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Business Studies is a modern, dynamic subject which allows pupils to gain an insight into the business world.  The business knowledge gained, and the skills developed through GCSE and/or A Level will prove invaluable to pupils whether they work in a business or decide to set up their own business in the future.



Mrs E O’Halloran (HoD)

Mrs A Kelly

"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary"

—  Vidal Sassoon

Key Stage 4

Pupils study CCEA GCSE Business Studies

The GCSE Business Studies specification encourages students to investigate how businesses start up.  They explore the resources, marketing and finance that businesses need and the challenges they face.


They also examine how businesses grow and the role of stakeholders: groups that have an interest in a business.  They understand the role of human resources, the recruitment and selection process, and the value of employee training and motivation.


Important new topics include the role of social enterprise, e-business and m-business.  Students discover how businesses can use electronic and mobile technology in different ways.  They also learn to apply skills such as decision making, proposing business strategies or solutions, understanding other viewpoints and justifying decisions.


Assessment is through two written exams, each worth 40% of the final mark, and a controlled assessment unit worth 20%.


This specification is unitised, so it is possible to take part of the assessment at the end of the first year of study.


The specification has three units:


  • Unit 1: Starting a Business – assessed at end of YR11

  • Unit 2: Developing a Business – assessed at end of YR12

  • Unit 3: Planning a Business – this is the controlled assessment, assessed in YR12

Key Stage 5

Pupils study CCEA GCE Business Studies

The GCE Business Studies specification provides insight into how organisations meet stakeholders’ needs.  Students explore businesses’ decision-making and risk-taking processes.  They develop awareness of organisations’ ethical dilemmas and responsibilities.

Students also develop transferable skills that help them to access further education courses or become valued employees.  This course offers a foundation for careers in marketing, finance, accountancy, human resources or self-employment.


This specification is available at two levels: AS and A2.  Students can take the AS units plus the A2 units for a full GCE A level qualification.  They can also choose to take the AS course as a stand-alone qualification.


In the AS units, students explore business structures and the importance of recruiting and training a quality labour force.  They investigate the role of financial information in business decision making.


Students who continue to A2 gain insight into business planning, and how globalisation and sustainability issues affect business activities.


The specification has four units:


  • Unit AS 1: Introduction to Business

  • Unit AS 2: Growing the Business

  • Unit A2 1: Strategic Decision Making

  • Unit A2 2: The Competitive Business Environment

What pupils who study Business Studies have to say about it

  • You learn about stuff that is actually interesting & that will be useful in life so you NEVER sit thinking ‘why do I need to know this – I’m never going to use it’ IT’S ALL RELEVANT.

  • Some pupils told me not to do it as it would be too much work choosing a new subject – that was wrong – as long as you are prepared to work it’s really enjoyable.

  • You learn something new every lesson.

  • Choose it – you won’t regret it!! It’s now my favourite subject.


Business studies isn’t a subject that can be studied straight from a textbook.  The world of business is dynamic and so the subject must be like this as well.  This means that pupils must get to witness it in action and have opportunities to be entrepreneurial.  We do this via:


  • Guest speakers, attending business-related events, educational visits, class based mini enterprises and competitions with firms and organisations including Boots, Mash Direct, Conroy Hair, Creighton’s Garages, Coca-Cola, Aunt Sandra’s, Butler’s Chocolates, Belfast Zoo, Young Enterprise, Invest NI and ICAEW.

  • Departmental residential trips to Paris, London and Dublin which provide opportunities to witness international business.

  • Participation in our £1 challenge competition where pupils are given £1 each and challenged to grow this using whatever entrepreneurial ideas they have.


The top performing A Level candidate and the top performing GCSE candidate in Business Studies are acknowledged at the school’s annual prize-giving ceremony.


Both GCSE and A Level Business Studies provide an excellent foundation for further study and equip pupils with the managerial, leadership, organisational, decision-making and accounting skills which are vital in a wide range of careers in both the public and private sectors.  For example:


Marketing, Industrial Management, Business Studies and Law, Personnel Management, Hospitality Management, Retail Management, Communication, Advertising, Business Administration, Consumer Studies, Medicine, Pharmacy, Architecture, Business Studies and a language, Computing, Accountancy, Law and Self-Employment.

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