Business and Economics
We mean business.
We want students to know, love and engage with the information they’re learning; and then be confident in their application of the knowledge to meet examination criteria.
RATIONALE AND PURPOSE
In the business department, we want to prepare young people for life in the real world by recognising the impact of business, the economy and finance on their daily lives. The curriculum is designed to mirror the knowledge and topics demanded for their qualifications, but by adding their own personal context and understanding, they become more aware of how they can thrive and succeed in life.
This can range from managing their own businesses, apply for jobs or simply being able to set up an appropriate bank or savings account to suit their stage in life.
The importance and relevance of a business subject to our young people can never be understated; affording the opportunity to understand the politics, economy and with many cross-curricular links with topics such as production (linked to DT), and communication skills (links to English, media and ICT).
“Economics is everywhere, and understanding economics can help you make better decisions and lead a happier life.”
Tyler Cowen, economics professor and New York Times columnist.
Business students often take GCSE Business, then follow it with A-Levels in Business or Economics, or a BTEC diploma in Business and many add a finance qualification (awarded by the London Institute of Banking and Finance) to help them progress from mastery to advanced stages of school education. Thereafter, a university degree and job opportunities await.
Business and related subjects (such as finance and economics) are among the most popular fields of study at universities worldwide, particularly at graduate level; and business graduates are in high demand worldwide. Business touches on pretty much every aspect of modern human society, careers with a business degree are diverse and often highly paid.
A business degree is useful in a wide variety of professions. Supervisory and managerial roles are common among business degree graduates, for those who are interested in leadership. From a business owner to a high-powered executive, there are numerous jobs available to those who have a business degree. Many college graduates regret their choice of degree because it offers very little in terms of job opportunities, however, this is not the case with a business degree.
Earning a business degree can pave the way for future advancement opportunities. A business degree will give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs compared to those who don’t have a degree or who have a less marketable degree. Since a degree in business provides a variety of useful skills that can be used in any type of profession, employees who have a degree in business are sought-out by employers.
Having a bachelor degree will already ensure that you have the potential to earn a better income, and having a bachelor degree in business can improve your earnings even more. Since business graduates are better qualified for high-level positions within a company than graduates of other degrees, they have the potential to earn more money. Business degree graduates are qualified for some of today’s most in-demand professions.
Regardless of how you use your business degree professionally, the education you receive can equip you to function more effectively in a business-driven economy. Your awareness of business motives and operations also positions you to be a more effective consumer. Even if you end up in a non-business-related career, such as education or social work, your work will likely entail some interaction with businesses. Social workers, for example, commonly interact with both for-profit and non-profit businesses in helping clients find support and assistance programs.
1. To develop our students as confident thinkers with learning skills for life.
We want our students to be able to retain knowledge, develop excellent numeracy skills (linked to real life context such as personal finance), and challenge themselves to think higher. In their lives, writing a convincing report or presenting a winning pitch, even drafting the right email, requires having excellent communication skills – skills for life.
To achieve this, the department has developed a scheme of work and ‘roadmap’ that drives students towards key knowledge required for their qualification whilst allowing them the opportunity to explore SMSC links and make real-world connections. We emphasise key vocabulary, explain the necessity of meeting specifications, including exam technique, and celebrate successes – such as the Micro Tyco initiative (which also allows students to display their natural, entrepreneurial flair).
We encourage higher level thinking such as pushing students to learn A-Level theories to support their GCSE understanding or enabling Level 2 students to start their Level 3 course early to scaffold their learning and build a foundation for success. Students are given leadership opportunities and can drive and lead their own learning and teaching; often through peer mentoring and creation of revision and learning resources.
The team look to build positive relationships with our young people to build their confidence and desire to grow. Through transition work targeting students moving from mastery to advanced stages and by highlighting the similarities between all subjects in their approach to achieving a qualification, students are able to develop their ability to think and answer in more mature ways.
We are strong believers that all students can achieve and exceed their potential. No barrier should hinder progress, so we have provided PP students with access to free software and resources and differentiate our delivery of lessons, and types of qualification to allow all students to access the information.
2. To offer the best possible curriculum, allowing students to maximise personal and academic progress through the UHS foundation, mastery and advanced stages.
We want our students to enjoy their learning and succeed in achieving and exceeding personal targets in the mastery and advanced stages of their education.
To achieve this, we ensure that our subject matter matches the learners’ needs whilst ensuring key content is delivered pertaining to the qualification itself. However, we’re not afraid to deliver units and encourage students to learn more on topics like Brexit as such an understanding can only be seen as positively adding to their progress.
Using clear assessment for learning techniques, linked to examining board criteria, our curriculum enables students to access all parts of the course and strive for success. We maximise feedback and offer time for our young people to reflect on their work and recognise how they can improve. This is completed using whole school practices such as yellow sticker feedback, feed-forward work and department processes including crib sheets to highlight whole class misconceptions or areas requiring renewed focus.
