The Business Studies curriculum at GCSE and A-Level is broad, balanced and ambitious and will develop a range of employability and transferable skills that students can utilise in different aspects of their lives whether that be further study or the working world. We seek to nurture the individual as students will gain exposure to a range of local and national businesses to enhance and make links with the programme of study, for example, working with Three, Bank of England and The Maidenhead Rotary. We intend to nurture their creative side in developing marketing and promotional campaigns through a variety of opportunities such as: trips, visits from different businesses, independent projects, group projects and utilising other opportunities available in school such as careers day.
KS4: We follow OCR for KS4 as the exam board offers a well-rounded introduction to the subject. This qualification equips learners with the skills and confidence to explore how different business situations affect business decisions. The qualification will encourage learners to make informed choices about a wide range of further learning opportunities and career pathways as well as develop life skills that enable them to become financially and commercially aware. We intend to stay abreast of crime within the media and news and encourage our students to do the same. This is why we will use relevant and real-life examples from society, with a focus on UK and international business, drawing on the competitive nature of business in the real-world. For example, the students will participate in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style business pitch selling their own ideas and exploring the importance of effective marketing and the importance of unique selling points. Following on from this, the students will have the opportunity to further development their entrepreneurial skills by entering the Peter Jones ‘Tycoon competition’.
Year 10: We will adopt a sequential approach for the seven units of study. In the first year of the course, students will study units one to three. Unit one provides the foundation and key concepts of the course in order for them to be able to progress through the rest of the units. Furthermore, by teaching unit 2 after unit one, we are applying theoretical marketing ideas with the real-time examples as, during this period the BBC’s apprentice usually broadcasts and students can observe these theories and concepts about marketing, in action. Following on from this, the unit three has a focus on human resources where students will study the importance of business skills and acumen and how this supports the business structure. This links to the wider school opportunities at the time, as it supports the student’s preparation for their careers guidance interviews. Furthermore, they will be applying this theory through creating their own business for the Tycoon competition, so an understanding of business, finance and human resources is necessary at this time.
Year 11: In the second year of the course students will study units 4-7. The unit 4 topic of operations incorporates the knowledge of how businesses operate; this is taught at the beginning of the second year as they will have gained exposure to this at the end of their first year. This will allow them to apply the theory being taught by reflecting and evaluating on their own business idea in year 10. This then progresses to learning about the finance within a business context with students having had exposure to the importance of finance within a business after managing their own enterprise for the Tycoon competition. Students will learn about budgeting that will equip them with the skills that will benefit not only their learning but help them in the wider world and their families. In unit 6 and 7, students will explore the influences on a business and how this can affect business operations and begins to develop their critical thinking and synopticity with their previous learning. Students will develop a sense of moral and social responsibility through exploring ethical practice in business in the real world. We encourage students to read around the subject and explore key events such as the national budget and the personal and business implications.
KS5: Business studies is offered at A-Level because it engages students through topics and issues that are relevant in today’s society such as digital technology, business ethics, and globalisation. Students will develop strategic thinking and develop their knowledge and skills needed to analyse data and think critically about issues, and make informed decisions – all skills that are needed for further study and employment. We follow the AQA specification in KS5. This provider was chosen because it builds upon the content learnt at GCSE such as further developing an understanding of business operations and marketing strategies. Additionally, it allows students who have never studied Business before to access this course by building upon key concepts and providing a foundation of business knowledge in unit one and two which is then developed throughout the different aspects of the course. Unit three – six naturally progresses to the functions of a business. These units then allow all students to have the appropriate knowledge platform ready to study unit 7 – 10 which explore the strategic decision-making in business. Therefore, an understanding of business structure and functions is essential in understanding why different strategies are used in different types of business.
Year 12: Students will learn the foundation of business in units 1 and 2 and the different leadership styles that managers display. Following on from this, year 12 will be focusing on the different functional areas in business and how they align with each other. The units are taught in chronological order as the knowledge in each unit, help build and improve previous units’ work. At the end of year 12 students will be able to draw links between the different functions in a holistic approach which provide a solid foundation and platform to begin year 13.
Year 13: Students will focus on strategic decision making in businesses with a focus on businesses in the real world. Students will be able to interpret financial accounts using ratio analysis and being able to conduct investment appraisal and sensitivity analysis. The students will have the opportunity to explore ethical issues such as transfer pricing, sweat shops, money laundering and green washing. Students will then look at strategies for growing a business internationally, with a focus on China and India to ensure students gain an understanding of both national and emerging international markets. The final unit of the course will allow students to use the theory the theory that was taught in relation to management style and to develop their understanding of how to manage change in the 21st Century.