About the Business Studies Department
As an option subject, the Business Studies Department is small, having just two members of staff. However, the subject is a popular one at both GCSE and A level. Those students who join the GCSE course often go on to study A-level with many continuing their business education by going on to study at degree level, focusing on some aspect that they have particularly enjoyed such as Human Resource Management, Accounting and Finance and Marketing and Event Management. The department benefits from 'word of mouth' promotion from our satisfied students who frequently recommend the course to their friends when they are considering which options to choose.
The department is normally housed in room 43, which is fully equipped with laptops, printers and plasma TV. Students are encouraged to use the laptops to conduct independent research, prepare reports, accounts and presentations. As Business Studies is dynamic subject, the availability of the internet is invaluable in allowing students to access topical business reports which enhance their understanding of the subject.
Curriculum aims of the department
Our mission in the Business Studies department at St Thomas Catholic Academy is: “To provide academic Business Studies education, preparing students for the risks and challenges ahead, in a challenging, caring and supportive environment”. Aims: * To develop within students a critical understanding of organisations, the markets they serve and the process of adding value. * To make students aware that business behaviour can be studied from the perspectives of a range of stakeholders including customers, managers, creditors, owners and employees. * To help students acquire a range of skills, including decision-making and problem solving in the light of evaluation and the quantification and management of information. * To make students aware of the current structure of business and business practice, as reflected in events and issues affecting organisations in different sectors and environments, recognising that they face different degrees of competition. Overall we aim to provide a positive learning experience in which students are encouraged to bring their prior experiences to the classroom and to take part in discussion. This is achieved by conveying to the students the teachers' enthusiasm for the subject, the use of varied delivery methods and providing equal opportunities for all students to contribute. As all the classes taught in the department are examination classes, we see it as vital that we prepare students for their journey from school into employment or, for many, on to university. This is achieved by an increasing emphasis on independent learning, discussion-led learning, and continuous discussion within the department about learning.
Extra Curricular Activities and Clubs
Regular revision and intervention classes are held in year 10 and year 11 – not just during examination periods. Staff are on hand to offer one-to-one tuition when necessary. The Business Studies department also contributes to the Enhanced Curriculum Programme aimed at Gifted and Talented pupils. Additionally the department works with Stoke City Football Club, participating in a variety of initiatives such as business competitions (Design a Product and Premier League Enterprise Competition) and core programmes where students can achieve an additional qualification (Certificate in Business & Enterprise endorsed by the exam board OCR).
A-level students also have the opportunity to take part in the annual CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) Sixth Form Games. The competition involves several aspects of running a public body, including how to spend a limited amount of money in order to provide essential services to a community. The games test their financial awareness and budgeting along with strategic thinking and presentation skills. Finally, Mrs Davis is the head instructor for the Girls’ Ju-Jitsu Club, which is held on Thursdays after school in the gym. Students have the opportunity to learn some of the basics in Kaeshi Ryu Kempo Ju-Jijtsu, a Japanese martial art. This style of martial arts is considered a defensive style and typically teaches students techniques to neutralise aggressive situations.
The Edexcel GCSE course is taught in years 9-11. The GCSE is formally assessed by the following two (un-tiered) external examinations in the summer term of year 11:
* Unit 1. Introduction to small business – This examination lasts for 45 minutes and contains multiple choice questions. The paper is worth 25% of the total marks.
* Unit 3. Building a business – This examination lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes and will be a mixture of multiple-choice, data response, short-answer, extended-writing and scenario-based questions. For example, you might be given details of a business and asked a few questions based on that business. This is worth 50% of the total marks.
Additionally the students have to submit an investigation of a local business as a controlled assessment (Unit 2: Investigating small business), which is worth 25% of their final grade. For year 9 students commencing their GCSE (9-1) qualification from September 2016 they will no longer be required to complete a controlled assessment. Instead they will be formally assessed by the following external examinations in year 11: o Theme 1: Investigating Small Business, 50% of the total GCSE, 1 hour 30 minutes exam, containing multiple choice, short and extended answer (worth 90 marks). Questions will relate to the content that appears in Theme 1 and students may draw on underpinning knowledge and understanding developed through Theme 2 as appropriate. o Theme 2: Building a Business, 50% of the total GCSE, 1 hour 30 minutes exam, containing multiple choice, short and extended answer (90 marks). Questions will relate to the content that appears in Theme 2 and students may draw on underpinning knowledge and understanding developed through Theme 1 as appropriate. The course gives a wide insight into all of the major functional areas of business and the environment in which business operates, in addition to developing critical thinking and quantitative skills. It provides an excellent introduction to the issues concerning business decision making. Many students progress to A-level Business Studies from this course.
* Enterprise and entrepreneurship
* Spotting a business opportunity
* Putting ideas into practice
* Making the business effective
* Understanding external influences on businesses
* Growing a business
* Making marketing decisions
* Making operational decisions
* Making financial decisions
* Making human resources decisions
The A-level Curriculum
The AQA AS/A-level Business Studies qualification is fully recognised by UK universities for degree course entry. From September 2015 students will study the new linear A-level Business A-level, taking all their exams at the end of a two-year course. The A-level is assessed by three two hour written exams at the end of the course.
Paper 1: Multiple-choice questions, short answer and two essays.
Paper 2: Three compulsory data response questions.
Paper 3: One compulsory case study consisting of six questions.
Both the AS and A-level assess quantitative skills, making up a minimum of 10% of
the overall marks. The skills tested include ratios, averages, fractions, percentages
and calculation of profit and loss.
Year 12 students study the following topics in their first year and is the same as theAS qualification:
1. What is business?
2. Managers, leadership and decision making.
3. Decision making to improve marketing performance.
4. Decision making to improve operational performance.
5. Decision making to improve financial performance.
6. Decision making to improve human resource performance.
Stuear 13 students study strategic management; social, technological,
economic & political influences on business; along with competitive environments an
Mrs J Davis Subject Leader, BA (Hons) Business & Economics (first class); PGCE Economics and Business Education
Mr K Dudley BA (Hons) Marketing Management; PGCE
Contact Details for Additional Information
For the latest news and information from the Business Studies department follow @BusinessSTMCA on twitter
The following websites are useful for home learning support: