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St Alban's Catholic High School

St Alban's
Catholic High School


Departmental Aims

The fundamental philosophy of the Business Studies department at St. Alban's is that, in order to understand the nature of business; students must have an acute awareness of the issues that it faces in the 21st Century. This is built on sound foundations by the study of the theory that underpins most business activity.

The students actively experiencing the business environment balance this somewhat academic approach. This can be achieved through a variety of approaches including work experience, links with local employers, case studies and research tasks.

We deliver the subject at Key Stage 4/5 via Applied Business courses this enables students to understand business from a theoretical view and then apply their learning through engaging with business in real scenarios to underpin knowledge and understanding.

The aim of these courses is to encourage candidates to:

  • Develop an understanding of the organisation of businesses;
  • Develop an understanding of how businesses are financed;
  • Develop an understanding of the role of business within the local, national and international community;
  • Prepare for employment, or self-employment, within a business environment;
  • Understand the economy and how business operates in the economy.

By deciding to take Business as an optional subject in Year 10 students are entering into an area that is of direct relevance to the way we live. No matter who we are we are all at some point in contact with a business. Business Studies helps us make sense of so much of what happens in everyday life. Such is its breadth that, at various points, the courses call for students to understand the part politics, economics, psychology, sociology as well as the core subject, business itself play in our day-to-day lives.

Armed with this breadth and depth of knowledge, students are particularly well informed when it comes to making decisions about careers and education routes after St Alban's as well as other choices in life.


Curriculum Content

10 & 11

This qualification is structured into two themes, taking students from how entrepreneurs start businesses (Theme 1) through to growing and global businesses (Theme 2). There are two equally weighted exam papers, focusing on each specification theme.


Theme 1 concentrates on the key business concepts, issues and skills involved in starting and running a small business. It provides a framework for students to explore core concepts through the lens of an entrepreneur setting up a business. This theme is studied  during Year 10.


Theme 2 examines how a business develops beyond the start-up phase. It focuses on the key business concepts, issues and decisions used to grow a business, with an emphasis on aspects of marketing, operations, finance and human resources. It also considers the impact of the wider world on the decisions a business makes as it grows. This theme is studied during Year 11.



Consists of two externally examined papers.

Both papers are a written examination: 90 minutes 50% of the qualification each (90 marks)

On both examinations, the paper is divided into three sections:

Section A: 35 marks: Section B: 30 marks: Section C: 25 marks.


The paper will consist of calculations, multiple–choice, short–answer and extended–writing questions. Questions in Sections B and C will be based on business contexts given in the paper. Calculators may be used in the examination.


Additional Information

If you enjoy: Communicating and explaining your ideas, thinking creatively and making decisions, working with numbers to solve business problems and learning about the world of business through real and relevant local and international brands, then the GCSE Business course is the right subject for you. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t studied business prior to taking this course. You might have an interest in business, and want to start your own business one day. You may have an enquiring mind and be interested in learning about the world around you, how businesses are set up, and what it is that makes someone a great entrepreneur. This course will help you to understand all this and more.


What will I learn?

You’ll start by exploring the world of small businesses through the lens of an entrepreneur. How and why do business ideas come about? What makes a successful business? You’ll learn how to develop an idea, spot an opportunity and turn it into a successful business. You will understand how to make a business effective, manage money and see how the world around us affects small businesses and all the people involved. Then you’ll move on to investigating business growth. How does a business develop beyond the start-up phase? You’ll learn about key business concepts and issues and decisions you need to make when growing a business and working in a global business. You’ll learn about meeting customer needs, making marketing, operational, financial and human resourcing decisions and you’ll explore how the wider world impacts the business as it grows.


Progression after the course

After this qualification you’ll understand the world of business. It’s also a great step preparing you for further and higher education such as A levels and BTEC courses. A GCSE Business course could help prepare you for an entrepreneurial role and help you to gain an understanding of what is involved in a business-related profession, like accountancy, law, marketing or the leisure and tourism industry. 

12 & 13

What do I need to know, or be able to do, before taking this course?

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t studied economics before. You might have an interest in economics and want to know more about the impact economics has on the world around you. You might want to investigate some of the stories you hear in the news – Why do some economies grow and others don’t? Why didn’t economists predict the Global Financial Crisis? What impact does the economy have on the business world?

This course will help you to understand all this and more.


What will I learn?

“If you want a real insight into the way the world we live in works, Economics is a great starting point. It gives an overview of the way real-life businesses operate and the issues facing the world economy. It has given me an all-round understanding which will be incredibly useful in the future.”

Economics B student


Economics is about choice and the impact of our choices on each other. It relates to every aspect of our lives, from the decisions we make as individuals or families to the structures created by governments and firms. An economic way of thinking can help you make better choices.


In Theme 1 and Theme 2 you will be introduced to the nature of economics, how markets work and why they fail, consumer choices and enterprise in the economy. You will also consider the role of banks and life in a global economy.


In Theme 3 and Theme 4 you will explore the impact of globalisation on consumers, firms and the labour market. You will also investigate the role of the government and have an opportunity to consider the role and impact of the financial sector.


“Economics B is current; it is about real world issues that matter.”

Economics B student


How will I be assessed at A Level                         

Paper 1

You will tackle data response and essay questions on markets, consumers and firms and

how markets work – this is the content you study in Theme 1 and Theme 4.


Paper 2

You will tackle data response and essay questions on competitive advantage and the global economy – this is the content you study in Theme 2 and Theme 3.


Paper 3

You will have a research task before the exam. The questions in the exam – data response and essay questions – are linked to the context you will research.


What can I do after I’ve completed the course?

Studying economics will help you develop transferable skills that will prepare you for studying at university or moving into the world of work. These include skills in data interpretation and essay writing. You will also develop commercial awareness. Suitable higher education courses include economics degrees or degrees in applied economics such as environmental economics, labour economics, public sector economics or monetary economics. You might choose to study business economics, international business or a business and management degree. Economics students can follow a wide range of careers in industry, commerce, finance and the civil service. You might choose a career in banking, sales, product management or general management.