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Economics AS and A Level *Fees Payable* at Cheltenham College

Course description

In a nutshell, Economics is "the pursuit of efficiency". The basic economic problem faced by all countries is how best to use their available resources to maximise the happiness of their populations.  Faced with unlimited desires but only limited resources, countries need to decide what they will produce with their resources, how they will produce these items and who will benefit from them.  Economics is the study of how countries can improve the lives of their citizens by improving the answers to these questions.

The study of Economics is divided into two areas: Macroeconomics and Microeconomics. Microeconomics looks at individual markets and industries. Pupils puzzle over questions such as:

  • What determines prices and are they correct?
  • Why do supermarkets engage in price wars and what are their effects?
  • How can we put an end to congested roads and environmental pollution?
  • Should workers be paid a minimum wage?
  • Should students pay for their higher education?

Macroeconomics looks at the economy as a whole, and so pupils study questions such as:

  • What caused the recent financial crisis and could it have been avoided?
  • Why has the single currency in Europe seemingly failed?
  • Can we ever return to full employment?
  • Does Government borrowing matter?
  • Why worry about inflation?

Economics is the study of the world around us and so students will be encouraged to find the answers to these questions, not in textbooks, but by examining what they observe in reality.

Course content

A Level Economics follows the AQA specification.

AS award - 7135

A Level award - 7136

Pupils in the Lower Sixth year study both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics.

  • In Microeconomics, pupils are required to master basic microeconomic models, which they apply to current problems and issues. Pupils explore how markets determine both the prices and quantities traded of goods and services within the economy, how they can lead to suboptimal outcomes and how the government can correct these situations. Focusing on a range of different market failures (including climate change, inequality and the effects of addiction), the overarching question that pupils face is whether or not the government should intervene and, if it should, what type of intervention it should make.
  • In Macroeconomics, pupils are required to master AD/AS analysis, which they use to explore recent and current events within the UK economy. Pupils analyse and evaluate the various macroeconomic policies that the government can use to manage the economy, and they examine the UK's recent and current experiences of economic growth, unemployment, inflation (or deflation), international trade and public debt.  Pupils are faced with questions about the wisdom of the Coalition Government's austerity measures, the economic problems in Greece and the Eurozone, and the role of the Bank of England.

These two areas of study are then developed further during the Upper Sixth year.

  • The Microeconomics course involves a more thorough exploration of individual markets. Pupils consider how individuals actually make economic decisions, exploring recent findings in Behavioural Economics about the 'irrationality' of human decision-making and its implications for the operation of markets. They also examine real-life market structures and how these structures determine the objectives and behaviours of different firms; the nature and operation of labour markets, and the important issues surrounding income distribution.
  • The Macroeconomics course takes the analysis of the Lower Sixth year to a more sophisticated level, enabling pupils to examine issues relating to the UK's macroeconomic performance in much more detail. Pupils also explore the nature and importance of the financial sector; the role of people's expectations and confidence within the economy, and the contentious debate about the effects of free trade on developed and developing countries.

In the Upper Sixth year, pupils are required to adopt a more global, and less UK-focused, perspective on all the issues that are tackled in both sides of the course.

Financial information


Please ensure that you understand that course fees will be payable before submitting your application.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Cheltenham College directly.

Last updated date: 09 December 2016
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