Business - Impact, Implementation and Intent
The A level business course seeks to provide students with a broad insight into how businesses are structured and operate along with the various internal and external influences that impact the strategic decisions that are made. We follow the AQA specification at Archbishop Tenison’s, which expects students to look beyond the text book and apply their learning to the real world. Students are encouraged to seek out specific examples to use in their answers; scenarios with things like the demise of the High Street and the growth in online shopping provide a wide range of success and failure material. As this is the world in which our students will live, we aim to provide them with a range of skills to help them identify, assess and evaluate situations.
Whilst a few external students will have studied Business at GCSE, the majority of our students have not, and we therefore start from a position where we assume no prior knowledge and then provide early challenges for those who are familiar with the initial content. We initially look at ‘What is business’ where we explore concepts such as entrepreneurs, objectives, added value, revenue, costs and profit and the different forms of business. This provides a strong foundation before we move on to look at different the external environment in which businesses operate and the different leadership styles that may be encountered. The remainder of Year 1 focuses on the key functional areas within a business where we spend time learning, in some depth, about marketing, operations, finance and human resources. Here we combine business theory, application to specific contexts and numerical assessment of data to analyse and evaluate situations.
When we move to the second year of A Level we focus more on strategic decision making and the range of factors that will influence it. We explore topics such as the political, legal and economic environment, internal financial analysis and the impact of social and technological change. We also look at how strategic change is undertaken and managed along with the problems that can occur. Here we touch on topics such as organisational culture and how change can be managed.
Students are encouraged to make direct links to events in the real world. To assist with this, they are directed to a range of relevant news articles with wider reading being an essential element. Case studies feature heavily throughout the course and as part of the assessment structure and students are encouraged to have their own suite of examples that they can introduce. We use a wide variety of activities are to help students to learn and understand which includes presentations, group-work, discussions, worksheets, games, and videos.
As a department we have a wide range of resources to use and operate from a dedicated Business and Economics classroom that benefits from display materials to act as prompts for students to consider topics in more depth. The teaching staff are all passionate about the subject and bring real world experience into the classroom which is often used to help stimulate discussion and debate. We work closely with students to guide and encourage them to achieve the best possible outcome. As teachers we are in contact with the wider community of business teachers around the country which allows the sharing of ideas and best practice. This will include providing students with an opportunity to attend a Tutor2u study day to help prepare for exams as well as online revision and exam preparation webinars.
Many Tenison’s business students go on to study business related subjects at university or go into subject related professional apprenticeships/careers. Our students develop skills that are highly
prized by employers: critical thinking, analysis and evaluation of complex information, reaching a supported judgement, effective written and verbal communication.
AQA Business A-Level
The course is separated into 10 broad units with 6 units being studied in Year 12 and the final 4 units in Year 13. Generally, the course is offered as a linear two-year A-Level although on occasions students do undertake an AS Level in Business where the course content comprises the initial 6 units.
In Year 12 students start by studying the introductory unit of “What is Business?” before moving on to consider “Leadership, Management and Decision Making”.
Following the two introductory units’ students move on to look at the four functional areas of marketing, operations, finance and human resources in greater detail.
In Year 13 the course considers how changes in various internal and external areas impact businesses and influences their strategic decision making including financial analysis, the impact of political and legal decisions, the economic environment and social and technological change.
The course then looks at strategic direction and strategic position before moving to look at assessing changes in scale, innovation, internationalisation and the greater use of digital technology. Finally, we look at managing change, culture, implementation of strategies and then what happens when strategic changes go wrong.
Throughout the course students will learn a range of different business models and are encouraged to look for opportunities to apply the theory to real life scenarios that they encounter.
Assessment at A-Level
· There are three papers at A-Level, each of 2 hours duration.
· Each paper is equal to 33.3% of the overall grade.
· Content for each paper is drawn from the entire specification.
· 15 multiple choice questions
· A series of short answer and short essay questions
· 2 longer 25-mark essays where there is a choice of titles.
· 3 short case studies with a series of short answer and essay questions on each
· Comprising an unseen case study
· 6 essay questions ranging from 12 to 24 marks