Subject content

Unit 1 - Setting up a Business

Setting up a Business

This unit introduces students to issues concerning the setting up and operation of a business. It explores the activities of business and the reasons for success or failure. It encourages students to appreciate that businesses must operate within society and that this involves businesses engaging with a wide range of stakeholders who will hold differing perspectives.

Starting a Business

 
1. Starting a Business

This section introduces students to the issues involved with starting a business.
SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

1.1 Starting a Business Enterprise

  • sources of business ideas
  • looking for a gap in the market
  • identification of a product or market niche
  • reasons for starting a business
  • franchises.
Students should understand what a business is and the reasons why businesses are set up, eg to produce goods, supply services, distribute products etc. Businesses should include social enterprises.

Students should understand the advantages and disadvantages of operating as a franchisee, rather than setting up an independent business.

1.2 Setting Business Aims and Objectives

  • types of business aims and objectives
  • purpose of setting objectives
  • using business objectives to measure success
  • influence of stakeholders on business objectives.
Students should be aware of the main types of business aims, including: survival, profit, growth, market share, customer satisfaction, ethical and sustainable.

Students should be familiar with the role of objectives in running a business and how they can be used to measure the success of a business.

Students should have an understanding of the importance of stakeholders in influencing the objectives of a small business.

1.3 Business Planning

  • the purpose of business planning
  • the main sections within a business start-up
    plan
  • uncertainty and risk for start-up businesses.
Students need to understand how business planning assists in the setting up of a business and the raising of finance.

Students should know the main sections of a business plan.

Students will not be expected to write a business plan.

Students need to be aware of the risks faced by businesses and what can be done to minimise risk.

1.4 Choosing the Appropriate Legal Structure for the Business

  • sole trader
  • partnership
  • private limited company (ltd).
Students should know the benefits and drawbacks of the different legal structures, including the appropriateness of gaining limited liability status, and the consequences of increasing the number and range of stakeholders.

1.5 Choosing the Location of the Business

  • factors influencing start-up location decisions.
Students should understand the factors influencing where a business is located, including: the availability of raw materials, transport, labour, competition/other businesses, technology, proximity to the market and costs.

Marketing

2. Marketing

This section provides students with an introduction to marketing within the context of a business with a limited budget. Consideration is given to the role of information technology in marketing.
SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

2.1 Conducting Market Research with Limited Budgets

  • reasons for conducting market research
  • market research methods.
Students should understand the methods of market research likely to be used by a business with a limited budget including: telephone and other surveys, questionnaires, customer/supplier feedback, focus groups and internet research.

2.2 Using the Marketing Mix

  • elements of the marketing mix
  • selecting an appropriate marketing mix for a small business
  • the use of ICT in assisting international marketing.

 

Students need to be familiar with the four elements of the marketing mix – Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Detailed knowledge of each, however, is not required.

Using a given scenario, students should be able to recommend appropriate marketing activities for a business with a limited budget.

Students should consider the products that a small business is likely to offer and how it could alter the products to meet customer needs. 

Students need to have an understanding of the basic relationship between price and demand, eg a price rise would probably affect the profits of a small business in a competitive market.

Students should understand the promotion methods suitable for a small business, given a limited budget, eg advertising in local newspapers, the Internet, use of personal recommendation and business cards.

When considering place, students should recognise the growing importance of e-commerce and how it can extend the reach of businesses to include international markets.

Finance

3. Finance

This section introduces students to the importance of finance to a business. It investigates sources of finance and financial advice when setting up a small business. Students will be introduced to basic financial terms and simple cash flow statements.
SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

3.1 Finance and Support for a Small Business

  • sources of finance
  • sources and types of advice available to small businesses.

 

Students need to be aware of the difficulties that many new businesses face when attempting to raise funds.

Students should be familiar with the main sources of finance available to a small business, including: overdraft, bank loans and mortgages, loans from friends and family, and grants.

Students should be aware of organisations that can support small businesses.

3.2 Financial Terms and Simple Calculations

  • basic financial terms
  • calculating profit and loss.

 

Students need to understand the terms: price, sales, revenue, costs and profit and the relationship between these.

Students should be able to perform simple calculations based on these figures to determine profit/loss.

3.3 Using Cash Flow

  • interpreting simple cash flow statements
  • the importance of cash flow statements
  • identifying solutions to cash flow problems.

 

Students should be able to interpret simple cash flow statements. 

Students need to understand the consequences of cash flow problems and that these could lead to the business going into receivership and closing down. 

Students should be able to recommend possible solutions to cash flow problems, such as re-scheduling payments and receipts of income. 

Students will not be expected to complete a cash flow statement.

People in Businesses

4. People in Businesses

This section considers suitable ways by which businesses might recruit, motivate and retain staff.
SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

4.1 Recruiting

  • the need for recruitment
  • recruitment methods
  • remuneration
  • monetary and non-monetary benefits.

 

Students should understand the benefits of full and part-time employment to the business.

Students need to understand the appropriate internal and external methods by which a business might recruit staff, such as: personal recommendation, advertising and interviewing.

Students should have an understanding of the factors that determine the level of wages/salaries paid to employees, including levels of skill and experience.

Students should have an understanding of the use of other monetary benefits, including pension payments and bonuses.

Students need to understand the use of non-monetary rewards to employees, such as fringe benefits.

4.2 Motivating Staff

  • benefits to the business of motivated staff
  • methods of motivation used by small businesses.

 

Students should understand the benefits to the business of having well-motivated staff. Students should be able to suggest relevant ways by which small businesses might motivate their employees. These could include: training, greater responsibility and financial rewards.

4.3 Protecting Staff through Understanding Legislation

  • equal pay and minimum wage laws
  • discrimination
  • employment rights
  • health and safety.

 

Students need to have an understanding of the legal responsibilities of employers and their staff. Whilst it is not necessary to be able to name and quote from an Act of Parliament, students require a broad understanding of how such laws can affect small businesses.

Operations Management

5. Operations Management

This section considers the importance of operational decisions in managing a business. It explores how operations management can help a business to be more effective, and the role technology can play in this process.
SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

5.1 Production Methods for Manufacturing and Providing a Service

  • methods of production
  • efficiency and technology
  • quality issues.

 

Students should be familiar with job and batch production methods and understand when each is appropriate. 

Students should understand the importance to businesses of operating efficiently and the ways in which costs might be lowered, especially with changes in technology. 

Students should have an understanding of customer expectations of quality.

5.2 Customer Service

  • importance of customer service
  • consumer protection
  • impact of ICT.

 

Students should be aware of the importance to small businesses of providing good service to customers, including: reliability, product information and good after sales service.

Students need to understand that customers are protected by law, which influences businesses, such as the fitness for purpose of the product sold. A detailed knowledge of consumer protection legislation is not required.

Students should be familiar with the ways in which advances in ICT have allowed customer services to develop, such as the use of websites, e-commerce and global and international markets.

