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  • Key Stage 4

    GCSE Business Studies

    Why study business?
    An exciting and dynamic subject, business studies relates to the real world of business and the community at large. Students are encouraged to learn from the world around them and there is also a focus on learning valuable work skills. Unless you plan to live in a cave, you will always find yourself affected by business in some way. You may have dreams of starting your own business and becoming the next Lord Sugar, or managing other people. You may want to get that dream job you’ve always wanted, or you may be content to take on any job that gives you enough money to enjoy life. You may even want to run an enterprise which helps other people. Whatever your motivation, business will affect you as a customer and employee, and maybe even a competitor one day. Therefore an introduction into the way businesses operate, how they make decisions, and how they affect you is an option worth considering.
    What areas would you study?
    BTEC business studies focuses on four main units that address several questions including:
    • What motivates people at work - is it money or other non-financial rewards such as being able to work with friends?
    • How do businesses recruit and train the right people for jobs, and what happens if they need to reduce the number of employees?
    • How do businesses attract customers and ensure that they sell more than the competition?
    • How should products be made and is there a better way to make things using new technology?
    • How do the law, the economy and society affect business?
    • How do firms ensure they make enough money to keep going using techniques such as cash flow forecasting and break even analysis?
    How do you learn?
    You cannot learn business studies by reading a book. Students are expected to be interested in the real business world and should keep up with news stories and current business issues. You will study real examples of business decisions and develop skills in researching information and presenting in a variety of different formats, from written reports to oral presentations, blogs and interviews. You will develop skills in working both individually and in groups to meet deadlines.
    How are you assessed?
    80% coursework, 20% external assessment
    Where will this take me post-16?
    Students can follow courses in business studies or economics at post-16, and apprenticeships are often available in accountancy firms, retail businesses, insurance, banking and other financial areas. Business studies or economics can be studied at university to degree level, allowing you to specialise in areas such as international business, marketing, human resources management, global finance or economic development.
  • Sixth Form

    a-level Business studies

    Examination Board: AQA

    Introduction and Structure

    A-level business studies aims to equip students with a critical understanding of organisations, the markets they serve and the strategies they use to compete in the UK and in the global economy. The course involves rigorous analysis of the internal workings and management of businesses, and detailed exploration of business decision making in a dynamic external environment characterised by risk and uncertainty. 

    What is business? The relationship between mission and objectives; the measurement and importance of profit; revenue and costs; sold traders LTDs and PLCs; limited and unlimited liability; share capital and stock markets; the external environment

    Managers, leaders and decision making. Types of and influences on management and leadership style, scientific decision making versus hunch decisions; decision trees; stakeholder mapping and relationship management

    Decision making to improve marketing. Market share and size; market mapping; types and limitations of market research; price and income elasticity of demand; segmentation, targeting and positioning; the marketing mix and the 7Ps

    Decision making to improve operational performance. Labour productivity and capacity utilization; lean production and efficiency; total quality management; Kaizen and quality assurance; just-in-time and stock control; outsourcing and supplier management

    Decision making to improve financial performance. Revenue and capital expenditure; cash flow forecasting; budgeting and break-even analysis; sources of finance

    Decision making to improve human resources performance. Training and development; organizational and job design; theories of motivation; employer-employee relations

    Analysing the strategic position of a business. SWOT and PESTLE analysis; balance sheets and ratio analysis; impact of political change; Porter’s 5 forces analysis; investment appraisal

    Choosing a strategic direction. Ansoff’s matrix and strategy; organic and external growth; mergers and acquisitions; innovation and IP

    Assessing internationalization. Off-shoring versus outsourcing; use of digital technology

    Managing strategic change. Causes of and pressures to change; organizational culture; network analysis; strategic drift


    Three two hour written examinations

    Careers and Progression

    Business studies helps you to develop a variety of employability skills such as effective communication, teamwork and critical thinking skills. Career opportunities include accounting, advertising, investment banking, corporate law, retail management, human resources, marketing, strategic buying to name a few. Business studies will provide you with the experience and skills to access good business apprenticeships as well as facilitating further study at degree level.

    Entrance Requirements

    Minimum requirement: 6 GCSEs Grades 9-4 (or equivalent), including Grade 4 or above in English and maths

    Strongly recommended: Grade 5 or above in English

    Recommended: Grade 5 or above in business studies