The Business Studies department allows students to explore real life businesses in a way which brings the outside world into the classroom. We believe students should be engaged and take an active role in their learning through using mini individual businesses as a context to deliver subject content.
The department is well resourced and aims to meet the needs of all learners. Students experience variety throughout lessons, using interactive books, video case studies, class games and ICT to engage all in the subject. Learning should not just take place within the classroom and where possible we visit local and national businesses to gain further understanding of how they operate. This year students have had the opportunity to visit Cadbury World and the Cotswold Farm Park, as well as enjoying presentations from a variety of inspirational guest speakers. Additionally, many of our students benefitted from the highly popular trip to New York that is arranged bi-annually.
In 2008 Business Education within the school was judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. Achievement at Key Stage 4 and 5 was rated as excellent, teaching and learning within all areas was highlighted for particular praise as was the quality of the curriculum. Also highlighted was the excellent behaviour, student-staff relationships, high expectations and positive attitudes to learning seen within the department. We have not rested on our laurels. Since receiving this accolade our results, our curriculum and the opportunities given to our students have all been enhanced.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, pupils choose one of two options. We offer Edexcel GCSE, involving two examinations worth a total of 75% and a controlled assessment (worth 25%). During Year 10 students study an introduction to small business, learning the fundamental principles of starting a business. In Year 11 this foundation is built upon and students recognise and understand how a business
develops and changes over time. Since its inception, GCSE results within the department have been excellent and well above national expectations.
BTEC Level 2
From September 2014, we are developing our Key Stage 4 curriculum further by introducing a BTEC Level 2 qualification which will be studied over two years. The nature of the course allows theory to be applied to real life businesses, both local and national. We have successfully run a one year version of this course and results have been outstanding (as they have for our past vocational courses), with pupils finding the vocational nature of the qualification particularly useful when progressing onto colleges and apprenticeships.
“In Key Stage 4, achievement has been excellent for many years” (Ofsted 2008)
Key Stage 5
AS and A2 Business follows the AQA specification with two unit exams each year. At AS level pupils study Unit 1 to understand the elements of Planning and Financing a Business, and Unit 2 – Managing a Business (both examined in June).
At A2 pupils use their knowledge gained in Units 1 and 2 to develop their understanding further, addressing Strategies for Success and finally the Business Environment and Change (both examined in June).
BTEC Level 3 Business
We are also developing the breadth of our curriculum at Key Stage 5 with the introduction of BTEC Level 3 Business. This two year course will combine a mixture of both examinations and coursework tasks, allowing students the opportunity to achieve 2 A Levels through a more vocational route.
“The achievement and completion rates in the Sixth Form are excellent” (Ofsted 2008).
As well as trips and activities outside the classroom, the Business Studies department gives all pupils from Year 7 to Year 13 the opportunity to set up and run their own business. We have had a number of businesses set up by pupils this year including the Primary ICT Training Business which provides lessons to Key Stage 2 pupils, assisting them in developing their IT skills; and the Bracelet Company who manufacture and sell bespoke, handmade bracelets. This year has also seen the department’s first Enterprise Fair – the perfect opportunity for our Enterprise Club students to showcase their work and to develop their skills as the entrepreneurs of the future.