A Level Economics Course

Ashbourne Economics students examine real-world situations and develop a theoretical understanding of how better decisions can be made by themselves, society and government.

Why study A level Economics?

Studying Economics will help you understand why prices fluctuate, where your taxes go, how government legislation can push people to change their spending habits (or not), why some companies dominate their market, how global or societal changes like climate change and ageing can have an impact on a country’s economy, why people fight for resources and why certain economies grow faster than others.

You will also learn how to analyse complex issues, create strategies, monitor the political climate, understand commercial incentives, problem-solve, interpret statistics and data, explain your ideas clearly and adapt quickly to changing circumstances – all highly desirable and transferable skills.

Keeping up-to-date with current affairs is essential for Economics and we expect students to read newspapers and magazines such as the Economist and watch programmes such as Newsnight as often as they can. Students must learn to articulate their ideas and distinguish between facts, bias and opinion. We also teach them how to put forward persuasive arguments and examine economic issues from multiple perspectives.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying Economics at Ashbourne and believe it has shaped me to progress into the next stage of my life.

Zack, International Management, Warwick University


Economics is an intellectually challenging subject that universities hold in high regard. The study of economics facilitates a wide range of careers across multiple sectors. Private firms such as investment banks, public sector organisations (HMRC, Bank of England, FCA and the Civil Service) and charities all recruit economists.

Ashbourne Finance Programme

The Ashbourne Finance Programme (AFP) is designed to give students the best possible chance of getting onto competitive finance, business or economics related degree courses at a top UK university. Students follow the Programme alongside their A level studies and receive expert university application guidance, attend lectures in economics and finance, participate in simulated investment challenges and visit major financial institutions in the city.  Ashbourne’s Finance Programme.

Ashbourne’s exceptionally motivated teachers give you every opportunity to perform well. The finance programme helped me decide whether it was something I wished to pursue. These combined allowed me to fully develop my exam skills and grasp the material well, thus allowing me to reach a top grade.

Ariane, Economics A*, English Literature A*, Psychology A*

Beyond A level Economics

With your excellent understanding of how economics affects your own finances, influences business success, shapes government policy and drive global markets you should be well-suited for a degree in Economics-related courses like International Relations, Law, Business, Economics or Maths. Then you could go for high flying jobs in the government forging economic policy, work at the World Bank, make predictions for economic thinktanks, shake up the stock market or attempt to regulate the finance industry. Alternatively, you may plan to set up your own business, get involved in the law, become a journalist, offer advice to non-profit organisations or become a crusader for global trade justice.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the Edexcel specification for Economics A level and AS level.

What is covered in the course?

This course covers micro-economics (how individual people and businesses behave and make decisions in relation to resource allocation and the price of goods and services) and macro-economics (the bigger picture: whole economies, entire industries and global factors).

A level students will cover themes 1–4, two of which are micro-economics and two on macro-economics. At the end of the course students will sit three examinations.

AS level students cover themes 1 and 2, one of which is based on micro-economics and another on macro-economics. At the end of the course students sit two examinations.

Theme 1: Introduction to markets and market failure
This micro-economics theme introduces you to the reality that demand and supply of goods, services and labour are affected by people’s unpredictability.

You will also discover that markets are not perfect can make societies better or worse off: certain businesses may hog the marketplace keeping the price of your software high; you may be unable to buy locally grown fruit because it is all being exported; your local hospital may not have the provision to do the operation you need, but you can buy cheap booze and cigarettes; and the fumes from the car you bought are creating pollution and affecting others’ health.

You will then examine how local organisations and governments try to correct these market ‘failures’ and question why their actions do not always succeed.

Theme 2: The UK economy – performance and policies
This macro-economics theme takes all of the individual markets put together and investigates how they affect households, businesses and government within the UK. You will need to keep up to date with current affairs issues – like unemployment, government legislation and trade relations with other countries – and examine how specific government policies aim to achieve sustainable economic growth, low and stable inflation rates and full employment.

Theme 3: Business behaviour and the labour market
Here you will examine how businesses work (micro-economics) in different markets by applying theory and crunching numbers: you will analyse the revenue, cost and profit schedules of firms and how these may or may not equate to an efficient allocation of resources. You will also take a look at ways governments attempt to protect consumers’ rights and how they encourage firms to be more efficient.

Theme 4: A global perspective
What if companies could sue governments for decisions they believe jeopardise their profits? How would this affect governments’ ability to protect people, the environment or services? Who makes international trade rules? In this macro-economic theme you will examine international trade patterns and relations, and the governing role of institutions like the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. You will also consider the (human and economic) impact of global issues such as poverty, inequality and environment and what policies governments might use to tackle these problems.