Assessment

Assessment

Full course

When taken as part of a full course, this unit will be assessed by an external written assessment of 60 marks and 1 hour in length.

Short Course

The GCSE Short Course in Business Studies consists of Unit 13 and Unit 14 but does not include Unit 1. The subject content for Unit 13, which is the same as Unit 1, is assessed as an external assessment of 40 marks and 1 hour in length and Unit 14, a controlled assessment.

Unit 2 - Growing as a Business

The Business Organisation

1. The Business Organisation

This section builds upon the work of Unit 1, and considers how the methods of expansion and objectives of larger businesses might differ from smaller businesses.
SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

1.1 Expanding a Business

  • benefits and risks of expansion
  • methods of expansion
  • conflict between stakeholders.
Students should understand the benefits and risks to a business of expanding and be aware of methods of expansion used by large businesses, for example: mergers and takeovers, organic growth and franchising.

Students should consider the ways in which the growth of a business can impact on its stakeholders. Students need to consider the ways in which stakeholders might react to protect their own interests.

1.2 Choosing the Right Legal Structure for the Business

  • private limited companies (ltd)
  • public limited companies (plc).
Students should understand the advantages and disadvantages of a private limited company becoming a public limited company.

Students will not be expected to know about the legal process of incorporation.

1.3 Changing Business Aims and Objectives

  • reasons for changing aims and objectives as businesses grow
  • ethical and environmental considerations.
Students should consider how the aims and objectives of larger businesses might differ from smaller businesses, for instance becoming the dominant business in the market or expanding internationally. 

Students should be familiar with the wider social costs and benefits facing business operation, such as ethical and environmental considerations, and why it might be in the interests of a business to consider these issues within its objectives.

1.4 Choosing the Best Location

  • the importance of location to growing businesses
  • issues relating to overseas location.
Students should understand the importance of location to growing businesses in terms of minimising costs and increasing revenues. 

Students need to be able to consider the issues relating to international or global expansion. These issues include physical presence in international markets and cost considerations.

Marketing

2. Marketing

This section builds upon marketing concepts introduced in Unit 1 and relates them to the context of a growing business. Students will investigate each component of the marketing mix and review how a large business may choose the most appropriate components of the marketing mix and alter its marketing mix in response to market forces.

SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

2.1 The Marketing Mix – Product

  • product portfolio/mix
  • product life cycle.

Students should understand how and why businesses might broaden and balance their product portfolio as they grow.

Students should understand that the demand for a product or service might change over time. They should be aware of the various stages of the product life cycle: development, introduction, growth, maturity and decline.

Students should be aware of the methods that a company might adopt to extend the life of a product in its decline phase, and the impact these strategies might have on other aspects of the business.

2.2 Using the Marketing Mix – Price

  • pricing decisions for growth
  • factors affecting pricing decisions.

Students should understand how pricing can be used to facilitate business growth. These include: price skimming, price penetration, competitive pricing, loss leader and cost-plus.

Students should be able to recognise the factors which might influence the pricing decision, eg the nature of the market, and the degree of competition.

2.3 Using the Marketing Mix – Promotion

  • promotional activities to enable growth
  • selecting the promotional mix.

Students should be familiar with the promotional methods which are likely to be employed by growing businesses. These include: advertising, sales promotion, sponsorship and direct marketing.

Students should be able to recognise the factors influencing the selection of the promotional mix, eg the nature of the market, the nature of the product, and the activities of competitors.

2.4 Using the Marketing Mix – Place

  • channels of distribution to enable growth
  • selecting channels of distribution.

Students should be familiar with the different channels of distribution used by businesses to gain access to potential customers. These include: retailers, wholesalers, telesales, mail order and internet selling.

Students should be able to recognise the appropriateness of each distribution method for a given scenario.

Finance

3. Finance

This section introduces students to aspects of finance faced by large businesses. Students will become familiar with the sources of finance available to large businesses, compared to the small/start-up businesses covered in Unit 1. Basic, simplified financial statements are introduced in this section and students will be expected to be able to analyse the content of these documents.

SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

3.1 Finance for Large Businesses

  • sources of finance available
  • appropriateness of the sources.

Students need to be familiar with the main methods that a large business might use to raise funds. These include: retained profits, a new share issue, obtaining a loan or mortgage and selling unwanted assets.

Students should be able to recognise the advantages and disadvantages of each method for a given situation.

3.2 Profit and Loss Accounts and Balance Sheets

  • purpose of financial statements
  • components of financial statements
  • interpretation of data given on financial statements. 

Students should understand the importance of a profit and loss account and balance sheet to the stakeholders when assessing the performance of the business.

Students should be able to identify the various components of a profit and loss account and balance sheet.

Students should be able to make judgements on the performance of a business through interpretation of the information contained in simplified versions of the profit and loss accounts, balance sheet and by the application of gross and net profit margins and current and acid test ratios.

Students will be given the relevant formulae for ratios, where appropriate, as part of the examination paper.

People in Business

4. People in Businesses

This section introduces students to the human resources function in a large business. Students will also be introduced to the different organisational structures of a business and the processes by which businesses recruit, motivate and retain their employees.

SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

4.1 Reorganising Organisational Charts and Management Hierarchies

  • internal organisational structures
  • appropriateness of centralisation/decentralisation for growing businesses.

 

 

Students should be familiar with internal organisation structures, organisation trees, and layers of management.

Students should understand the term 'span of control'. They should be aware of the effect that the shape of the organisational structure has on how the organisation is managed.

Students should be familiar with the concepts of centralisation and decentralisation and the benefits and challenges that both can bring to a business.

4.2 Recruitment and Retention of Staff

  • the staff recruitment process
  • appraisal and training
  • methods of motivation
  • retention of staff.

Student should understand the process that businesses use to recruit and select new employees.

Students should understand the benefits of an induction training programme and what might be included in it.

Students should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of on the job training, such as in house training, and off the job training such as external courses.

Students should understand how and why businesses use an appraisal or performance review system.

Students should understand the methods by which businesses motivate and retain suitable employees, including the roles of training, remuneration and styles of management. Specific motivational theories (such as Maslow) will not be examined.

Operations Management

5. Operations Management

This section introduces students to the organisation of production or service provision. Students will increase their understanding of production methods to include flow production. The concepts of efficiency and quality assurance are introduced in this section.

SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

5.1 Production Methods for Growing Businesses

  • use of flow production
  • efficient production methods
  • lean production techniques.

Students should be familiar with flow production and how this can create efficient use of resources. Students should understand how specialisation and division of labour can impact on efficiency.

Students should consider how production might be made more efficient by the use of lean production techniques, eg Just In Time and the impact these might have on employees (such as training and motivation).

5.2 Recognising Challenges of Growth

  • advantages of growth
  • disadvantages of growth.

Students should understand the ways, both internal and external, in which large businesses obtain a cost advantage over smaller businesses.

Students should also consider how the disadvantages of growth might occur within a growing business, eg longer chains of communication and complexities within the production process.

