Encouraging excellence, valuing people

Business Studies

There are currently three classes in year 11 and 4 classes in year 10 in Business Studies at GCSE with group sizes of approximately 24-30 students. Both year groups have 5 lessons a fortnight. 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.


Students 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 students understand the types of questions they can expect on their final exam. This allows opportunities to practice 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. Students 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 students 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 students are challenged irrespective of ability. Lessons are carefully structured, with a variety of different exercises to ensure that all students can achieve. We use scaffolding to help students understand the demands of higher level work and structure it so that they can aspire to it. We use group work, so that students of different abilities work together and learn from each other and to make students 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, students complete DIRT to ensure they know how to improve. Students 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 students 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 students 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 students 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 students.  Students 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.  Students 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.  Students are taught to respect and work with others through group work.


Students 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 students with ways in which they can improve over the course. 

Intent at KS4

The guiding principles behind Business Studies are to give all our students 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 student centred approach with a variety of appropriate activities.


We aim to create lessons that encourage students 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.  Students should be enthused by expertise, enthusiasm and a variety of teaching strategies.


We aim to instil skills and knowledge that will help students 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 students 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 3.2 Influences on Business - Year 10

Unit 3.4 Human Resources - Year 10


Unit 3.3 Business Operations - Year 11

Unit 3.5 Marketing - Year 11

Unit 3.6 Finance - Year 11


Outcomes in 2019 were 19% achieving grades 9-7 , 54% achieving grades 9-5 and 67% achieving grades 9-4 - students made very good progress.  These results were the first set of the new AQA GCSE Business Studies 9-1 course.  

In terms of the previous A* to E course there was a 14% increase in A*-C in 2017 from 2016 and a 31% increase in A*-C in 2018 from 2017.  


We performed slightly better (5%) than similar centres for pupils achieving grades 9-7. At grades 9-5 we performed slightly better (7%) as well as grades 9-4 (5%).  In respect of all AQA centres, the pupils achieved a similar profile of results. 


The course prepares students 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 student interest.