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Business Studies

Intent at KS4

The guiding principles behind Business Studies are to give all our pupils an understanding of the key economic and business issues that individuals and organisations face in an ever-changing world.  We want our pupils to gain strong subject knowledge, understand and apply key exam skills and have the necessary skills for future employment or further study.

Business Studies is a mixed ability option and high expectations are fundamental to the department.  All pupils should be appropriately challenged irrespective of their ability, with differentiation through a pupil centred approach with a variety of appropriate activities.

We aim to create lessons that encourage pupils to engage with the business world, while ensuring the curriculum covers the breadth and depth of knowledge required to do this academically.  We will ensure breadth and depth by studying six different key aspects of business behaviour.  Pupils should be enthused by expertise, enthusiasm and a variety of teaching strategies.

We aim to instil skills and knowledge that will help pupils in further education and work, through learning directly about how businesses operate and practising key entrepreneurial skills in several contexts.  They will learn how to be effective communicators in both written work and through presentations.  Our course meets the needs of our pupils through an engaging and challenging curriculum.  The course is reviewed annually through the analysis of results. 


The GCSE programme of study begins in year 10 and is organised to develop key skills and understanding of Business Studies,  both theoretically and practically.  The subject content is taught in modules in the following order.

  • Unit 3.1 Business in the Real World - Year 10 
  • Unit 3.4 Human Resources - Year 10
  • Unit 3.3 Operations - Year 10
  • Unit 3.5 Marketing - Year 11
  • Unit 3.6 Finance - Year 11
  • Unit 3.2 Influences on business - Year 11

Pupils are assessed across topics, initially and then at the end of units.  There are both formative and summative assessments.  The assessments are of a similar format to and use similar questions to the final exam.  The same assessment objectives are used so that pupils understand the types of questions they can expect on their final exam.  This allows opportunities to practise and revisit the same skills, but in different contexts.  Early assessments will be structured and use walking and talking exams, with less structure given into year 11.

The assessments throughout the course introduce both the factual content of the GCSE syllabus and key assessment objectives from the specification.  Pupils will apply their knowledge and understanding to business decision making including:

  • The interdependent nature of business activity, influences on business, business operations, finance, marketing and human resources, and how these interdependencies underpin business decision making
  • How different business contexts affect business decisions
  • The use and limitation of quantitative and qualitative data in making business decisions

Business Studies requires pupils to draw on the knowledge and understanding to:

  • Use business terminology to identify and explain business activity
  • Apply business contexts to familiar and unfamiliar contexts
  • Develop problem solving and decision making skills relevant to business
  • Investigate, analyse and evaluate business opportunities and issues
  • Make justified decisions using both qualitative and quantitative data including its selection, interpretation, analysis and evaluation, and the application of appropriate quantitative skills  

Differentiation ensures that all pupils are challenged irrespective of ability.  Lessons are carefully structured, with a variety of different exercises to ensure that all pupils can achieve.  We use scaffolding to help pupils understand the demands of higher level work and structure it so that they can aspire to it.  We use group work, so that pupils of different abilities work together and learn from each other and to make pupils more confident communicators.

Lessons revisit and review knowledge through a variety of exercises, with plenaries testing lesson knowledge.  Many topics build on knowledge from previous topics and exercises require the use of this e.g when investigating how a business can improve net profit in the Finance unit they are guided to use marketing strategies to improve sales revenue.  Lesson starters include a wide range of activities which review topics.  After each assessment, pupils complete DIRT to ensure they know how to improve.  Pupils undertake specific revision lessons before assessments.

Literacy is an integral part of the subject.  We encourage research and reading of a variety of sources of business information.  We teach a large number of specialist business terms.  All our assessments are written and require pupils to write a mixture of shorter and extended writing, which require analysis and evaluation.  Numeracy is specifically taught as follows:

Calculations in a business context, include:

  • Percentages and percentage changes
  • Averages
  • Revenue, costs and profit
  • Gross profit margin and net profit margin
  • Average rate of return
  • Cash flow forecasts, including total costs, total revenue and net cash flow

Interpretation and use of quantitative data in business contexts to support, inform and justify business decisions, include:

  • Information from graphs and charts
  • Profitability ratios (gross profit margin and net profit margin)
  • Financial data, including profit and loss, average rate of return and cash flow forecast
  • Marketing data, including market research data
  • Market data, including market share, changes in costs and changes in prices

There are many cross curricular links across the course such as, Maths, English, Geography and Media Studies in the Marketing unit.