Who teaches this course?

Brendan Casey
BSc Hons, (London School of Economics); BEd, (Greenwich); Accounts, Business, Economics, (HoD)

Brendan has been instrumental in developing Ashbourne’s highly successful Economics Department. He is a long-standing member of staff and graduate of the London School of Economics. He trained as an accountant and worked in the city before completing his PGCE at the University of Greenwich. He is the author of eight A level revision books on economics and accounting.

Bruce Ng
BA Economics (University of Wisconsin, USA); PDip Education (Chinese University, Hong Kong)

Bruce is an expert in conveying abstract economic concepts and models through the use of real-world examples to help students appreciate the relevance to their lives and to foster a deeper understanding of the topics. He has many years’ teaching experience, in both Maths and Economics, and is well-equipped to engage and motivate students individually and in groups.

Reading and resources

Current affairs programme (on BBC 2) famous for rigorous cross-examination of senior political figures and news analysis.

Freakeconomics Radio
A quirky and engaging take on the economics news from Stephen J. Dubner, an author from the well-known ‘Freakeconomics’ books.

More or less
Tim Harford analyses the numbers and statistics used in the week’s political and economics debates on this BBC Radio 4 programme and asks if we can really trust them.

Current affairs programme (BBC 1) featuring interviews and investigative reports on a wide range of issues.

The Economist
Weekly ‘newspaper’ (magazine format), established in 1843, offering reports and opinion on international news, politics, business, finance, science and technology.

Weekly magazine on current affairs, world politics, arts and culture.

Financial Times
Award-winning daily newspaper covering global business, finance, economic and political news, comment and analysis.

LSE Blogs
Highly insightful short pieces written by experts from a number of fields on economics and political events, both current and historical, from the London School of Economics.

Private Eye
Weekly satirical current affairs magazine taking a poke at the establishment and exposing what’s really going on behind the scenes.

The Masters of Money
Find out how economics giants Keynes, Hayek and Marx shaped the 20th century in this short series by BBC economics editor.

Economics Made Easy
Series of debates and analyses broadcast by the BBC, including The Wealth of Nations, The Darwin Economy, Keynes vs. Hayek and What is Money?

Economics online
News, analysis, theory and comment on micro, macro, business and global economics.

Economics Help
Essays and advice on topical UK and global issues.

Ha Joon-Chang 23 things they don’t tell you about capitalism
In this contrarian book, Ha-Joon Chang challenges the biggest myths of our times and shows us his alternative economic thinking. Chang critiques a wide range of conventional thinking from the influence of the internet and globalisation.
Kate Raworth Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist
Raworth identifies seven areas where modern western economic systems have failed, from inequality to environmental damage, and offers alternatives to balance growth and sustainability.
Partha Dasgupta Economics: A very short introduction
Dasgupta describes the two contrasting lives faced by a child in Ethiopia and the USA, using economics to explain how the difference in living standards arose and what might be done to change this.
Daniel Kahneman Thinking, Fast and Slow
Kahneman (and Amos Tversky)’s groundbreaking, and Nobel Prize winning, research into human behaviour finally debunked the long-held theory that people are purely ‘rational thinkers’. Their experiments demonstrate how systematic (and unconscious) biases influence the way people think and make decisions.
Tim Harford The Undercover Economist
Economist Tim Harford uncovers the complex world of hustling (negotiation), vying and outwitting that lie behind seemingly small events we take for granted like buying a coffee to seismic transformations in national prosperity. From resource scarcity and market failures to price hiking and game theory, Harford reveals how economic forces shape our lives.
Charles Wheelan Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science
Economics stripped bare. Entertaining and easy to read dissection of everything economics providing the would-be economist with the tools to navigate and understand all the hot issues of the day.
Jeffrey D. Sachs End of Poverty
Renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs draws on more than thirty years of experience to create a roadmap to end world poverty in this influential and classic book.
Brendan Casey‘s range of A level Economics study books.
John Curran Taking the Fear out of Economics
Curran uses real world examples to enrich the economic theories and wide range of topics covered in this comprehensive textbook.


Edexcel A level Economics A
Author – Peter Smith

A-Z Economics Handbook
Author – Nancy Wall

Suggested reading:
Competitive Markets
Managing Economy
Business Efficiency
Global efficiency

A Level Menu ☰
A Level Menu ☰