Business Studies Curriculum


Edexcel GCSE Business Key topics

Introduction to Small Business
Spotting a business opportunity
Understanding customer needs
Market mapping
Analysing competitor strengths and weaknesses
Understanding the need to add value
What options exist for starting up a business

Showing enterprise    
What is enterprise?
Thinking creatively
What questions do entrepreneurs ask?
Invention and innovation
Taking calculated risk
Enterprise skills

Putting a business idea into practice   
Objectives when starting up
The qualities shown by entrepreneurs
Estimating revenue, costs and profits
Forecasting cash flows
Obtaining finance

Making start-up effective   
Customer focus
The marketing mix
The importance of limited liability
Start-up legal and tax issues
Effective on-time delivery and customer satisfaction
Recruitment, training and motivating staff

Understanding the economic context   
Market demand and supply
Impact of changes in interest rates on small businesses
Impact of changes in exchange rates
How do business cycles affect small businesses
What effect do business decisions have on stakeholders

Building a Business


  • Product trial and repeat purchase
  • Product lifecycle
  • Branding and differentiation
  • Building a successful marketing mix

Meeting Customer Needs

  • Design and research development
  • Managing Stock
  • Quality
  • Cost effective operations and competitiveness
  • Effective customer service
  • Meeting consumer protection laws

Effective Financial Management

  • How to improve cash flow
  • How to improve profit
  • Break-even charts and break-even analysis
  • Financing growth

Effective People Management

  • Organisation structure
  • Motivation theory
  • Communication
  • Remuneration

The Wider World Affecting Business

  • Ethics in business
  • Environmental issues
  • Economic issues affecting international trade
  • The impact of the government and the EU

Unit 1: Assessed through 40 multiple choice questions.
(Accounts for 25% of the overall GCSE)
Unit 2: Controlled Assessment, extended business report based on a small business.
(Accounts for 25% of the overall GCSE)
Unit 3: Case Study, extended questions based on a series of small case studies.
(Accounts for 50% of the overall GCSE)

A Level

AQA A Level Business Studies consists of five key areas of study:

  1. Marketing
  2. Leadership and decision making
  3. Finance
  4. Operations management
  5. Strategic Change

How the course is taught
Each course is normally taught by two subject teachers. A heavy emphasis is placed on student participation, presentation, research and independent learning. Independent research is particularly important in order to succeed in the extended essays required in the final paper. Guidance on suitable corporations and sources for research is provided by the Business Studies Department.

Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up to date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning.

Preparatory Work
It is recommended that all students follow the business news to gain an awareness of topical issues affecting national and multinational businesses.  All students complete summer work before entering the Lower Sixth and this provides them with an excellent introduction to the topics that we study at the start of the course.

IB Business Management (Higher & Standard Level)

Six topics are studied during the course of two years:

  1. Business Organisation and the Environment
  2. Human Resources
  3. Accounts and Finance
  4. Marketing
  5. Operations Management
  6. Business Strategy (HL Only)

How the course is taught
The course places a strong emphasis on the practical application of business concepts as students explore case studies to reinforce their understanding of theories and concepts. Students are encouraged to select a topic for internal assessment early on in order to gain an in-depth understanding of their chosen business organisation before commencing data analysis for the final project.

Case studies and research tasks are set for completion each week. Assessment focuses on the construction of arguments to support a particular business strategy, which may be presented as a short essay or presentation. Students are expected to use recommended websites and broadsheets to develop awareness of current business issues. Students are encouraged to reflect on the links between their understanding of business theory and current business practices in a critical manner.

The Extended Essay
Higher Level pupils may wish to consider Business Management as the focus for their Extended Essay. Students are free to select any topic that requires a forward-looking, problem-solving approach. In this respect, the Extended Essay is very similar to the Internal Assessment. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay. 

Preparatory Work
It is recommended that all students read an introductory business text to familiarise themselves with the key terminology before they embark on the course.  The summer period should also be used to review the business news and gain an insight into key issues affecting some of the largest corporations.