To prepare pupils to progress to the next topic, we deliver lessons in which their subject knowledge develops, as does their understanding of exam technique.  The scheme of work is structured so the topics logically build on each other.  We know the level of consolidation through progress checks within the lessons and end of topic assessments, which incorporate exam questions.  We revisit the same assessment objectives across all assessments, consolidating exam technique.

We integrate the school's values into the curriculum in a number of ways from the example set by staff, to exploring topics like Business Ethics and Employment Laws and group work tasks and challenges, which treat pupils to put these values into action.  Cultural capital is an integral part of the subject as we engage in broad political, economic, social and technological cultural contexts and how they influence different types of business.

We promote British values fundamentally in the way we teach, treat and set an example to pupils. Pupils are required to understand what laws they as consumers and individuals in society need to abide by as well as those that businesses need to follow in order to behave ethically and socially responsible.  Pupils look at how firms need to consider, respect and value the needs and interests of all stakeholder groups and not just shareholders in search of high returns.  We specifically promote these in subject topics on ethical aims and objectives; not for profit businesses; legal influences on marketing; health and safety and human resources.  Pupils are taught to respect and work with others through group work.

Spiritual development within Business Studies involves pupils being encouraged to explore sexism, racism and discrimination in the workplace through the discussion and application of employment laws to businesses. Pupils are encouraged to express their own opinion and explore different examples. Pupils also explore their own feelings and meaning and reflect upon topics such as ethics. Pupils are encouraged to explore these concepts and challenge the actions that businesses should take. This also helps to develop pupils' empathy and compassion skills and allows them to take into consideration other people's aims, values, principles and beliefs.

Moral development within Business Studies involves pupils being required to evaluate, comment upon and discuss various moral issues relating to business practices. They will do this through the use of observations, gathering of information and reviewing given case studies to support this. Pupils will consider these moral and ethical dilemmas and apply them to their own business set up in order to make valid judgements. Pupils spend a large proportion of the course investigating the impact of the action of a business upon society and the local community in which they operate. For example, pupils consider the political, social, environmental and technological issues arising as a result of business decisions. Pupils also draw upon their own knowledge to distinguish between what is right and wrong.

Social development within Business Studies involves pupils being encouraged to develop their team working skills through collaborative work and research. The Pupils also explore the concept of teams and the roles that individuals have to play and how this can impact a business. Pupils often work collaboratively to understand new concepts and share information researched, thus giving them responsibility over their work.

Cultural development within Business Studies involves pupils being given the chance to see how the functions of a business operates. Pupils look at the changes within society and how they may impact on businesses. In year 11 pupils explore how businesses grow and our reliance on global business trade. Pupils are encouraged to explore the wealth of different countries and how developed they are. 

Pupils are prepared for exams through a homework workbook that covers all topics and uses exam style questions.  We provide weekly revision sessions from the start of year 11, revision homework and use of past exam questions and have a series of topic summary sheets.  Use of DIRT provides pupils with ways in which they can improve over the course.

Context of the department

There are currently four classes in year 11 and 4 classes in year 10 in Business Studies at GCSE with group sizes normally around 24-30 pupils. Both year groups have 5 lessons a fortnight.  

There is only one member of staff who teaches Business Studies, Miss Smith.  

The subject is assessed through 2 examinations at the end of year 11, each worth 50%.  The subject is graded using the 9-1 grading system.


Outcomes in 2022 were 25% achieving grades 9-7, 56% achieving grades 9-5 and 73% achieving grades 9-4 - pupils made very good progress.  These results were the first set of results pre covid and the second set of the new AQA GCSE Business Studies 9-1 course.  

Looking back to the results from 2019, there has been a 6% increase in grades 9-7, 2% increase in grades 9-5 and a 6% increase in grades 9-4.

The course prepares pupils for Key Stage 5 as they have an understanding of the key concepts of Business Studies and knowledge and experience of the key skills required.  Numbers for GCSE intake are extremely high and have increased year upon year since offering Business Studies at South Charnwood High School, which shows there is a high level of pupils interest.