GCSE Course Structure
The course is divided into two parts – ‘Setting up a Business’ and ‘Growing as a Business’. Learners will begin their studies in Cohort 9 and have the opportunity to complete the course in two OR three years. If they choose to complete the course in two years they will be able to study towards an additional qualification or use their time to pursue their business interests.
Setting up a Business – learners discover what is involved in starting up a business. They look at ways to finance this, how they would market a new business, how they would recruit staff for a new company and the operations involved in running a new business. Learners also develop entrepreneurial skills. There is a one hour written paper at the end of the course.
Growing as a Business – learners look at ways to expand a business. They look at ways to finance an expansion, how they could implement new marketing strategies, how to improve efficiency and productivity within a business and how to manage their staff. There is a one hour written paper at the end of the course.
In addition to this, learners will be required to complete a controlled assessment based on ‘Investigating a Business’ of their choice.
There are two written examination papers, the first is worth 40% and is based on ‘Setting up a Business’. The second paper is worth 35% and is based on ‘Growing as a Business’. Both these papers will now be sat at the end of Cohort 11. A controlled piece of coursework on ‘Investigating Businesses’ will account for the remaining 25%. Learners have one attempt at this, as it is released by the exam board.
This course is for anyone who is interested in learning skills that they can use in everyday life such as managing people and budgeting. It is important that if you take this course you have an interest in ICT and enjoy working on computers as learning sessions are in ICT suites and we frequently complete business reports using ICT. Learners must be eager to learn how businesses operate and how they themselves can become successful business people. Learners will need to enjoy carrying out business-orientated research and working independently as well as completing tasks with others. It is suited to anyone who has a ‘can do’ approach to business, who is willing to work hard and take risks to achieve their best.
Each learner regularly produces key pieces of work either in the form of a written report or a presentation that demonstrates their learning and enables us to give learners fine grades for each unit they study.
These link in to their monitoring reviews as in line with the school procedure and give a clear indication of how they are achieving in Business Studies.
We encourage every learner to track their own progress in an ‘appraisal’ document. This helps them to look at what they have learnt, what they have done well, what they found challenging and what they would do differently next time. Individual targets are then set which are agreed between the teacher and the learner and will help learners continue making progress on their learning journey.
Approach to Independent Study
This course gives learners the chance to understand the dynamic environment in which business operates and appreciate the many factors which impact on business activity and business behaviour. Learners will try to gain an understanding of the issues facing UK businesses in the 21st century. Areas of business which are studied include people in business, production, marketing and enterprise and finance. We also investigate how businesses interact with their employees and the financial aspect of business operations – profits, cash flows and breaking-even. To be successful in business, learners have to be able to work well with others and in business studies learners are expected to collaborate in teams to come to solutions to the problems we pose. Independent study plays a large part in this. Tasks are designed so that learners have a choice on the business they choose to research. This research can be anything from a consumer survey, to some extra reading on a particular subject, to contacting a local business or comparing the competitions business strategies. The learners need to engage with independent study to gain the most they can out of the course.
Learning is centred largely on problem solving tasks where you will need to think about solutions to different scenarios. Learners will have to work independently and alongside others in groups and take responsibility for their learning both in and out of the classroom.
Resources to support learning
A particularly good revision/reference guide is the AQA Revision Guide. There is also a GCSE Business Studies AQA Workbook which is also available to help learners practice questions. These can be purchased via our website using parent pay.