Business Studies at Sir Thomas Rich's School

What is Business Studies?

Business Studies is a dynamic subject as the business environment is constantly changing and this is what makes the subject so exciting to study.

On the academic side, Business Studies involves studying the internal workings of contemporary business organisations with the focus being on marketing, production, finance and people in business. The external environment within which businesses operate is emphasised and the effects this can have upon decision-making within a business. We also study major topical issues that can generate change for business organisations and the ways in which businesses respond to these issues.

Current case studies are often utilised in the classroom and students are encouraged to keep up-to-date with business in the news by reading broadsheets and watching TV programs such as "The Apprentice" and "Dragon's Den".

GCSE Business Studies

In studying GCSE Business Studies you will learn how businesses of different sizes and ownership operate and make a profit.Over the two years you will look in detail at the different types of businesses that exist and how different departments in businesses work. In particular you will focus on the following department areas: marketing, production, human resources and finance and accounts.

You will also learn how other groups can affect businesses decisions. Groups include competition, consumers, government, suppliers and the local community.

Over the course you will develop the following skills:

  • Analysis and interpretation of data
  • Assessing different viewpoints
  • Applying business concepts to the real world
  • Presenting in-depth reports
  • Team working

Assessment is by one piece of coursework that accounts for 25% of the final mark and two examinations; one paper focuses on production, finance and the external environment and accounts for 50% of the mark and is based on a pre-released case study; the other paper focuses on business organisations and people and accounts for 25% of the mark.

After studying GCSE Business Studies you are in a very strong position to continue and study AS/A2 Business Studies in the sixth form. Alternatively you may wish to consider AS/A2 Economics that takes a broader approach in studying the whole economy and covers such areas as inflation, trade and unemployment.

A Level Business Studies

Year 12

In studying Business Studies, you will learn how businesses operate. The course explores the following areas in depth:marketing, accounting and finance, human resource planning and operations management. The level of study is far more rigorous than at GCSE for instance, human resources involves analysing numerous motivation theories, evaluating different leadership styles, understanding the trends in flexible work patterns and examining different hierarchical structures.

You will use your knowledge of department areas of business to find strategies to achieve company objectives and to solve problems resulting from external influences such as recession.

You will develop skills in a number of areas, including:

  • Analysis and interpretation of data
  • Assessing different theories
  • Analysing and evaluating different viewpoints
  • Applying concepts to the real world
  • Presenting in-depth report
  • Team working

Year 13

In the second year of the course, there is a much greater focus on business objectives and strategy eg tactical decisions and operational decisions. The causes and effects of change are also examined in much more depth and there is a wider international dimension when studying such issues as the Euro, extended EU and the impact of globalisation.

There are a number of completely new topics that that are studied such as contingency planning, crisis management, sales forecasting, costing methods, investment appraisal, decision trees and critical path analysis.


Assessment is 100% examination. There are three examinations at the end of the second year.

Component 1, Business Opportunities and Functions, consists of compulsory short answer questions and a compulsory data response questions based on basic business topics such as types of businesses and external factors influencing businesses.

Component 2, Business Analysis and Strategy, consists of compulsory data response questions focused on analytical and decision making models and business strategy.

Component 3, Business in a Changing World, consists of compulsory high mark questions based on a case study and one essay question from a choice of three.

All three papers are 2 hours and 15 minutes in length and are equally weighted in determining the final A Level grade. Each component builds on the knowledge and understanding of the previous component/s.

A Level Entry Requirements

Whilst GCSE Business Studies is NOT required to follow this course, students who have studied Business Studies at GCSE Level will be expected to have achieved at least a B grade. Students would benefit from being comfortable with their ability to write clearly and to this end a B grade in GCSE English Language or English Literature is expected.

Life Beyond A-Level Business Studies

You may wish to pursue a degree course in Business Studies or a specific area of the subject that you have enjoyed.For instance many students go on to study marketing, economics, accounting, law, politics and business management.Alternatively you may wish to study a combined course of which popular courses include business with a language, business with sport studies and the psychology of business.

Instead of further education you may decide to join the workforce and many employers will welcome the fact that you have knowledge of business. Suitable careers may be retail management, accountancy, book-keeping, finance clerk, administrator posts, etc.

Alternatively you may wish to start up your own business and your knowledge of Business Studies A Level would be of great help when writing and implementating your business plan.