5.3 Maintaining Quality Assurance in Growing Businesses

  • identifying quality problems
  • methods of maintaining consistent quality.

Students should be aware of the possible quality issues that growing businesses face, eg consistency and the cost of maintaining quality (outsourcing, inspection costs).

Students should be aware of the methods of maintaining consistent quality, including concepts such as Total Quality Management (TQM). 

Assessment

This unit builds upon the content of Unit 1, allowing students to study businesses as they grow and the issues that expansion raises.

Assessment

This unit will be assessed by an external written assessment of 60 marks and 1 hour in length.

Unit 3 - Investigating Businesses

Task Setting

Task Setting

All controlled assessment tasks will be set by AQA.

Tasks will be replaced each year and will only be available for one assessment opportunity.

AQA will provide centres with pre-released material which will require students to undertake a business investigation.

Task Taking

Task Taking

  • Preparation 

Before students carry out their investigation of the business, schools should prepare them by covering the relevant section(s) of the specification.

During this phase, schools should ensure that students are familiar with the skills which will be assessed, especially the need to evaluate their findings.

  • Research and Planning

It is suggested that between five and eight hours should be allocated for students to research the business.

During the research and planning phase, teachers may give feedback to individual students to support them in their learning, but this assistance must be recorded.

Students may work with others during the research and planning stage. Each student must, however, produce an individual response to the tasks.

Final Presentation

Final Presentation

Students should spend up to three hours writing up their findings. (Additional time can be given for students with special assessment requirements). This time may be divided into more than one session, provide that the teacher collects all materials at the end of each session, keeps them under secure conditions and returns them to students at the beginning of the next session. Schools are not allowed to give feedback to students during this time.

When completing their work, students must work independently under teacher supervision.

Task Marking

Task Marking

Schools must mark all controlled assessments using the marking criteria shown in the specification.  All controlled assessment work will be moderated by AQA according to the procedures outlined in section 7 of the specification. This, along with the marking criteria is available to download here.

Assessment

This unit is a controlled assessment unit. The work must be each student's own individual response and must be produced under controlled conditions.

Assessment

This unit will be assessed by means of a controlled assessment. The work must be the student's own individual response produced under controlled conditions.

Unit 4 - People in Business

People in Business

 

1. Business Organisation

In this section students will investigate how businesses organise their staff and define their job roles.
They will also investigate the working arrangements of staff at different levels of hierarchy within businesses
and how these meet the needs of the business.
SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

1.1 Investigating Organisational Structures

  • interpreting organisation charts
  • how communication and decision-making takes place within organisations.
Students should know how to identify the levels of hierarchy and chain of command using an organisation chart.

Students should understand that communication and decision-making do not necessarily occur in ways indicated by organisation charts, eg unofficial channels of communication and specially convened decision-making groups.

1.2 Investigating Job Roles

  • the use of job descriptions
  • defining job roles.

 

Students should understand the use of job descriptions to define job roles and provide information about them, ie job title, accountability, duties and responsibilities, hours of work and rates of pay.

Students should be able to identify the key job roles in medium to large sized businesses, including: managers, supervisors and employees.

Students should investigate the following aspects of job roles: key responsibilities, tasks or activities, job security, decision-making and problem-solving, skills, qualifications and personal qualities required.

1.3 Investigating Working Arrangements

  • the use of employment contracts
  • the importance of flexible working
    arrangements.

Students should be familiar with the contents of employment contracts, including: permanency, hours of work, place(s) of work, pay and benefits.

Students should be aware of the importance of flexible working arrangements and the reasons why they sometimes need to be altered, eg to increase productivity or improve the quality of products. Students should be able to explain how these changes can affect the welfare and morale of employees.

Employee Motivation

2. Employee Motivation

In this section students will investigate the factors motivating employees. The study of motivation should
be practical and focus on factors affecting motivation and the actual methods of motivation used by
businesses.
SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

2.1 Effective Working Relationships

  • impact of legislation
  • importance of employer expectations
  • importance of employee expectations.

 

Students should be aware of the impact of legislation on effective working relationships, such as: equal pay, discrimination linked to disability, gender and race, employment rights, working hours and health and safety.

Students should understand the importance of employer expectations, such as: employees meeting terms of their contracts, co-operation of employees in meeting the objectives of the business and employees following health and safety regulations.

Students should understand the importance of employee expectations, such as: being paid according to their contract, being provided with a safe working environment, receiving appropriate training and being permitted to join trade unions or staff associations.

2.2 Motivating Staff

  • factors affecting motivation
  • methods of motivating employees
  • importance of appraisal and training.

 

Students should be aware of the varied factors that motivate employees such as: positive appraisal, suitable working conditions, acceptable levels of pay and appropriate training.

Students should understand that the relative importance of motivational factors will vary for each employee.

Students should understand how businesses use appraisal/performance review and training, including on the job training (eg job shadowing, rotation and mentoring) and off the job training (eg external courses and placements).

Knowledge of specific motivational theories (such as Maslow) is not required.

Attributes of Employees

3. Attributes of Employees

In this section students will explore their own skills and personality traits, considering how these indicate
their suitability for particular types of occupations.
SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

3.1 Understanding Personal Skills Profiles

  • the range of personal skills
  • producing a personal skills profile
  • the importance of personal skills.
Students should be aware of the range of skills that individuals have to offer potential employers, such as: team working, entrepreneurial skills, self confidence, motivation, communication skills, supervisory skills.

Students should be able to explain how these skills can be identified through the use of psychometric tests and the extent to which businesses use these in their recruitment process.

3.2 Understanding Personality Tests

  • the importance of personality tests
  • relevance for career planning.
Students should be able to describe how personality tests are used to identify and describe personality traits. They should be aware of the importance of identifying the skills and personality traits of individuals to establish the right type of occupation.

Assessment

Assessment

This unit will be assessed by means of a controlled assessment. The work must be the student's own individual response produced under controlled conditions.

Task Setting

Task Setting

This unit will be assessed on a portfolio of evidence, based on the student's own research of a business, which must investigate:

A  how organising staff and defining their job roles contribute to the success of the business

B  the key factors motivating a manager, supervisor and employee within the business

C  whether the business might be suitable to you as a future place of employment, taking into account your own skills and personality traits.

Students' portfolios must include evidence of materials used to make at least one presentation on the suitability of the business as a future place of employment.

Unit 5 - Marketing and Customer Needs

Customer Needs

 

1. Customer Needs

In this section students will explore how businesses carry out customer research in order to identify and understand the needs of their customers and, therefore, attempt to meet them.

SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

1.1 Understanding Customer Needs

  •  the range of customer needs
  • the importance of customer characteristics.
Students should be aware of the different types of customer needs, including: understanding the value and suitability of a product, information about a product and its functions and reassurance about after-sales services.

Students should understand how customer needs change according to the customer's characteristics. These customer characteristics include: age, sex, location, socio-economic factors and lifestyle.

1.2 Measuring Customer Satisfaction

  • methods of customer research
  • presenting the results of customer research
  • analysing the results of customer research to meet customer needs.

