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Business Studies A level at Bishop Thomas Grant Catholic Secondary School

Course description

Business is front page news.  The way businesses operate is under greater scrutiny than ever before.  While TV programmes like ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘Dragon’s Den’ have raised the profile of Business to a new generation, the subject allows students to explore business behaviour and understand how a business operates and what can influence its success.  

In recent years our attention has been directed to issues such as fair trade, business ethics, global warming and economic uncertainty.  We have seen firms like Starbucks accused of tax avoidance in the UK and Tesco suppliers using horse meat in their supply chain.  Firms like Blockbuster Video, Comet and HMV were unable to adapt to the changing business world while LoveFilm, Apple and Aldi have taken advantage.

As a department, we share resources and ideas with students to make their experience the very best we can and have a wide range of video clips and resources.  The department prides itself in moving with the times and using a plethora of teaching and learning techniques to keep students up to date with the latest business case studies.  Students regularly use computers to search for information and produce mini reports and presentations on topical business issues. 

Course content

Year 12

Topic 1 — What is business? 

  • The nature and purpose of business 
  • The different business forms 
  • How businesses operate within an external environment

Topic 2 — Management, leadership and decision-making  

  • Management, leadership and decision making  
  • Management decision making  
  • The role and importance of stakeholders

Topic 3 - Decision making to improve marketing performance 

  • Setting marketing objectives 
  • Understanding markets and customers  
  • Segmentation, targeting, positioning  
  • Using the marketing mix

Topic 4 — Decision making to improve overall operational performance 

  • Setting operational objectives 
  • Analysing operational performance 
  • Increasing efficiency and productivity 
  • Improving quality 
  • Managing inventory and supply chains

Topic 5 - Decision making to improve financial performance 

  • Setting financial objectives 
  • Analysing financial performance
  • Sources of finance  
  • Improving cash flow and profits

Topic 6 — Decision making to improve human resource performance 

  • Setting human resource objectives 
  • Analysing human resource performance 
  • Improving organisational design and managing the human resource flow 
  • Improving motivation and engagement  
  • Improving employer-employee relations 
Year 13
Topic 1 — Analysing the strategic position of a business 
  • Mission, corporate objectives and strategy 
  • Financial ratio analysis  
  • Analysing overall performance  
  • Political and legal change 
  • Economic change 
  • Social and technological change 
  • The competitive environment 
  • Investment appraisal
Topic 2 — Choosing strategic direction 
  • Choosing which markets to compete in and what products to offer
  • Choosing how to compete
Topic 3 - Strategic methods: how to pursue strategies 
  • Assessing a change in scale 
  • Assessing innovation 
  • Assessing internationalisation 
  • Assessing greater use of digital technology
Topic 4 - Managing strategic change 
  • Managing change 
  • Managing organisational culture 
  • Managing strategic implementation 
  • Problems with strategy and why strategies fail 


Entry requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE English and Mathematics 

A keen interest in creative thinking and problem solving is essential.


A-Levels will be linear; students will sit all exams at the end of the two-year course. 
Paper 1: Business 1
33.3% of A Level Written paper, 2 hours 100 marks
  • Section A has 15 multiple choice questions
  • Section B has short answer questions
  • Sections C and D have two essay questions (choice of one from two and one from two) 
Paper 2: Business 2
33.3% of A Level Written paper, 2 hours 100 marks
  • Three data response compulsory questions and made up of three or four part questions. 
Paper 3 — Business 3
33.3% of A Level Written paper, 2 hours 100 marks
  • One compulsory case study followed by approximately six questions. 


Future opportunities

A Business A-level will allow students to continue on to relevant courses at university or equip them with the necessary tools to enter the world of work. It does not close off any opportunities as it is valued in every industry.

In particular, business graduates go on to careers in: 

  • Accounting 
  • Administration 
  • Retail banking 
  • Auditing 
  • Financial Advice 
  • Insurance 
  • Distribution 
  • Hotel Management 
  • Leisure Centre Management 
  • Market Research 

Further information

The best way to learn how a business operates is to go and see how products are made.  The department gives every student the opportunity to visit famous businesses and speak first hand with entrepreneurs. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bishop Thomas Grant Catholic Secondary School directly.

Last updated date: 01 December 2016
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