Our relationship with the sixth form is very much a partnership where we work together to help the students achieve the highest possible grade. This is only possible with co-operation and so as a department we ask for full commitment and work to be completed on time.
Students do not have had to study Business at GCSE in order to study this subject at Level 3 but they are expected to have at least 5 GCSE's at grades C+.
As students are studying 4 AS Levels or 3/4 A2 Levels they should spend at least 2 periods a week of their private study time on Business Studies. The time should be spent on note preparation, going over and completing class work and making sure all notes are up to date if they have been absent from class for any reason. Homework set assumes that on top of private study time the students spend 3 hours a week on written homework, reading business related articles, viewing relevant TV programmes and visiting relevant websites as recommended. This does not include revision, which must be ongoing and start inside the first month.
'The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary'. – Vidal Sassoon
There are 2 units to be completed.
Unit 1 The Business Environment - this is a mandatory unit and is worth a third of the final mark. It will be assessed externally through an exam.
Businesses operate in an environment which is dynamic, competitive, uncertain and frequently hostile. They need to constantly adapt to changes in their internal and external environments in order to be successful. These changes may include anticipating the actions of competitors, reacting to economic or political changes or making use of new technologies. Whether a student aspires to be a business professional, manager, charity worker or entrepreneur, understanding the business environment is key to ensuring that the business in which they work reaches its full potential.
Students will develop an understanding of how and why businesses operate in the way they do. They will look at a range of different types of business and business structures, and explore how the ownership of a business and its objectives are interrelated. They will learn about the importance of different functions within a business and how they work together. They will understand the legal, financial, ethical and resource constraints under which a business must operate and how these can affect business behaviour. They will explore ways in which businesses respond to changes in their economic, social and technological environment, and the necessity for a business to plan. They will appreciate the influence different stakeholders can have on a business, and they will learn how to assess business performance.
Unit 4 Customers and Communication - this is an optional unit and is worth a sixth of the final mark. It will be assessed internally through a piece of extended coursework. We have been very fortunate in developing a link with a local third sector business (charity), Options, who have enabled us to apply the theory to an actual business in order to meet the demands of the syllabus.
Customers are vital to the success of any business. It is essential that businesses consider the importance of the customer experience and ensure that they communicate effectively with them, whether internal or external. Repeat business is crucial for future revenue and financial certainty. Businesses depend on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. To build this you need to know who your customers are and what influences their behaviours.
In this unit students will learn the purpose, methods and importance of communication in business and the appropriateness of different forms of communication for different situations. They will develop the skills that will help them create a rapport with customers and have the opportunity to practice and develop their business communication skills. Students will also learn about the legal constraints, ethical and security issues that affect how businesses store, share and use information.
There are a further 3 units to be completed.
Unit 2 Working in Business - this is a mandatory unit and is worth a sixth of the final mark. It will be assessed externally through an examination.
Businesses today need employees, managers and entrepreneurs who are multiskilled independent thinkers. When working in business students will have to work in accordance with organisational protocols, be able to prioritise work and communicate effectively with others in a meaningful way.
This unit will cover the skills and understanding needed to work effectively within a business environment. This includes arranging meetings, working with business documents, making payments, prioritising business activities and communicating with stakeholders. The way that these activities are dealt with will vary according to the specific business protocols in place. Some of these will be specific to a functional area; however, many are common to almost all job roles. The skills and understanding students will develop through this unit are critical to the success of any business and are highly valued in the business world; they are vital regardless of the role held within an organisation.
Unit 8 Introduction to Human Resources - this is an optional unit and is worth a sixth of the final mark. It will be assessed internally through a piece of coursework.
People are the most valuable resource to any organisation or business, and in order to obtain the greatest value from them, they need to be managed and supported. It is the human resources (HR) function within a business that has a significant role in ensuring this happens.
In this unit students will gain an overview of the HR function within a business and learn about factors affecting human resources planning. They will understand the importance of motivating and training employees to achieve their potential. They will learn how businesses measure employee performance. Students will be able to appreciate how the role of the HR function links with other key functions in a business to contribute to the overall success of the business. They will also understand the importance of confidentiality for the HR function, as this fosters trust and respect between employee and employer.
Unit 17 Responsible Business Practice - this is an optional unit and is worth a sixth of the final mark. It will be assessed internally through a piece of coursework.
This unit introduces the concept of responsible business practices (sometimes known as corporate social responsibility). By this we mean how a business manages its activities to produce a positive impact on society. In implementing responsible business practices, a business can be responding to legislation and regulations but some are showing a commitment to behaving ethically and contributing to economic development whilst improving the quality of life of the workforce, their families and of the local community.
Businesses do not exist in isolation; their actions have an impact on the various stakeholders of the business. No matter how large an organisation, it cannot ignore the importance of upholding the principles of corporate social responsibility and of making decisions which seem right, fair and ethical for society. These range from boardroom strategies, to supplier relations, sales techniques, accounting practices and how organisations respond to wider issues of social concern such as sustainability.
In this unit students will gain an understanding of how businesses can and should operate responsibly. They will look at the impact of different stakeholders on business decisions and how the issues involved can at times be contradictory and difficult to address. The unit also looks at the ethical values and issues faced by businesses, as well as the difficulties of implementing responsible business practice. They will have the opportunity to explore the social implications of business ethics and corporate responsibilities on a wide range of business activities. This will include topical issues such as whistle blowing, employment practices such as zero-hours contracts, advertising to children, environmental awareness and the use of new technologies. They will explore the wider impact of corporate responsibility and ethical behaviour, including local, national and global implications. Community pressure on business organisations has raised awareness of ethical concerns, such as environmental degradation, executive greed and the use of child labour around the world.