Students should be aware of the different methods of carrying out customer research. These should include: use of existing business data (eg sales records, complaints and returned goods), primary research such as questionnaires, observations, customer panels or interviews.

Students should be aware of the ways in which customer research can be presented, including the use of tables, charts and line graphs.

Students should be able to analyse the results of customer research by recognising significat features of the results and any trends or patterns within them.

Marketing Activities

2. Marketing Activities

In this section students will explore the ways in which businesses try to establish an advantage over their competitors by altering their marketing activities. The study of marketing activities should focus on how businesses use these activities in practice. Consideration should be given to how technology is, or could be, used to enhance these activities.
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

2.1 Selecting Products

  • developing a product range.
Students should understand why businesses remove, modify and add products to their product ranges.

2.2 Setting Prices

  • the factors influencing pricing decisions.
Students should be aware of the factors that influence a products price. These include: the cost of the product, customer value and competitor prices.

2.3 Using Promotional Activities

  • the range of promotional activities available to businesses
  • communicating with customers.
Students should be aware of the following promotional activities: personal selling, merchandising, sales promotion and advertising.

Students should understand how businesses select the method and content of promotional activities to communicate effectively with customers.

2.4 Choosing Appropriate Outlets/Distributors

  • factors influencing the choice of outlets/distributors
  • the impact of technology.
This should focus on a practical consideration of how businesses select the most appropriate outlet/distributor.

Students should be aware of how technology, such as ICT, has created new outlet/distribution opportunities.

2.5 Marketing Activities and Competition

  • identifying competitors
  • establishing a competitive advantage
  • the importance of location.

 

Students should be able to identify the following features of competitors: prices charged for similar products, characteristics of similar products, location and promotional activities used.

Students should be aware of how businesses respond to competition by altering their marketing activities to establish a competitive advantage, eg by offering new products or implementing new promotional activities.

Students should understand how the location of a business affects its ability to deal with competitors, eg proximity to customers and competitors.

Customer Service

3. Customer Service

In this section students will investigate the meaning and importance of customer service and how businesses decide on the level of customer service they will offer to their customers.
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

3.1 Effective Customer Service

  • the features of customer service
  • the importance of customer service.

 

Students should be familiar with the features of customer service relating to: staff (eg helpfulness and communication skills), premises (eg layout, directions and range of facilities), delivery of goods (eg availability and speed), and after-sales care (eg exchange of goods and guarantees).

The importance of customer service should be considered in terms of its ability to: gain/retain customers, gain customer satisfaction and loyalty and improve the image and reputation of the business.

3.2 Altering the Levels of Customer Service

  • meeting the needs of the target market
  • the impact of technology.

 

Students should be aware of how businesses alter customer service features (eg after-sales care) according to the needs of their target markets. They should be aware of the ways in which the level of customer service offered can be matched against the requirements of different target markets, eg whether or not to provide dedicated telephone support lines.

The impact of technology should be considered in terms of how it can be used to improve and develop customer service, especially through the use of email and websites.

Assessment

Assessment

This unit will be assessed by means of a controlled assessment. The work must be the student's own individual response, produced under controlled conditions.

Task Setting

Task Setting

This unit will be assessed on a portfolio of evidence, based on the student's own research of a business which must investigate:

A    how measuring customer satisfaction contributes to the success of the business

B    the key marketing activities and customer service used by the business to meet customer needs

C    whether the business is successfully meeting customer needs, taking into account the activities of competitors.

Students' portfolios must include evidence of materials used to make one presentation on whether the business is successfully meeting customer needs.

Task Taking

Task Taking

  • Preparation

Before students embark on their investigation, schools should prepare them by teaching the key terms and concepts contained within this unit. It is anticipated that this will take up to 50 hours.

During this phase, you should also ensure that students are familiar with the marking criteria and are aware of the need to evaluate their findings.

  • Research and Planning

Having taught the topics, it is suggested that students spend about 17 hours researching the business.

During the research and planning phase, teachers may give feedback to individual students to support them in their learning but this assistance must be recorded.

Students may work with others during the research and planning stage. Each student must, however, produce an individual response to the tasks.

Final Presentation

Final Presentation

Students should spend about seven hours writing up their findings. While writing up their response students must work independently and complete all work under supervision.

This time may be divided into more than one session, provided that the teacher collects all materials at the end of each session, keeps them under secure conditions and returns them to students at the beginning of the next session.

Task Marking

Task Marking

Schools must mark all controlled assessments using the marking criteria shown in the specification.  All controlled assessment work will be moderated by AQA according to the procedures outlined in section 7 of the specification. This, along with the marking criteria is available to download here.

Unit 6 - Enterprise

Understanding Enterprise

 

1. Understanding Enterprise

The aim of this section is to provide a broad overview of enterprise skills that are present in successful entrepreneurs. This section also seeks to introduce students to the idea that enterprise skills are not only found in businesses (for profit organisations), but also in social enterprise (not for profit organisations, charities etc).
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

1.1 Understanding Enterprise

  • the range of enterprise skills
  • the importance of enterprise skills
  • the benefits of starting a business or enterprise.

 

Students should identify enterprise skills, including: self confidence and motivation, risk taking, being able to identify and take advantage of marketing opportunities, innovation, building teams, a 'can do' attitude and a determination to succeed.

Students should be able to understand the importance of enterprise skills to all types of organisations including both profit and not for profit organisations. 

Students should consider the relative importance of the skills in determining the success of enterprising activities. 

Students should be able to explain the benefits of running a business or enterprise, and what is required from them to be successful.

Planning and Implementing an Enterprise Activity

 

2. Planning and Implementing an Enterprise Activity

After exploring enterprise skills, students will set up and run a small enterprise. Students may set up a business or a social enterprise. Central to this section will be identifying and selecting a business opportunity, conducting market research and writing a business plan. Students will implement the enterprise outlined in their business plan. They will understand that plans rarely remain unchanged when being implemented and are subject to external and internal influences.
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

2.1 Planning an Enterprise Activity

  • selecting and developing the business idea
  • carrying out market research
  • developing the business plan

 

Students should understand the need to carry out a risk and reward assessment and SWOT analysis before starting the activity. 

Students should understand the need to carry out market research to establish the likely success of the activity. This includes the collection, collation and analysis of marketing information for a business.

When developing the business plan, students should include: business aims and objectives, forecasted sales and costs, cash flow forecast and profit/income calculation.

2.2 Setting up the Team to Run the Enterprise Activity

  • benefits of team work
  • allocating tasks
  • setting individual targets
  • effective communication.

Students should understand the benefits of team work by recognising the strengths and weaknesses of individual members and the different roles that each will have within the team.

Students should set objectives for the enterprise plan and break them down into individual tasks. Students should be able to organise the resources to enable the plan to be implemented. 

Students should understand the importance of setting targets which are SMART. 

Students should consider how effective communication takes place both within the team and with other stakeholders.

