Business Studies

Business Studies

The aim of the Business Studies department is to provide outstanding teaching of Business, Economics and Law and to develop pupils’ understanding and awareness of Business issues.

Specifically, the department aims to provide:

  • A rewarding and stimulating learning experience for students.
  • The learning and application of theory to the world of today.
  • Specific and measurable learning outcomes in preparation for the examination.
  • A broad range of transferable skills and useful knowledge in preparation for further study and/or working life.

Information about specific courses can be found on the links to the right.

The Business A-level explores the inter-related nature of the functional areas of business, such as finance and marketing. Using business models, theories and techniques you will learn to analyse and evaluate contemporary business issues and situations. The course content is designed to engage students through topics and issues that are relevant in today‘s society – you will study key contemporary developments such as digital technology, business ethics, and globalisation.

The course content is not vocational. It aims to make you think about business in a critical manner, considering both positive and negative aspects of businesses decisions and strategies.

Topic areas include

  • Managers, leadership and decision making
  • Decision making to improve marketing performance
  • Decision making to improve human resource performance
  • Analysing the strategic position of a business
  • Choosing strategic direction
  • Managing strategic change

Assessment
There are three papers at A-level, each incorporating all areas of the subject content in the specification. The question papers use a variety of assessment styles including multiple choice, short answer, data response, essay and case studies.

  • A-level Business Paper 1
    Fifteen multiple choice questions and short answer questions in two compulsory sections.
    Two essays with the choice of one from two.
  • A-level Business Paper 2
    Three multi-part data response compulsory questions.
  • A-level Business Paper 3
    Six compulsory questions based on one case study.

Careers

This course provides a sound basis for progression to further study or employment. For anyone are considering starting their own business, the marketing and finance information is invaluable; alternatively, considering management in its many forms, the knowledge of developing and measuring an effective workforce is extremely useful.

Whatever career one might be considering, the transferable skills such as an analytical approach to problem solving will always be useful.

Examination board: AQA

AS and A level Economics aims to give an insight into key issues in the news affecting everyday life. The goal is to understand the forces driving things like the price of oil, exchange rates and the level of unemployment in an economy. Students enjoy Economics because it is contemporary and rooted in the real world, but at the same time it is always closely related to a clearly explained set of economic theory that uses statistics and other quantitative methods to support and develop ideas.

The subject is split into two main sections, microeconomics and macroeconomics. Whereas macro looks at the big issues affecting the economy as a whole (unemployment, inflation, growth and so on), micro looks at a smaller scale; the pricing of individual products like oil or gold; the salaries paid to different people, and the reasons for any differences. Students also study the work of some key Economic theorists such as Friedrich Hayek, Karl Marx and Adam Smith.

The subject looks at the reasons why changes occur, and builds models to help analyse changes. Hence a student having studied Economics would understand clearly why prices of oil, copper, gold, silver and wood fluctuate. They would understand the causes of unemployment in advanced economies, and why the UK economy has been slower to recover from the global credit crunch than many others. They would understand why some countries are so much richer than others, and what can be done about it.

Taken together, micro and macroeconomics give a complete understanding of the economy as a whole that will be valuable in career terms as well as bringing an increased understanding of the news!

The A level covers the following 14 topic areas:

  • Individuals, firms, markets and market failure
  • Economic methodology and the economic problem
  • Individual economic decision making
  • Price determination in a competitive market
  • Production, costs and revenue
  • Perfect competition, imperfectly competitive markets and monopoly
  • The labour market
  • The distribution of income and wealth: poverty and inequality
  • The market mechanism, market failure and government intervention in markets

The national and international economy

  • The measurement of macroeconomic performance
  • How the macroeconomy works : the circular flow of income, AD/AS analysis, and related concepts
  • Economic performance
  • Financial markets and monetary policy
  • Fiscal policy and supply-side policies
  • The international economy

Examinations: A level 3 x 2 hour examinations
Coursework: None

We all come into contact with the law on an everyday basis. Studying the law enables people to make informed decisions about their rights and responsibilities as citizens, consumers, employees and employers. The legal system and the rules of law themselves are used to resolve disputes in an orderly way. This is true whether the legal issue concerns the protection of people, property or public order (criminal law) or where an individual (and this may include a business) wishes to take action against another party arising from a claim for loss or damage (civil law).

Year 12

  • Law Making and the Legal System. This unit is taught in two sections.
    A) Law Making: The influence of Parliament and the Judiciary upon law making, and the development of case law.
    B) The Legal System: The role of the courts in settling disputes between individuals, the individual and the State, and the legal and lay personnel involved, such as judges, barristers, solicitors, magistrates and jurors (25%).
  • The Concept of Liability. An introduction to criminal law (non fatal offences against the person), the criminal courts, criminal procedure and sentencing. Also an introduction to civil law (the tort of negligence), the civil courts, the civil process and remedies available in civil law (25%).

