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Business Studies


At Ashlyns, we follow the Edexcel GCSE Business Studies course (2BS01). This course is examined by three units. Unit 1 (Introduction to Small Business), Unit 2 (Controlled Assessment) and Unit 3 (Building A Business). Unit 1 and 2 are both 25% of the course and Unit 3 is 50% of the course.

Unit 1

In Year 10, we study Unit 1, Introduction to Small Business, which consists of the five topics summarised below. This is formally examined at the end of Year 11, and is worth 25% of the GCSE grade.

Topic 1 – Spotting a business opportunity
In this first topic students learn the importance in business of understanding customer needs, and how careful research and analysis of a market is key to success. Market mapping and other techniques are used to analyse competitor strengths and weaknesses and identify new business opportunities. Students are also introduced to the concept of “added value” …which is a real eye opener!

Topic 2 – Showing Enterprise
This topic looks at the skills and qualities entrepreneurs possess. We establish the difference between invention and innovation; and use creative thinking techniques ourselves, considering whether our own ideas are worth taking a calculated risk.

Topic 3 – Putting a business idea into practice
This topic considers the practicalities of making a business idea happen. We learn how revenues, costs and profits can be calculated and how cash flows are forecasted; and the implications of these financial considerations. The non-financial objectives entrepreneurs may have when starting up are studied. To conclude this topic, the main sources of finance available to a small business start-up are evaluated.

Topic 4 – Making the start-up effective
This topic focuses on two important stakeholder groups: customers and staff. We assess the importance of customer service in creating customer satisfaction and in the long-term customer loyalty. We learn the processes and techniques involved in recruiting, training and motivating staff. To conclude this topic, the legal and tax issues that business start-ups must abide by are considered.

Topic 5 – Understanding the economic context
The focus of our final topic in Year 10 is external factors, beyond the control of the business, that may prevent it from meeting its objectives. In particular, we consider the impact of changes in interest rates on small businesses, and the extent of the impact of changes in exchange rates. We learn about the relationship between market supply and demand. We study the economic cycle, and having learnt the characteristics of each stage, look at how these cycles affect small businesses. To conclude, we evaluate the effect of business decisions on different stakeholder groups.

Unit 2

In Year 10, the Controlled Assessment element is completed in class during the Summer Term. This contributes a further 25% towards the GCSE grade. Students must select one question from a choice of five questions released by the exam board, and select a small, local business on which to conduct their research and base their answer to the chosen question.

Unit 3

In Year 11 we study Unit 3, Building a Business, which consists of five topics:

Topic 1 – Marketing
In this topic students will examine the meaning of the term “marketing” and the role this function plays in the success of a business. Building on knowledge from Year 10, we will consider how market research data can be collected, interpreted and used to make decisions. Key marketing planning tools are introduced – the Marketing Mix, Boston Matrix and the Product Life Cycle. The importance of branding and differentiation in gaining competitive advantage is examined, and how a successful marketing mix is built will be assessed.

Topic 2 – Meeting customer needs
In this topic we look into the effects of design and Research and Development on product differentiation and customer satisfaction; how stock control can be effectively managed; the methods used by businesses to keep productivity levels up and costs and prices down to improve competitiveness; how effective customer service can be achieved and the effects of legislation on business.

Topic 3 – Effective financial management
This topic will develop your confidence in handling cash flow forecasts, as we build on knowledge from Year 10, by learning how to interpret cash flow forecasts and examine how a business can improve net cash flow. The difference between cash flow and profit is covered. Break-even charts are analysed, and the impact of changes in price and costs on the break-even point. The internal and external sources of finance available to businesses in order to finance growth are considered.

Topic 4 – Effective people management
This topic examines the factors that can make people the most effective resource within an organisation. We learn about the importance of organisational structure, how different businesses have different structures, and how structure can be shown in an organisation chart. The factors that affect motivation at work are considered, and linked to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The role of communication within a business and the impact of both effective and ineffective communication is assessed. The different methods of remuneration used by businesses are considered, as are the relationships between communication, motivation and remuneration.

Topic 5 – The wider world affecting business
In the final topic we look at how the wider world affects businesses. The meaning and nature of ethics in business and the trade-off between ethics and profit are considered. How businesses are affected by environmental issues and controls, the impact differences in income has on international trade, and how import and export controls, legislation, regulation and tax affect international trade and businesses are assessed.

A Level

Our Business department offers two A Level qualifications:

  • Edexcel Business A Level (code 9BS0); and
  • Edexcel Economics A Level (code 9EC0).

A Level Business

This course is examined by 3 two hour papers at the end of the 2 year course. The course consists of four different themes. Themes 1 and 2 are studied in Year 12 and Themes 3 and 4 are studied in Year 13.

Year 12

Theme 1: Marketing and People
This theme introduces students to the basics of marketing and human resource management. The topics studied are:

  • Meeting Customer Needs
  • The Market
  • Marketing Mix and Strategy
  • Managing People
  • Entrepreneurs and Leaders

Theme 2: Managing Business Activities
This theme introduces students to the basics of finance, production and the external business environment. Topics in this theme are:

  • Raising Finance
  • Financial Planning
  • Managing Finance
  • Resource Management
  • External Influences

Year 13

Theme 3: Business Decisions and Strategy
This theme looks at business decision making and strategy development and introduces some complex business theories and models. Topics include:

  • Business Objectives and Strategy
  • Business Growth
  • Decision Making Techniques
  • Influences on Business Decisions
  • Assessing Competitiveness
  • Managing Change.

Theme 4 Global Business
This final theme looks at the world of international business and trade. Topics in this theme are:

  • Globalisation
  • Global markets and business expansion
  • Global marketing
  • Global industries and multinational companies.

A Level Economics

This course is examined by 3 two hour papers at the end of the 2 year course. The course consists of four different themes. Themes 1 and 2 are studied in Year 12 and Themes 3 and 4 are studied in Year 13.

Year 12

Theme 1: Introduction to Markets and Market Failure
This theme is an introduction to microeconomics – the theory of the firm. Students will study:

  • The nature of economics
  • How markets work – including the laws of supply and demand
  • Market failure
  • Government intervention to address market failure

Theme 2: The UK Economy – Performance and Policies
This theme is an introduction to macroeconomics – the theory of the whole economy. Students will study:

  • Measures of economic performance
  • Aggregate demand
  • Aggregate supply
  • National Income
  • Economic growth
  • Macroeconomic objectives and policy

Year 13

Theme 3: Business Behaviour and the Labour Market
This theme further develops the microeconomic concepts studied in Theme 1 and considers:

  • Business growth
  • Business objectives
  • Revenues, costs and profits
  • Market structures
  • Labour market
  • Government Intervention

Theme 4: A Global Perspective
This theme considers macroeconomics on a global scale and develops students’ understanding of:

  • International economics
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Emerging and developing economies
  • The financial sector
  • The role of the state in the macroeconomy