2.3 Implementing the Enterprise Activity

  • importance of motivation
  • management of risk
  • monitoring performance.

 

While implementing the enterprise activity students will consider the need for motivation, both self motivation and motivation of others. They will need to understand the relationship between incentives and motivation. 

Students should investigate how risks are managed as the activity is implemented. 

Students should be aware of the importance of continually monitoring the performance of the activity to establish its success.

Evaluating the Enterprise

3. Evaluating the Enterprise 

Students should undertake an in depth evaluation of their individual team role as well as that of the group. Following in depth reflection about their business, students should produce an action plan for both their personal development and the development of the business, in light of their enterprise experience.
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

3.1 Evaluating the Enterprise

  • meeting targets
  • team performance
  • individual performance
  • personal development.

 

Students need to assess to what extent their various targets were met at each of the critical stages in the enterprise process. 

Students will need to assess how each individual within the team contributed to the overall performance of the business. 

Students should analyse their own contribution to the success of the business explaining clearly what they have learned from the experience. 

Students should be able to produce an action plan for their own future personal development, indicating the steps they will take to improve.

Students should be able to produce an action plan for the development of the business, highlighting the main factors which need to be addressed in order to achieve future success.

Assessment

In this unit students will develop and explore the attributes associated with enterprise and entrepreneurship. They will do this by planning, implementing and evaluating an enterprise activity.

Assessment

This unit will be assessed by means of a controlled assessment. The work must be the student's own individual response, produced under controlled conditions.

Task Setting

Task Setting

This unit will be assessed on a portfolio of evidence, based on the student's own research into setting up and running an enterprise activity which must investigate:

A how enterprise skills contribute to the success of enterprising activities

B the planning and implementation of an enterprise activity

C whether the enterprise activity was planned and implemented effectively, taking into account your own contributions and those of other team members.

Students' portfolios must include evidence of materials used to make one presentation on whether the enterprise activity was planned and implemented effectively.

Task Taking

Task Taking

  • Preparation 

Before students embark on their Enterprise, schools should prepare students by teaching the key terms and concepts contained within this unit. It is anticipated that this will take up to 50 hours.

During this phase, you should also ensure that students are familiar with the marking criteria and are aware of the need to evaluate their findings.

  • Planning and Implementing

Having taught the topics, it is suggested that you give candidates about 17 hours to plan and implement the Enterprise Activity.

During the planning and implementing phase, you may give feedback to individual students to support them in their learning but this assistance must be recorded.

Students will need to work with others during the planning and implementing stage. Each student must, however, produce an individual response to the tasks.

Final Presentation

Final Presentation

Students should spend about seven hours evaluating the Enterprise and writing up their findings. While writing up their response students must work independently and complete all work under supervision.

This time may be divided into more than one session, provided that the teacher collects all materials at the end of each session, keeps them under secure conditions and returns them to students at the beginning of the next session.

Task Marking

Task Marking

Schools must mark all controlled assessments using the marking criteria shown in the specification.  All controlled assessment work will be moderated by AQA according to the procedures outlined in section 7 of the specification. This, along with the marking criteria is available to download here.

Unit 7 - Business Finance

Costs and Break-Even

1. Costs and Break-Even

This section investigates the nature of the costs that businesses face and how these costs combine with sales revenue to create a break-even output. The purpose, use and limitations of break-even analysis will be considered.
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

1.1 Business Costs

  • identifying business costs. 

 

Students should be able to identify and explain the different types of costs including: fixed, variable and semi-variable costs.

1.2 Using Break-Even Analysis to Make Decisions

  • purpose of break-even
  • calculation of break-even
  • interpretation of break-even.

 

Students should be able to explain that break-even analysis allows a business to make decisions about changing costs or revenues. 

Students need to be able to calculate break-even from a break-even chart or using a formula. 

Students need to be aware of the effects that changes in costs and revenue have on break-even. This will include the use of 'what if' scenarios, such as the introduction of new products or services and increased fixed or semi-variable costs.

Understanding and Using Financial Statements

2. Understanding and Using Financial Statements

This section considers how a business can be financed. This section will investigate the preparation of Profit and Loss Accounts and Balance Sheets and their use to the stakeholders of the business.
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

2.1 Sources of Business Finance

  • identifying suitable sources of finance.
Students will need to be able to identify and explain the appropriate sources of finance available to a business including: owners' funds, retained profits, loans and mortgages, overdrafts, leasing, issuing shares and venture capital.

2.2 Profit and Loss Accounts

  • importance of profit and loss accounts to a business
  • calculation of profit or loss
  • use of profit and loss accounts.
Students will need to be able to explain that a profit and loss account shows the amount of net profit or loss a business has made during a period of time.

In order to calculate net profit or loss, students need to be able to use sales, cost of sales, gross profit and expenses in a profit and loss account. 

Students need to understand the importance of the profit or loss figures to the stakeholders when assessing the performance of the business.

2.3 Balance Sheet

  • importance of a balance sheet to a business
  • preparing a balance sheet
  • using a balance sheet to attract investors.

 

Students need to understand that a balance sheet shows the financial position of a business at a particular point in time.

In order to prepare a simple balance sheet, students need to be able to use and understand fixed and current assets, long-term and current liabilities and owners' funds.

Students need to understand the importance of a balance sheet to the stakeholders of a business, including indicating the current level of debt and the availability of assets to be able to secure finance.

Financial Planning and Forecasting

3. Financial Planning and Forecasting

Financial statements, such as cash-flow forecasts, provide useful information for the owners and other stakeholders of a business. This section will investigate how financial statements can be analysed by use of financial ratios and ICT so that meaningful decisions can be made.
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

3.1 Cash-Flow Forecasts

  • importance of cash-flow forecasts to a business
  • completing a cash-flow forecast
  • using a cash-flow forecast to solve problems
  • using ICT.

 

Students need to understand that a cash-flow forecast is an aid to planning for the future.

Students will need to be able to complete a simple cash-flow forecast that shows the total inflows and outflows of a business and opening and closing balances of cash. 

Students need to be able to interpret a cash-flow forecast and identify possible problems, such as regular outflows outstripping inflows, larger than expected bills and too large a level of surplus cash. They should be able to provide suitable solutions, such as re-scheduling payments and receipts of income. 

Students need to be able to explain how the use of ICT, such as a spreadsheet, can help a business in the construction of cash-flow forecasts and help in financial decision-making.

3.2 Financial Ratios

  • purpose of financial ratios
  • calculation of financial ratios
  • interpretation of financial ratios.

Students need to understand that financial ratios provide a basis for comparison between figures from different years or between other similar businesses. 

Students may be required to calculate from provided formulae the current ratio, acid-test, gross and net profit margins and simple return on capital employed. 

Students will need to be able to interpret these ratios to make judgements about the solvency and profitability of a business.

Assessment

Assessment

This unit will be assessed by an external written assessment of 60 marks and 1 hour in length.

