Business Studies is not taught in Years 7-9. However, the department has participated successfully for many years in the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Challenge competition where Year 9 students compete in an online business simulation game that replicates the real world and are taught about ethical business and sustainability issues, whilst working together to devise a suitable business idea that will benefit the local community. Other past enterprise activities offered for lower school students, include the Scholastic Book Fair (Year 7), Arete Interschool Business challenge (Year 8) and Dragons’ Den challenge for enrichment week (Year 9).
GCSE Business at KS4 (OCR Syllabus) encourages students to develop a genuine interest in how businesses achieve success, providing them with realistic learning experiences which they will carry on into later life. The syllabus explores what is important for a successful business, from the people that work within it and the product that is produced, to the way a product is launched in a market and the finance behind the profit. To maximise student engagement the department runs several high profile activities, including hosting a Dragons’ Den Event, where GCSE students demonstrate their business acumen by developing and pitching a business idea to a panel of local entrepreneurs. During the course, students will also have the opportunity to visit local businesses and observe entrepreneurship in practice, including participating in the Young Enterprise Company Programme.
Edexcel BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award in Business
During this course, pupils will explore a variety of different types of business organisation, from the large multi-national companies such as Amazon, to the small businesses owned and run by just one person. Pupils will also learn how a business manages its’ money and people, and how it markets products that people want to buy.
This BTEC course is assessed mainly through coursework and is equivalent to one GCSE. All learners will develop a range of knowledge and skills relevant to the business world and that are essential for successful performance in working life.
Investigations, case studies, coursework and presentations are a core element of the course.
The department currently offers the following vocational courses for KS4 students – Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award in Business and Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award in Travel and Tourism, both of which provide opportunities for learners to develop a range of business skills, personal qualities and attitudes essential for successful performance in working life. BTEC courses are for those students who are self-motivated, able to remain focused on an extended piece of writing and are able to work independently. They provide a longer period of time to complete tasks compared to the examination environment, with a greater focus on coursework rather than exams, but they are no less challenging academically than GCSE. After successful completion of a BTEC course, students will be able to choose whether to continue in further education by studying A-Levels or vocational subjects in the sixth form or by following other progression routes into employment.
AS and A level Business at KS5 (Edexcel Syllabus) is designed to allow students to understand how and why business decisions are made, as well as discuss their effects on different functional areas of a business such as marketing, people, finance and operations. In the second year of the course, students investigate influences on business strategy and decision-making, as well as explore business activity in a global context, including ethical and moral dimensions. Students will be studying a subject that is dynamic and ever changing, therefore they will acquire a range of important skills including critical analysis, research and communication skills, all of which are highly transferable to a range of different industries and future careers. There are business trips to Cadbury’s World and the Mini Factory in Oxford, and the department makes regular use of guest speakers and local entrepreneurs, in order to enhance the curriculum.
For a business to operate effectively, tasks must be carried out by different functional areas (or departments) such as marketing, people, finance and operations.
Theme 1 enables students to understand how businesses identify opportunities and to explore how businesses focus on developing a competitive advantage through interacting with customers. Students develop an understanding of how businesses need to adapt their marketing to operate in a dynamic business environment. This theme also considers people, exploring how businesses recruit, train, organise and motivate employees, as well as the role of enterprising individuals and leaders.
Theme 2, students develop an understanding of raising and managing finance, and measuring business performance. The theme outlines the importance of using resources efficiently within a business to ensure that goods or services can be delivered effectively and efficiently, and to a high quality. Students also consider the external influences that have an impact on businesses, including economic and legal factors.
In Year 13, students explore influences on business strategy and decision-making (Theme 3), as well as exploring business activity in a global context (Theme 4). Students learn about larger businesses and the challenges they face on both a day to day basis and in planning for the future, including the ethical and moral dimensions of global business activities.
GCSE grade 6 in Business Studies or BTEC Business level 2 Distinction if studied, and GCSE grade 5 in English Language and Mathematics are required.