Business Studies will give a valuable insight into why and how businesses behave and the subject covers a diverse but related range of topics from Marketing to People, Accounting to Objectives and Production to Government Policy. It is not an easy option, largely because it is not studied until GCSE level, but the fact that it is ‘new’, interesting and relevant makes the subject very popular.
Business Studies at Rishworth
Group sizes will vary from year to year, but on average both GCSE and A Level groups are approximately 15 pupils in size.
The Department aims to foster and develop an interest in, and an understanding of, the various components in the subject as well as how they link together. Current affairs provide a great deal of useful information so keeping abreast of the news is an important aspect of the work, as is the need to carry out research and present findings.
Students are encouraged to voice their experiences and substantiate their opinions in discussion, and to develop the reasoning skills needed for the examinations.
A willingness to learn, an inquiring and considered mind, a reasonable level of basic mathematical ability as well as a genuine interest in the subject will all be useful.
GCSE Business Studies
Each and every day we are affected by the workings of business. Many pupils will ultimately be employed by businesses both large and small; some may even establish their own company. It seems appropriate, therefore, that Business Studies should be offered as a GCSE option.
The course aims to relate all aspects of the work to easily identifiable, real-world situations with which pupils will be familiar. The new AQA Specification (8132) provides the opportunity to explore real business issues and how businesses work.
Pupils are encouraged to develop an understanding of the environments within which business activity takes place, of the major groups and organisations within and outside business, of the roles and purposes of business activity in both the public and the private sectors, of competition and monopoly and of how the main types of business and commercial institutions are organised, financed, operated and marketed.
The course is divided into 6 sections:
Business in the Real World
Objectives, Entrepreneurs, Types of Business, Stakeholders, Business Planning and Location.
Influences on Business
Technology, Ethics, The Economy, Globalisation, Competition and Laws.
Production Methods, Managing Stock, Quality and Customer Service.
Organisational Structures, Recruitment, Motivation, and Training.
Market Segmentation and Research, the 4 P`s of The Marketing Mix.
Sources of Finance, Cash Flow, Costs, Revenues and Profit, Break Even, Average Rate of Return for Investment Projects, Balance Sheets, Income Statements and Ratio Analysis.
Pupils will be expected to be resourceful. There will be research and practical activities and assignments which will involve individual and group studies of local businesses and their organisation, as well as accessing information over the internet.
The course is suitable for pupils within the full ability range but a genuine interest; the ability to use technical terms accurately, a reasonable mathematical ability and the ability to write in good English are required. It is an excellent grounding for both A Level Business and A Level Economics as well as a wide range of vocational Further Educational courses.
Examination Board: AQA
Mode of Assessment:
Examination: 2 papers (2 x 1 hour and 45 minutes)
Paper 1 (50%):
Influences of Operations and HRM on Business Activity.
Paper 2 (50%):
Influences of Marketing and Finance on Business Activity.
Both exams will be at the end of Year 11.
A-Level Business Studies
Business is an interesting, relevant, useful, multi-disciplinary “here and now” subject which provides a useful insight into the varied world of business. The new exam specification enables students to engage with, explore and understand business behaviour and to develop a critical understanding of what business is and does. Students must have an interest in the news and current affairs, the confidence to approach the many numerical concepts, the ability to interpret and understand case study material, the ability to write thorough, coherent and evaluative extended responses and a willingness to engage and participate fully. A grade C in GCSE Business Studies will provide a good foundation, but is not essential.
The A-level course is organised into ten sections:
- What is business? – objectives, profit, types of business organisation, external influences on costs and demand.
- Managers, leadership and decision making – leadership styles, scientific decision making, decision trees, the importance of stakeholders.
- Decision making to improve marketing performance – marketing objectives, market research, market segmentation, price elasticity, the marketing mix.
- Decision making to improve operational performance – quality, inventory & suppliers.
- Decision making to improve financial performance – cash flow, budgeting, break-even analysis, sources of finance.
- Decision making to improve human resource performance – interpreting HR data, organisational design, motivation, improving employer-employee relations.
- Analysing the strategic position of the business – SWOT analysis, income statements, balance sheets, ratio analysis, SLEPT influences, the competitive environment, investment appraisal.
- Choosing strategic direction – markets, Ansoff’s matrix, how to compete.
- Strategic methods: how to pursue strategies – change in scale, types of growth, economies & diseconomies, innovation, internationalisation, digital technology.
- Managing strategic change – managing change, managing organisational culture, managing strategic implementation, network analysis, why strategies fail.
(The AS course covers the first six sections and is a discrete, stand-alone qualification which does not count towards the A-level).
Examination Board: AQA
Mode of assessment
The AS course is assessed with two 1 hour 30 minute examination papers:
Paper 1: Multiple choice, short answer and data response questions
Paper 2: Case study with seven or eight questions
The A-level course is assessed by three 2 hour examination papers at the end of Year 13:
Paper 1: Multiple choice, short answer and two essays
Paper 2: Three data response questions
Paper 3: Case study with six questions
Testing Quantitative Skills:
Both the AS and the A-level assess quantitative skills such as ratios, averages, fractions, percentages and the calculation of profit and loss.
Outside the Classroom
Research exercises are used to reinforce understanding of topics such as objectives, marketing, people and the impact of external factors. Keeping up with relevant business news and watching television programmes such as Dragons’ Den help to relate theory to real world examples.
There is a Business Studies ‘Drop in’ which runs one lunchtime a week and it is likely that trips and visits from outside speakers will be added to the experience over the next few years.