Unit 8 - ICT Systems in Business

Administration

 

1. Administration

This section introduces students to the importance of administration and how it supports the main functions of a business from its initial setting up to ensuring its continued survival and growth when faced with increasing competition.
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

1.1 The Business Environment

  • aims and objectives of business
  • the criteria for judging the success of a business
  • the influence of stakeholders.

Students should be able to identify the principal aims and objectives of a business and understand how they are used to assess its success, eg profitability, job creation, market share, growth and ethics.

Students should be aware of the different stakeholders in a business and in particular the ways in which employees interact with customers.

Students should appreciate how the interests of different stakeholders can impose constraints on a business, eg the need for profitability, sustainability, customer satisfaction, government legislation and employee organisations.

1.2 Business Administration

  • the role of administration
  • how administration supports the main business functions
  • the importance of accuracy in the preparation, storage and retrieval of information
  • job roles
  • routine and non-routine tasks
  • routine and non-routine decision-making
  • prioritising and planning.

Students should understand that administration involves the storing, processing, retrieving and disseminating of information to support the business functions (ie human resources, finance, operations, marketing and sales, customer service and research and development). Students should be aware of the importance of administration in ensuring the efficient running of a business, enabling it to respond to actual and potential competition.

Students should be aware of the range of job roles (ie managers, supervisors and operatives) and be able to identify appropriate titles and responsibilities within different management structures (eg flat or hierarchical).

Students should understand the difference between routine tasks (such as filing, inputting data) and non-routine tasks (such as dealing with new product development). Students should understand the difference between routine and non-routine decision-making and identify the appropriate decision-makers.

Students should understand the importance of planning, eg for a meeting, and the consequences of poor planning for a business. Students should understand the processes involved in planning and prioritising.

1.3 Workplace Organisation

  • different kinds of working environment
  • advantages and disadvantages of different office layouts
  • impact of modern developments on working practices
  • ergonomics
  • sustainability.

Students should be able to describe the layout and organisation of open plan and cellular offices and how office layout is influenced by the needs of the business and the nature of the task.

Students should be able to assess the advantages and disadvantages of different office layouts.

Students should understand how technological changes such as video conferencing, teleconferencing and hot desking have affected working practices. They should recognise the positive and negative effects on business of the growth in flexible working, eg teleworking, homeworking and flexitime.

Students should be aware of the importance of designing tasks and work areas so as to maximize work efficiency and quality.

Students should be aware of the increasing importance of using resources in an environmentally friendly manner.

1.4 Health and Safety at Work

  • the importance of health and safety in the workplace.
Students should be aware of the responsibilities of employers to provide a safe working environment and for employees to act in a safe manner. Students should be aware of how health and safety regulations affect ICT users, (eg the Display Screen Regulations) and their implications on workstations and office layout.

1.5 ICT Data Systems in Business

  • data sources
  • data input devices
  • data storage devices
  • data output devices.

 

Students should be aware that there are a wide range of primary and secondary sources of data. Students should appreciate the need to collect accurate and relevant data which can be processed appropriately.

Students should understand the purposes and appropriateness of the main:

  • data input devices: keyboard, scanner, digital camera, data forms (manual and database) and voice recognition
  • data storage devices: hard disks, CDs/DVDs and high capacity storage devices, such as USB memory sticks
  • data output devices: printers, monitors and projectors.

1.6 Security of Data

  • methods of protecting data
  • data protection legislation.
Students should understand the importance of the security of data (personal and financial) and the main methods of protecting data from unauthorised access (both internally and externally) including virus protection software, firewalls, passwords, encryption of documents and screen-savers.

Students should be aware that the Data Protection Act places legal restrictions on the collection, storage and communication of personal data.

Human Resources

2. Human Resources

This section introduces students to the importance of people in helping businesses achieve their objectives. In particular the importance of recruiting, retaining and rewarding staff, and providing a safe working environment.
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

2.1 Recruitment and Selection of Staff

  • contracts of employment
  • methods of internal and external recruitment
  • job description and person specification.

 

Students should be aware of the different types of contracts: temporary, part-time and permanent and know their most important features, eg job position, place of work, hours of work and salary.

Students should understand the process involved in the recruitment and selection of staff, both internally and externally.

Students should be aware of the methods used to recruit staff including notice boards, job centres, agencies, advertisements in newspapers and the trade press, as well as the increasing use of the internet to recruit on line.

Students should know how to match a person's knowledge and skills obtained from an application form and Curriculum Vitae (CV) against a job description and person specification to produce a short-list of candidates.  

2.2 Training

  • methods of training
  • induction
  • in-house training
  • off-the-job training.

Students need to be aware of how a business can develop and train its staff both in-house and externally.

Students should be able to choose the most appropriate method of training for particular purposes.

Students should be able to identify the benefits of staff development training both to the individual and the business.

2.3 Rewarding Staff

  • methods of remuneration
  • other forms of reward.
Students should know the different methods of remuneration such as wages and salaries, overtime, bonus and commission and be able to carry out simple pay calculations.

Students should be aware of other forms of reward paid to staff, including fringe benefits, such as staff discounts, medical care and life insurance.

2.4 Employment Rights and Responsibilities

  • equal opportunities.
Students should be aware of current legislation affecting employment rights and responsibilities and equal opportunities such as those relating to discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, disability and age.

Communication

3. Communication

This section provides students with an understanding of the structure and importance of communication systems in meeting the aims and objectives of business.
SPECIFICATIONAMPLIFICATION

3.1 The Purpose of Communication

  • the importance of communication
  • the benefits of communication.

 

Students should be able to describe the purposes of communication, eg the acquisition and dissemination of information or data both internally within teams and hierarchies and across the business, and externally with clients and other stakeholders.

Students need to know the importance of communicating a message in an appropriate form to ensure its clarity and accuracy as well as putting across the image and tone the business wishes to convey.

Students need to know the benefits of effective communication, eg if staff are well-informed they are likely to be more motivated to provide a high quality customer service, enhancing the image of the business and helping it achieve its objectives.

3.2 Communication Systems

  • the process of communication
  • channels of communication
  • methods of communication
  • choosing the most appropriate communication medium
  • barriers to communication.

Students should be able to understand the process of communication, identifying the sender, the receiver(s), the message and the medium.

Students should be aware of the different channels of communication, such as: formal/informal, internal/external, confidential/non-confidential and urgent/non-urgent.

Students should know that there are different methods of communication and that these can be categorised as: oral, visual, written and pictorial.

Students should be able to choose the most appropriate medium of communication, taking into account the content of the message and the audience, eg oral (telephone, face-to-face meetings), visual (video conferencing, electronic notice boards), written (memos, letters, financial documents, advertisements, e-mail messages) and graphical (production drawings, graphs and charts).

Students should be able to describe the features of the selected medium (eg the features of mobile phones, presentation software) and evaluate its appropriateness to a particular context.

Students should be aware of the barriers that can prevent effective communication taking place, such as the use of jargon, noise, poor choice of communication channel or medium (eg using a mobile phone when the signal is unreliable) and inappropriate presentation of the message (eg the message may be too complex for the intended audience).

