefore celebrated.

To achieve Outstanding outcomes  students will regularly revisit prior learning so that knowledge can be built upon ensuring that knowledge is embedded in long term memory via this spaced repetition.

Recommended reading in Economics for Sixth Form Students (Years 12-13)

  • Financial Times or equivalent Broadsheet Newspaper
  • Economics based journal such as The Economist or New Internationalist
  • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky
  • The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford
  • 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
  • Animal Spirits by Akerlof and Shiller
  • The Armchair Economist by Steven E. Landsburg
  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nissim Nocholas Taleb
  • Todd G. Buchholz New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought
  • Charles Wheelan Naked Economics – Undressing the Dismal Science
  • Diane Coyle The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do & Why It Matters
  • Kate Raworth Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist

For the really eager!:

  • John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
  • Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
  • Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics
  • Karl Marx, Das Kapital
  • Sunstein & Thaler, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness

Useful websites, TED Talks and research for Sixth Form Students (Years 12-13)