Business Studies

Overview of the Business Studies Department

After you have left education, you are likely to find yourself working for a business. Some of you may even start up your own business. If you are interested in the way that businesses work and what to expect when you eventually begin working for a business, then a business course would be a great choice for you.

At KS4 we offer Edexcel GCSE in Business. At KS5 we offer an A-Level option and a Level 3 Diploma. Each course provides you with an opportunity to link business concepts to the real world, making business studies very relevant to you life. You will also gain valuable transferable skills such as:

  • An understanding of how organisations operate
  • Strong communication skills (oral and written)
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Logical thinking
  • Presentation and report writing skills
  • Numeracy and an understanding of how to interpret and use financial data
  • Self-motivation, initiative and effective time management
  • Project and resource management
  • A close understanding of economic fluctuations and other external changes affecting business

These skills are developed in lessons by teachers delivering a variety of different activities and challenges, which help to keep students engaged and enjoying lessons.

Extra-curricular Activities

We also offer a number of extra-curricular activities such as Young Enterprise and Mosaic Challenge. At KS4 a team of Year 10 students reached the regional final of the Airport Challenge which was organised by Young Enterprise and Leeds Bradford Airport. The purpose of this event was to create their own airline and go through the process of purchasing aircraft, selling seats and creating a new airline brand.

Another team of Year 10 students worked in partnership with the local Subway Franchise to design a new sandwich. The design was called the “Mexicana” and was produced and sold by Subway in Guiseley for a 3 week period. This enabled students to experience first-hand the process of creating a brand new product, plus the importance of considering production costs and having an exciting but appropriate promotion campaign. The students were invited to the launch of the product where they were interviewed by the local press. This was a great experience for the students as they were able to see their hard work come to fruition with their product being sold by one of the biggest fast food businesses in the country.

This year we have 3 teams of Year 12 students competing in the Young Enterprise Company Challenge. The students form their own businesses and work with mentors from other real businesses such as the DWP, and local firms. The products they are producing are scented candles, a children’s book and a job website for teenagers. The teams will present their products and business plans at the White Rose Trade Fair in January 2017. There is a regional competition and from there successful teams will qualify for the national competition in London and then a European final in Brussels, Belgium. Here they will be pitting their business idea and product against teams across Europe. The Company Challenge is a year-long commitment from students and the school. The aim is to develop the skills needed to set up and run a business venture and maybe become an entrepreneur in the future.

The Company Challenge is also done entirely outside of lessons and is a real testament to the students’ commitment to further themselves.

Whenever there is an extra-curricular business event happening we will always encourage students to take part. We see these events as a great opportunity to put their business acumen into practice. Another benefit is that future employers and university/colleges put a lot of value in young people trying new things and investing in themselves through gaining new experiences.

A business qualification can open many doors for you in the future! Careers include:

  • Banking
  • Insurance
  • Accountancy
  • Tourism
  • Marketing
  • Retailing
  • Management
  • Local and Central Government
  • Law

According to The Institute of Fiscal Studies people with an Economics degree are likely to be the second highest earners, only being out-earned by people with a degree in medicine. Someone with a Business degree will enjoy the ninth highest earnings out of a possible 17 degrees surveyed.

At KS4 we offer the Edexcel Business GCSE course. This is a very popular choice amongst Guiseley students. Throughout the two years of study you learn about a wide range of business topics which are put into context through investing real life businesses. The course is split into two themes.

Theme 1: Investigating Small Business

This theme concentrates on the key business concepts, issues and skills involved in starting and running a small business. You will explore core concepts through the lens of an entrepreneur setting up a business. You will develop an understanding of business activity such as business operations, finance, marketing and human resources, as well as the relationship between the business and the environment in which it operates.

Theme 2: Building a Business

This theme examines how a business develops beyond the start-up phase. It focuses on the key business concepts, issues and decisions used to grow a business, with emphasis on aspects of marketing, operations, finance and human resources. Theme 2 also considers the impact of the wider world on the decisions a business makes as it grows. You will be introduced to national and global business contexts and will develop an understanding of how these contexts impact business behaviour and decisions.

Method of Assessment

Theme 1: Written Exam 1hr 30min (50%)

Theme 2: Written Exam 1hr 30min (50%)

Each paper has a mix of different questions, ranging from some multiple choice questions, state, describe and explain questions and extended writing questions which are similar to essays.

