What will students study in Business at KS4?
Business subject and GCSEs for Year 9 students are new challenges. Due to the nature of the subject, students enjoy the relevance of the concepts they learn in business to the real world around them. In Year 9, students will initially be introduced to key business theories through project-based work. This business project will be a substantial piece of work that enables students to develop skills such as research, innovation, creative thinking, independent work, problem-solving and presentation.
Once students have developed a sound understanding of key concepts through practical work, they will be introduced to their Exam Board syllabus. Over the course of their GCSE in Business, students will have to complete 2 Themes. We will make a start on Theme 1 in Year 9. Theme 1 concentrates on the key business concepts, issues and skills involved in starting and running a small business. It provides a framework for students to explore core concepts through the lens of an entrepreneur setting up a business. In this theme, students will be introduced to local and national business contexts and will develop an understanding of how these contexts impact business behaviour and decisions. Local contexts refer specifically to small businesses or those operating in a single UK location and national contexts relate to businesses operating in more than one location or across the UK.
Our Exam Board is Edexcel and Theme 1 comprises five topic areas and the first 3 of these topics will be covered in Year 9 and they are as follows:
Topic 1.1 Enterprise and entrepreneurship – students are introduced to the dynamic nature of business in relation to how and why business ideas come about. They also explore the impact of risk and reward on business activity and the role of entrepreneurship.
Topic 1.2 Spotting a business opportunity – students will explore how new and small businesses identify opportunities through understanding customer needs and conducting market research. They will also focus on understanding the competition.
Topic 1.3 Putting a business idea into practice – this topic focuses on making a business idea happen through identifying aims and objectives and concentrating on the financial aspects.
By the end of Year 9, students will start to develop an understanding of the interdependent nature of business activity through interactions between business operations, finance, marketing and human resources, as well as the relationship between the business and the environment in which it operates.
In Year 10, students will build on what they have learned in Year 9 and continue covering the last two topic areas in Theme 1, which are as follows:
- Topic 1.4 Making the business effective – students will explore a range of factors that impact on the success of the business, including location, the marketing mix and the business plan.
- Topic 1.5 Understanding external influences on business – students are introduced to a range of factors, many of which are outside of the immediate control of the business, such as stakeholders, technology, legislation and the economy. Students will explore how businesses respond to these influences.
Although we work on gaining students exam skills from the early stages in Year 9, these skills are continuously practised throughout their Business GCSE and at every stage new skills are added to the mix. Once Theme 1 is completed, students will go through a period of intense revision and exam skills, such as data and case study handling, application and analysis using past and sample papers.
In the Spring/Summer of Year 10, students will move onto Theme 2, which examines how a business develops beyond the start-up phase. They will complete the first two topic areas of Theme 2 in Year 10 and the last 3 topic areas of this theme in Year 11. Once again, we will do intense and targeted revision and exam skills development in Year 11 in addition to completing Theme 2.
Our Exam Board is Edexcel and Theme 2 comprises five topic areas.
- Topic 2.1 Growing the business – students are introduced to methods of growth and how and why business aims and objectives change as businesses evolve. The impact of globalisation and the ethical and environmental questions facing businesses are explored.
- Topic 2.2 Making marketing decisions – students will explore how each element of the marketing mix is managed and used to inform and make business decisions in a competitive marketplace.
- Topic 2.3 Making operational decisions – this topic focuses on meeting customer needs through the design, supply, quality and sales decisions a business makes.
- Topic 2.4 Making financial decisions – students will explore the tools a business has to support financial decision making, including ratio analysis and the use and limitation of a range of financial information.
- Topic 2.5 Making human resource decisions – growing a business means that decisions relating to organisational structure, recruitment, training and motivation need to be made to influence business activity. These aspects are considered in this final topic.
Theme 2 focuses on the key business concepts, issues and decisions used to grow a business, with emphasis on aspects of marketing, operations, finance and human resources. Theme 2 also considers the impact of the wider world on the decisions a business makes as it grows. In this theme, students will be introduced to national and global business contexts and will develop an understanding of how these contexts impact business behaviour and decisions. National contexts build on those in Theme 1 and relate to businesses operating in more than one location or across the UK. Global contexts relate to non-UK or transnational businesses.
Students must develop an understanding of the interdependent nature of business activity through interactions between business operations, finance, marketing and human resources, as well as the relationship between the business and the environment in which it operates. Students must understand how these functional areas influence business activity and how interdependencies and relationships between them underpin business decisions.
What are the major assessments at KS4?
In Year 9, one of the major assessments will be based on the presentations that the students will produce in the Autumn term. In addition, there will be end of topic assessments each time a topic is completed as well as and end of year exam in the Summer-term.
In Year 10, students will complete end of topic assessments each time a topic is completed as well as and end of year exam in the Summer-term.
In Year 11, in addition to the end of topic assessments, there will be 2 mock assessments once Theme 2 is completed. Normally, GCSE Business students sit two externally assessed examinations in the Summer of Year 11. Each paper has the same structure and weighting and are as follows:
- Paper 1 – Theme 1 content.
- Paper 2 – Theme 2 content.
- Each assessment is 1 hour and 30 minutes long.
- Each paper is out of 90 marks.
Both Paper 1 and Paper 2 will have 3 separate sections with Section B and C having one case study each.
What do assessments test?
The project-based assessment will test the students on their creative thinking, independence, research and presentation skills using key business concepts such as branding, cost and profit. End of topic tests and the end of year examination will be summative assessments that will enable both the learner and the teachers to determine the level of progress made in the business topics covered and what still need to be addressed going forward.
End of topic tests and the end of year examination will be summative assessments that will enable both the learner and the teachers to determine the level of progress made in the business topics covered and what still need to be addressed going forward.
Paper 1 will assess students on Theme 1 content and Paper 2 will assess students on Theme 2 content using the following question types:
- There will be calculations, multiple–choice, short–answer and extended–writing questions.
- Each paper will include questions that target quantitative skills at a minimum of Key Stage 3 level.
- Questions in Sections B and C will be based on business contexts given in the paper and will be presented in the form of case studies.
What are the expectations of my daughter in Business?
We welcome all students into the Business area who are keen to find out more about the world around them as well as use creativity, intuition, enquiry and independent thinking. This introduction is both challenging and engaging. The subject would be best suited to those students who enjoy solving problems and using their research skills.
What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in Business?
All teachers in the department are subject specialists with industry experience. It is always best for your daughter to approach their business teacher in the first instance. We also encourage students to develop their independent working skills by advising them to use a wide range of revision materials such as online resources that include Tutor2u and Seneca online learning platform. In addition, students will need to use their revision guide and workbooks to complement their studies outside the classroom.
How can I best support my daughter in Business?
It would be very helpful if you could talk to your daughter about their business course, what topics they study, what they enjoy and find challenging. Business is all around us and having conversations about business news or even discussions about the changes in the local high street could prove beneficial in your daughter’s understanding of how the business theories they learn can be applied in real-life contexts. You can also encourage them to do regular revision of knowledge learned as they will need to grasp business language and get competent in using this in their writing.
Whom should I contact for further advice or information?
For further advice or information, please contact Mr Ahmad, Head of Computer Science and Business on firstname.lastname@example.org.