New Economics A level to help students understand lessons of global financial crisis

From September, A level Economics students will be required to learn about the global financial crisis for the first time.

They will learn about:

  • factors that contributed to the crisis (including moral hazard, speculation and market bubbles)
  • the role of banking regulation 
  • monetary and fiscal policy instruments, including quantitative easing
  • policy responses to the crisis, comparing and contrasting these with policy responses to the Great Depression of 1929.

Students of Pearson'€™s Edexcel syllabus will also study the use of 'national wellbeing' and '€˜national happiness' as measures of economic growth for the first time. They will compare and contrast these measures of economic performance with more traditional methods, exploring the limitations of both in comparing living standards between countries and over time.

It's vitally important that our A levels reflect the realities of the ever-changing economic world. We know that students and teachers are eager to study the biggest financial crisis to take place in our lifetimes, and it'€™s so important that tomorrow's business leaders understand and debate these key economic events.

€œWe are enormously grateful to the many teachers, academics and stakeholders from the wider economics teaching community who have helped us to put together these new qualifications. We believe they will be interesting and enriching assessments, helping students to gain a level of knowledge, understanding and skills that will provide a genuine foundation for the rest of their learning and working lives.

Mark Anderson, UK Managing Director at Pearson

Students will be required to have a broad awareness of the different schools of thought on economics, such as Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Karl Marx and John Keynes. In addition, the course will include a new section on recent economic developments, including an introduction to behavioural economics which has been hotly debated over the past decade.

Macroeconomics in the global context remains a strong theme of the syllabus, with the study of emerging and developing economies enabling students to look at economic theories and concepts in different contexts.

The specification, which has received approval from Ofqual for teaching in schools from September 2015, has been developed following careful consultation with teachers, higher education and subject experts. It has been put together according to the criteria published by the Department for Education.

This new Economics A level opens a remarkable new era in the teaching of the subject, just as more and more students are choosing to study it at sixth form. It brings in the most recent changes, including those since the crash of 2008, behavioural economics and an introduction to the role of the financial sector, and will also extend student competence in quantitative skills, without making it inaccessible to those who will not choose to go on to specialise in economics. Of course at LSE we do not favour any one examination board, and look forward to working with the innovative new programmes of all.

Dr Judith Shapiro, from the London School of Economics