How you will learn

Lessons are varied and reflect what it is like to work in a business. You will enjoy this course if you want to study a subject that is relevant to the world you live in, and to your future. This course gives you the opportunity to investigate how real businesses work and chance to make business decisions based on your findings. There are opportunities to use ICT in class and at home. There will also be opportunities to develop your knowledge and skills through school trips, guest speakers and making links with local businesses.

What support will you get?

The department has an open door policy at lunch and after school for anyone who would like additional support with homework or general class work. We also have great 6th form students who will be working as mentors to GSCE students. We hold general revision sessions after school which are very flexible and tailored to the needs of the students. There are also Masterclasses which focus on developing the highest level skills required to achieve the top grade.

At KS5 the Department currently offers two courses: Edexcel A level Economics B and OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Business. The Economics course is 100% externally examined and is more suited to someone who wants to work for a business. On the other hand, the Level 3 Business Diploma is 75% coursework based and is more suited to someone who wants to own their own business.

Edexcel A level Economics B

A level Economics and Business is a popular choice for sixth formers. No previous study of Economics or Business is required and it is a course that complements a wide variety of subject choices. This contemporary course integrates key concepts of Economics and Business in a coherent and innovative manner highlighting the inter-relationships between Economics and Business. An interest in news and current affairs will be useful.

THEME 1: Markets, Consumers and Firms

Students will see how new business ideas are developed and implemented and they will investigate the characteristics that are needed to develop and build a business. Students will study the market economy and how market forces shape how entrepreneurs meet consumer demand. They will investigate market failure and how governments try to intervene. They will also study some aspects of macroeconomics such as inflation and unemployment.

THEME 2: The Wider Economic Environment

This theme helps students explore how firms become more competitive and how they continually seek to improve efficiency. It seeks to explain how consumers react to changes in price and income. The unit then expands into an explanation of national issues such as the economic cycle and the tools the government use to manage this cycle and global issues. Students will study the cost and benefits of international trade and globalisation.

THEME 3: The Global Economy

This theme builds on some of the content in Theme 2. Students will investigate the growing economic powers of emerging markets such as China and the potential opportunities presented by Africa. Students will explore the role of multinational corporations and why firms relocate around the world. Certain aspects of the supply chain are studied as well as poverty, inequality and wage determination.

THEME 4: Making Markets Work

This theme considers the level of competition in markets and how governments try to seek improvements in the functioning of markets and the economy. It focusses on the use of regulation to control or reduce the market power of producers and increase the protection given to consumers. Students will also explore aspects of economic management such as supply side policies and demand management. Finally students explore the topic of market failure and the impact of the recent financial crisis.

The assessment comprises 3 separate written papers that covers topics from Year 12 and Year 13.

Paper 1: Written paper that covers Themes 1 and 4. Duration 2hrs. Contributes 35% of the total qualification.

Paper 2: Written paper that covers Themes 2 and 3. Duration 2hrs. Contributes 35% of the total qualification.

Paper 3: Written paper that covers Themes 1,2,3, and 4. Duration 2hrs. Contributes 30% of the total qualification.

Level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in Business

The Applied Business alternative has always been a popular choice for students wishing to study Business in the sixth form. The course provides you with an alternative route as it is a combination of external exams and coursework. This is a better option for students who are well motivated and who have proved to be at a sound academic level, but find it difficult to perform in exam conditions and learn better through project work, rather than more traditional teaching methods.

Students will study a total of 10 units:

  • The business environment (Written exam paper – 120 mins)
  • Working in business (Written exam paper – 90 mins)
  • Business decisions (Written exam paper – 90 mins)
  • Customers and communication (Internally assessment assignment)
  • Change management (Written exam paper – 90 mins)
  • Principles of project management (Internally assessed assignment)
  • Delivering a business project (Internally assessed assignment)
  • Marketing and market research (Internally assessed assignment)
  • Marketing strategy (Internally assessed assignment)
  • Marketing campaign (Internally assessed assignment)

The coursework units will involve an element of practical assessment. For example in the Customers and Communication unit, students are assessed on their verbal and non-verbal communication skills when delivering customer service. This will involve presentations and role plays. For the Marketing Campaign unit students need to be creative and develop a marking campaign for a real business. They then have to “pitch” the idea to the business owners; the quality of their pitch forms part of their final grade.