Business Studies concerns the business aspects of organisations, both large and small, and their relationship with the community, the government and the economy. This subject involves understanding how entrepreneurs use their skills to make profits (or losses!) by producing goods and services. The factors which make a business profitable and successful are explored by the use of real life case studies such as the invention of the Dyson Hoover, how and why Coca Cola developed Coke Zero and other such business examples. The world of business takes place at such a breathtaking place and consequently there are always plenty of examples to draw upon.
Pupils will be taught, in addition to the content of the course, the skills of application, analysis and evaluation. This will not only equip them to make rational judgements of businesses but will also serve as invaluable transferable skills.
At Dame Alice Owen's we offer GCSE Business Studies (Edexcel), A Level Business Studies (AQA) and A Level Applied Business (AQA). Details of each course follows.
GCSE BUSINESS STUDIES (EDEXCEL)
Year 10 topics include:
• Spotting a Business Opportunity
• Showing Enterprise
• Putting a Business Idea into Practice
• Making the Start Up Effective
• The Economic Context
Year 11 topics include:
• Meeting Customer Needs
• Financial Management
• People Management
• The Wider World
Students will be assessed through a multiple choice exam (Unit 1), a written exam (Unit 3) and a controlled assessment (Unit 2). The multiple choice exam is based on different business situations and will account for 25% of the GCSE. The controlled assessment, accounts for 25% of the GCSE and tends to be based on a small businesses known to the students. The written paper, which takes the form of structured questions based around case studies, accounts for the remaining 50% of their GCSE.
A LEVEL BUSINESS STUDIES (AQA)
At AS Level, candidates are introduced to the challenges and issues of starting a business, including financial planning.
Unit 1: Planning and Financing a Business (40% of AS / 20% of A2)
• Starting a Business - The challenges and issues of starting a business; enterprise; entrepreneurs.
• Financial Planning - Key financial concepts needed to start a business including: sources of start up finance, planning cashflow, contribution and break even.
Unit 2: Managing a Business (60% of AS / 30% of A2)
• People - Communication; motivation; recruitment; HR planning.
• Operations Management - adding value; quality; customer service;
• Finance - improving cash flow, measuring profit, improving profitability.
• Marketing and Competition- planning; 4 'P's; analysing the competitive environment.
At A2, this specification considers strategies for larger businesses and how these strategies may change according to circumstances.
Unit 3: Strategies for Success (25% of A2)
• Financial Strategies and Accounts - financial information, measuring performance, financial decisions
• Marketing Strategies - analysing markets, devising marketing strategies.
• Operations Strategies - location, R & D, improving operational efficiency
• Human Resource Strategies - workforce planning, measuring performance, adapting organisational structures, employee relations.
Unit 4: The Business Environment and Change
• External Influences - the effects of changes in the economic, political, legal, social and ethical; corporate culture; risk strategy; change management and responses of organisations.
• Leadership, Corporate Culture, Ethics - leadership styles, role of leaders in responding to change, corporate culture.
• Managing Change - planning for change, corporate strategies, managing change, decision making.
Business Studies is a very marketable A Level which will be a great foundation for any Business degree. More broadly, it will enhance students’ skills of analysis and evaluation of real life business situations which will serve them well in any degree course or job.
A LEVEL APPLIED BUSINESS (AQA)
Applied Business AS/A2 has been designed to enhance and build on the strengths of a portfolio (coursework) based approach.
The emphasis on portfolio work allows students to form knowledge and understanding of business in an active way. The fundamental philosophy of this specification is that in order to understand the nature of Applied Business, students must actively experience the business environment through links with industry, local employers, case studies and research. Assessment is designed to give credit for what candidates can do as well as what they know and understand.
Students can opt for either a Single Award (one A Level) or a Double Award (two A Levels) and the course structure is as follows:
Unit 1 Investigating Business - portfolio assessed
This includes business aims and objectives, external influences, marketing activities, teamwork and enterprise skills
Unit 2 People in Business- portfolio assessed
This includes training and development, responsibilities of employers and qualities needed by employees. Candidates will be actively involved in an interview process.
Unit 3 Financial Planning and Monitoring – externally assessed (exam)
This includes business costs, revenues, profits, cash flow forecasts and budgets.
Unit 8 Business Planning – portfolio assessed
This involves the production of a business plan for your own choice of business.
Unit 9 Marketing Strategy – portfolio assessed
This involves recommending marketing strategies and tactics for businesses using quantitative and qualitative information.
Unit 11 The Marketing Environment – externally assessed (exam)
This includes social, ethical, competitive and other external forces that may affect a business’ marketing and the strategies they may use to market more effectively.
The whole A level qualification is therefore one third examinations and two thirds portfolio work.
There is of course a great deal of cross over between the content of this course and the Business studies AS/A2 but it will suit you if you prefer to research topics based on real business practice and demonstrate your learning by carrying out real business activities. You will also need to be able to organise your own time and meet deadlines effectively and consistently.
Mr J Bird (Head of Applied Business)
Further information for current parents and students can be found on the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). Log-in via the link above, click on Departments, then Business. Parents are reminded that they share log-in and password details with their child.
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