3.3 The Importance of ICT in Business Communications

  • uses of applications software
  • use of local and wide area networks, including intranet and the internet.
Students should be aware of the characteristics and uses of applications software for word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, databases (including relational databases), graphics and desk top publishing.

3.4 The Internet and E-Commerce

  • the purpose of a website
  • business opportunities
  • business risks.

 

Students should be able to identify, describe and evaluate ways in which businesses use the internet. These include informing customers about the business and its products, and enabling customers to place orders and pay for purchases. Students should understand the importance of the internet in helping businesses to be more competitive, responding to potential and actual competition.

Students should know the advantages of the internet and e-commerce to a business, especially in terms of the opportunities to market its products '24/7' to customers thereby increasing and/or maintaining its market share.

Students should understand the disadvantages of the internet and e-commerce to a business, such as: the threats of increased competition, the costs of setting up and maintaining a website, providing customer support outside normal office hours and the risks of unauthorised access and theft of customer data.

Assessment

Assessment

This unit will be assessed by an external written assessment of 60 marks and 1 hour in length.

Unit 9 - Using ICT in Business

Using ICT in Business

Using ICT in Business


This unit introduces Students to a range of software applications used to support each function of a business. It helps Students to understand how a business can use software to capture, store, retrieve and analyse data so as to meet its requirements.

 

SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

1.1 Selection and Use of Appropriate Software for Business Purposes

  • types of data
  • uses of data
  • presentation of data.

Students should be able to select and use appropriate software for business functions to capture and store data, taking into account the need for retrieval, ease of analysis and dissemination in appropriate formats. 

Students should be aware that data can come in a number of forms, eg text (qualitative), numerical and graphical (quantitative) and from a variety of internal and external sources.

When selecting software to process data, students need to understand how the data will be used and the capabilities of different software, eg spreadsheets and databases can be used to capture data and perform calculations, and word-processing can be used to tabulate information and import graphics.

Students should be able to design appropriate formats for presenting data for different purposes and for a variety of business functions, eg word-processed documents for an event, a spreadsheet to record payments and expenses, a database to record market research information and desk top publishing and graphics software to design a job advertisement.

Students should be able to import objects and data from one software application to another, eg insert a chart into a word processed document, export a database file into a spreadsheet and create a mail merged letter.

1.2 Using Appropriate Software: Word Processing

  • create a document for business purposes
  • use a range of fonts and page layouts
  • use a range of graphics
  • combine text and graphics.

Students should be able to compose and input information accurately (ie correct spelling, punctuation and grammar) into a word document using a conventional layout for documents such as agendas, minutes, letters, advertisements and flyers. 

Students should be able to use a range of formats (font sizes, colour, style and type) and paragraph formats (line spacing, correct indentation (with bullet points) and alignment).

Students should be able to produce a range of page layouts, including: the use of columns, tables, text boxes, headers and footers.

Students should be able to produce a range of graphics, including: 'call outs', word art, pictures, drawings, diagrams and borders (for text, pages and objects).

Students should be able to combine text and graphics in a variety of ways, eg by overlaying text on a graphic.

1.3 Using Appropriate Software: Spreadsheets

  • create a spreadsheet for a business purpose
  • manipulate data
  • use single and multiple (linked) sheets to create tables
  • key in labels, values, formulae and functions
  • create and apply validation rules
  • use conditional formatting
  • create charts.

Students should be able to input data accurately using appropriate headings, titles, headers and footers.

Students should be able to format rows, cells and column widths.

Students should be able to use formulae and functions to carry out a range of calculations, eg sum, average, max, min and if.

Students should be able to choose an appropriate page format and print with grid lines.

Students should be able to select a data series to create charts, using a variety of chart formats and be able to insert titles, legends and other text.

1.4 Using Appropriate Software: Databases

  • design and create appropriate data capture forms
  • design and create database tables
  • sort records using single or multiple criteria
  • search records using single or multiple criteria
  • filter records data and create reports.

Students should be aware of the need for data capture forms to be designed in a logical manner and, where appropriate, create input masks. 

Students should be able to encode data to make data entry more efficient.

When designing and creating database tables, Students should be able to identify the data type and insert, edit and delete fields.

When creating reports to meet specific formats and requirements, students should be able to display field headings and titles. They should be able to choose an appropriate title for a report.

1.5 Using Appropriate Software: Graphics

  • create graphics
  • edit graphics
  • combine text and graphics.
Students should be able to create simple freehand and geometric shapes, use shading, patterns and a range of line styles.

When editing graphics, Students should be able to re-size and move graphics.

1.6 Using Appropriate Software: Presentation Software

  • create slide(s) for a business presentation
  • create transitions and animations
  • modify presentations
  • create presenter notes
  • create handouts.

Students should be able to create a new slide or slides, using either a blank slide or a template, to be used for a short presentation. Students should use a consistent style for their presentation to reflect the audience and purpose. 

Students should be able to insert and format text, using text boxes, including the use of bullet points.

Students should be able to format the layout of a slide using text boxes and graphic objects, (eg charts, pictures, clip art and shapes), format colours and lines, (eg borders and objects).

Students should be able to resize, crop, align and move objects, change background colour of slides and add/insert slides including one or more from a separate presentation.

Students should be able to use transitions and animation effects, print specified numbers of slides per page and create and print presenters' notes and handouts.

1.7 Using Appropriate Software: Web Authoring

  • create a business web page
  • animate text
  • create hyperlinks.

Students should be able to create a web page ensuring there is a consistent page format. 

Students should be able to compose and input information accurately (including correct spelling, punctuation and grammar), use a range of formats (font sizes, colour, style and type) and paragraph formats (line spacing, correct indentation (with bullet points) and alignment).

Students should be able to animate text, change background colour, use borders and lines, insert images and use frames.

Students should be able to create hyperlinks to enable users to move around and between pages.

Assessment

Assessment

This unit will be assessed by a computer based examination of 60 marks and 1 hour 30 minutes in length.

Unit 10 - Investigating ICT in Business

Task Setting

This unit is a controlled assessment and assesses the subject content in Unit 9 Using ICT in Business. The
work must be each candidate’s own individual response, produced under controlled conditions.

Task Setting

All controlled assessment tasks will be set by AQA. Tasks will be replaced each year and will only be available for one assessment opportunity.

AQA will provide schools with pre-released material. This will require students to undertake an investigation into the use of ICT in business and a practical exercise.

Task Taking

Task Taking

  • Preparation

Before students carry out their investigation, schools should prepare them by covering the relevant section(s) of the specification. During this phase, schools should ensure that students are familiar with the skills which will be assessed.

  • Research and Planning

It is suggested that between five to eight hours should be allocated for students to undertake research. During the research and planning phase, teachers may give feedback to individual students to support them in their learning but this assistance must be recorded.

Students may work with others during the research and planning stage. Each student must, however, produce an individual response to the tasks.