Feedback is designed to maximise impact, including marking, verbal feedback and small group or one-to-one mentoring (particularly in the advanced stage) and homework tasks designed to challenge and build on learning. Whilst clear tracking systems are used and made visible to students to enable them to see where they are currently and what they need to complete to move on to the next level.
The business department aims to meet the needs of all students through a broad and balanced curriculum and range of qualifications (from business, to economics, to finance) that match the type of qualification and subjects they need to help them on their pathway.
3. To ensure a learning community where all staff thrive and are keen embrace their own professional development.
The business department are keen to recognise each other’s successes, share ideas and work collaboratively to ensure all colleagues thrive, develop and help the wider community.
To achieve this, we have an open-door policy, which is not just for watching and observing lessons but also to make suggestions and recommend good practice. The team are supportive of each other and keen to draw on our cultures, experiences, contacts and training.
All team members take on school-facilitated CPD training linked to their own ambitions, passions and goals; and share the information with the team to help broaden all members’ knowledge and development. This also includes working alongside other bodies, such as PiXL or Tutor2U (a leading provider of business-related subject material and booster sessions).
Each member of the team is encouraged to develop their own style, and are willing to listen to feedback and take on board ideas to develop and thrive. With a team of varying levels of experience, we are all in a position to learn something new and be confident to share with the team.
4. To champion the work of UHS with parents and the wider community ensuring maximum support for our students and the school.
The business department are looking to spread their outreach across the community, working with parents and local businesses to help our students feel supported and provide a wider range of opportunities for learning and consolidating knowledge.
To achieve this, we have celebrated success on social media such as the Micro Tyco and BTEC management events. We regularly communicate with parents to keep them informed of progress and ensure they have key information such as deadline dates; as well as maintaining an open platform for parents to understand decisions made (choice of courses, units, grading, etc) and to ask us how to support their child.
We are keen to develop a network of companies that are willing to provide support to the school, whether it is by offering work experience placements for our Year 12 cohort, or donating time and resource for visit, talks and educational materials.
As a wider community amongst other schools, building on recent Teach Meets, we are looking to work with other education providers to maximise our potential, share good practice and resources, and see if further opportunities can arise that benefit our students and the school.
STRATEGIES TO ENSURE SUCCESS
- Use of exam questions in lessons as well as more difficult worded and contextualised problems. Challenge should involve deepening students understanding and not teaching them more difficult content (in some cases this may be appropriate).
- Using starter activities to recap knowledge for example, ten questions on key skills they need to know, progressing to exam questions – keep the questions the same every day for a week but change the company/industry example to ensure students have mastered their understanding before creating another set for the following week.
- Stretch and challenge packs – GCSE students are encouraged to learn more of the theories that their learning is based on. Understanding the A-Level standard work encourages higher level thinking and adds depth to their knowledge and ability to answer questions in a more-rounded way.
- The schemes of work have been adapted to allow teachers more time to teach each unit and provided multiple opportunities to access students’ understanding (teachers can pick when and how to deliver tests, homework, assessed classwork to fit the needs of their current position in the scheme of work). The aim of this is to increase the time teachers can spend extending students and ensuring they have a thorough knowledge of the topic before moving on.
- Reflect on schemes of work to ensure they are fit for purpose
- Expand resources to mirror schemes of work
- Expand contacts and networking across wider community (schools and businesses)
APPENDIX A - WHAT DOES THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM SAY?
Through coherent and rigorous content, the national curriculum for business studies at GCSE (“mastery”) level should…
- Enable students to understand more about the business world.
- Enable students to develop as commercially-minded and enterprising individuals who think critically, drawing on business information and evidence to develop arguments and make justified decisions.
- Motivate and challenge students, and prepare them to make informed decisions about further study and career pathways.
While at A-Level (“advanced stage”), without needing to have studies business before, it should encourage students to…
- Develop an enthusiasm for studying business
- Gain an holistic understanding of business in a range of contexts
- Develop a critical understanding of organisations and their ability to meet society’s needs and wants
- Understand that business behaviour can be studied from a range of perspectives
- Generate enterprising and creative approaches to business opportunities, problems and issues
- Be aware of the ethical dilemmas and responsibilities faced by organisations and individuals
- Acquire a range of relevant business and generic skills, including decision-making, problem-solving, the challenging of assumptions and critical analysis
- Apply numerical skills in a range of business contexts
The BTEC qualification ensures that it supports progression to higher education or to enter employment directly in to the business sector.
In the BTEC National units there are opportunities during the teaching and learning phase to give learners practice in developing employability skills such as:
- Cognitive and problem-solving skills: use critical thinking, approach non-routine problems applying expert and creative solutions, use systems and technology
- Intrapersonal skills: communicating, working collaboratively, negotiating and influencing, self-presentation
- Interpersonal skills: self-management, adaptability and resilience, self-monitoring and development.
The course also provides transferable knowledge and skills that prepare learners for progression to university, including:
- The ability to learn independently
- The ability to research actively and methodically
- Being able to give presentations and being active group members.