Year 13

  • Criminal Law: Murder, manslaughter, non fatal offences against the person, and general defences (25%).
  • Criminal Law: Theft, Robbery, Burglary, Criminal damage and Blackmail. We also study the philosophy of the law including the distinction between law and morality, the meaning of ‘justice’, the balancing of conflicting interests, ‘fault’ in law, and judicial creativity (25%).

Core Skills
The study of law is essentially about problem solving and encourages organisation and clarity in thought and speech. Students will learn to construct arguments in a logical and coherent manner. Especially valuable is the ability to be able to argue in the alternative, that is the ability to identify and articulate both sides of a problem.

Students follow the EDEXCEL syllabus for GCSE Business. The course is divided into three units:

Unit One
Unit one concentrates on the key issues and skills involved in enterprise. It provides a framework to consider the marketing, financial, human and operational issues involved in starting & running a small business. This unit is externally assessed and contributes 25% to the overall qualification.

Unit Two
Unit two is a controlled assessment & contributes 25% to the overall qualification. Students will use the content of unit 1 and research, analyse and evaluate a selected task on enterprise issues. This work is then marked & sent for external moderation by Edexcel.

Unit Three
Unit three examines how a business develops beyond the start-up phase. It focuses on practical methods used to build up a business, with an emphasis on aspects of marketing, customer service, financial & people management. It also considers the impact of the wider world on the success or failure of a business. This unit is externally assessed & contributes 50% to the overall qualification.

Economics is about forces that effect peoples’ lives – employment, prices, trade and poverty. Economics reflects current affairs and the political situation. The subject develops skills of logical analysis, research and communication as many of the ‘live’ issues affecting the global economy are debated.

The GCSE course introduces the subject via three examined units – A591: How the Market Works, A592: How the Economy Works and A593: The UK Economy and Globalisation. Units A591 and A592 are each worth 25% of the overall grade and A593 is worth the remaining 50%.

Unit A591: How the Market Works
Students are required to answer three sets of questions based upon a particular theme or case study and will include short answer, some data interpretation and extended written questions. The examination is one hour and computer based. Topics include:

The Economic Problem – investigating factors of production; scarcity, choice and opportunity cost; understanding the sectors of the economy , plus market and mixed economies; explaining the key differences between public and private enterprises; the costs and benefits of specialisation.

What are competitive markets? – understanding what markets are, how competition works and how one company can dominate a market; explain what is meant be supply and demand and construct graphical curves to explain increasing/decreasing supply or demand; how prices are determined.

How firms operate in competitive markets – indentify and calculate revenue, costs and profits; productivity, production and specialisation of labour; how firms grow and get the benefit of economies of scale; rewards of labour, wages, taxation, differentials between occupations; the minimum wage.

Unit A592: How the Economy Works
The examination is a written paper of one hour and consists of three semi-structured questions. These are based upon a particular theme or case study and will include short answer, some data interpretation and extended written questions. Topics cover:

Economic objectives of government – understand and explain government objectives; how economic growth occurs and how it is measured, plus the costs, benefits and policies; employment and unemployment, definitions, measurement and consequences of unemployment; prices and inflation, definition and measurement , explanation of government policies.

How the UK government raises and spends money – income and sources, expenditure and spending; direct and indirect taxation; distribution and redistribution of income and why wealth is unevenly distributed; correcting market failure understanding positive and negative externalities.

Which policies can the UK government use? – understanding what is meant by fiscal policy and how it impacts on the economy; monetary policy, interest rates and the impact on inflation; the application of supply side policies; the conflicts that government policies bring.

Unit A593: The UK and Globalisation
This is the longest paper at 90 minutes and the questions are based upon a pre-release stimulus material. It is a written paper with a mixture of short and extended answer questions. Topics cover:

Why countries trade – what is globalisation and the factors attributable to its growth; specialisation, why some countries specialise in certain goods; the World Trade Organisation and the promotion of free trade; UK imports and exports in relation to the EU and the rest of the world; the reasons for protectionism and methods of protection; the advantages and disadvantages of EU membership.

How is the UK’s trade recorded? – the balance of payments in the trade of goods and the current account; surpluses and deficits in trade and understanding the reasons why they occur and calculating the figures.

How important is the value of a currency? – what are exchange rates and the impact of exchange rates on trade; the influence of interest rates on the exchange rate.

How does a country become more competitive? – factors that have an influence: wages and labour costs, productivity and other costs, exchange rates; government policy in influencing international competitiveness by encouraging growth, low inflation, investment in training and education; the benefit of globalisation to the UK.

The struggle of developing countries to benefit from international trade – explaining the difference between absolute and relative poverty and policies to alleviate it; constraints such as poor infrastructure, education, health, corruption, weak government, poor exchange rate;

Measures used to support developing countries – support packages such as aid, debt relief, investment, fair trade schemes, investing in human capital.