Final Presentation

Final Presentation

Students should spend between three to four hours in writing up their findings and producing the necessary document(s) or material. (Additional time can be given for students with special assessment requirements). When completing their work, students must work independently under teacher supervision.

This time may be divided into more than one session, provided that the teacher collects all materials at the end of each session, keeps them under secure conditions and returns them to students at the beginning of the next session.

Schools are not allowed to give feedback to students during this time.

Task Marking

Task Marking

Schools must mark all controlled assessments using the marking criteria shown in the specification.  All controlled assessment work will be moderated by AQA according to the procedures outlined in section 7 of the specification. This, along with the marking criteria is available to download.

Unit 11 - Personal Economics

Money

Money

In this section, students use the personal lifecycle as a framework to consider their needs and wants, how these are likely to change over time and how they can manage their personal finances more effectively. Students will be introduced to basic economic concepts to help them make informed judgements, by weighing up costs and benefits. Students are encouraged to explore the moral and ethical dilemmas that arise when making decisions to do with spending, saving, investing or borrowing money.

 

SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

1.1 Understanding the Personal Lifecycle

  • stages within the lifecycle
  • needs and wants.
Students should understand the idea of a personal lifecycle and the different stages within the cycle. Students should appreciate how at each stage, individuals will experience changes in their income, expenditure, savings and debt.

Students should be aware of the difference between needs and wants and how these change over the personal lifecycle.

1.2 Making Decisions

  • choices and opportunity cost
  • costs and benefits.

Students should understand that as income is a scarce resource and wants are unlimited, choices need to be made. 

Students should understand the importance of weighing up costs and benefits and considering opportunity costs when making decisions.

1.3 Choosing to Spend

  • demand and the personal lifecycle
  • markets and prices
  • effects of competition.

Students should understand the meaning of demand and the factors that affect spending. 

Students should appreciate how moving to different stages in the personal lifecycle result in changes in demand for different types of goods and services.

Students should have a basic understanding of how markets for goods operate and understand the reasons why prices change.

Students should understand how businesses compete and the advantages and disadvantages of competition for consumers. 

1.4 Choosing to Save

  • reasons for saving
  • methods of saving
  • choosing where to save.

Students should understand why people save and be aware of the main methods available, eg using banks, building societies and National Savings. Students are only required to have a basic understanding of shares and unit trusts and the working of the stock market. 

Students should be able to recommend suitable methods of saving and other financial products for different situations and justify their recommendations, appreciating the risks and rewards of each method.

Students should know the difference between net and gross interest and understand the meaning of the Annual Equivalent Rate (AER).

1.5 Choosing to Borrow Money

  • reasons for borrowing money
  • methods of borrowing money
  • choosing where to borrow money
  • impact of changing interest rates.

Students should understand why people borrow money and be aware of the main methods of borrowing, eg mortgages, credit/store cards, personal loans, hire purchase and overdrafts. 

Students should be able to select suitable methods of borrowing for different situations and justify their recommendations. They should take into account the degree of risk involved and the importance of the Annual Percentage Rate (APR).

Students should be aware of the effects of changes in interest rates on borrowers and savers.

1.6 Managing your Money

  • benefits of financial planning and budgeting
  • planning for uncertainty
  • moral and ethical issues
  • influence of government on personal finances.

Students should understand the benefits of financial planning and budgeting, including debt management. The timings of such planning should be linked to changes in the personal lifecycle. 

Students should be aware of how factors such as redundancy, unemployment and sickness/disability, changes in interest rates and prices affect a person's budget and how financial planning can make some allowance for these uncertainties.

Students should explore some of the moral and ethical dilemmas that arise when making spending, saving and borrowing decisions, eg buying shares in companies making armaments or buying products from companies that exploit workers in developing countries.

Students should understand how taxation and government expenditure on benefits and services can affect an individual's income, saving and expenditure during the personal lifecycle.

Work

Work

In this section students consider the world of work. Students will consider the rewards an individual
can receive both in monetary and non monetary terms. Students will also be introduced to the market
for labour and how this determines the reward for work.

 

SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

2.1 Understanding the Purpose and Nature of Work

  • the meaning of work
  • specialisation and interdependence
  • impact of ICT on work.

Students should understand what is meant by work and the reasons why people work or do not work. Students should understand how work is a key part of economic activity in which goods and services are produced to satisfy needs and wants. 

Students should be aware of the specialised nature of work and understand the advantages and disadvantages of specialisation to the worker.

Students should be aware of how developments in Information Communication Technology (ICT) have led to the decline of some industries and the growth of others as well as affecting the nature of work, such as the development of home working.

2.2 Understanding the Reward for Work

  • how people are paid
  • how labour markets determine pay
  • reasons for differences in pay
  • the influence of government on pay and working conditions.

Students should understand the main methods by which people are paid and the different items that appear on a pay slip including: deductions made for income tax, national insurance and pension contributions. 

Students should understand the difference between gross and net pay.

Students should understand how the supply of labour is affected by a person's decision to work or not to work, and that this is influenced by both monetary and non monetary considerations, eg incentives, location, gender and race, taxation, state benefits etc.

Students should understand that demand for labour is derived from the demand for the good or service produced, and that the supply and demand for labour will affect the amount that people are paid.

Students should understand what can happen to wages when there are surpluses or shortages of labour and the benefits and limitations of the labour market.

Students should be aware of the role of government in protecting workers, eg minimum wage, maximum working hours, health and safety and their effect on workers.

2.3 Understanding the Consequences of Unemployment

  • impact of unemployment on individuals and society
  • impact of government on unemployment.

Students should understand the monetary and non monetary costs of unemployment to the individual and to society. 

Students should understand the reasons why the duration of unemployment might vary between individuals.

Students should understand why government is concerned about unemployment and the benefits available to those who are unemployed, linking these to the personal life cycle.

Students should have a basic understanding of how policies relating to education, training and the provision of tax allowances and state benefits are used to help those who are unemployed.

The National and Global Economy

The National and Global Economy

In this section students consider their role as a citizen in the national and global economy.

 

SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

3.1 Understanding International Trade

  • UK's exports and imports
  • advantages and disadvantages of global trade.

Students should be aware of the main types of exports from, and imports to, the UK economy.

They should appreciate the importance of trade to the UK economy. 

Students should appreciate the advantages resulting from global trade such as lower prices, increased availability and choice of goods for consumers, but also the disadvantages in terms of unstable commodity prices and the adverse effects on producers in the UK, as well as the wider social and environmental impact.

3.2 Exchange Rates

  • effect on imports and exports
  • effect on individual consumer.

Students should understand the impact of exchange rates on the importing and exporting of goods and services. 

Students should be aware of other factors that affect the sales of imports to, and exports from, the UK.

Students should understand the effect that exchange rates have on the individual consumer, eg how this will affect the cost of travelling abroad and goods purchased in the UK.

3.3 The Power of the Consumer Students should understand how the actions of consumers can impact upon the national and global economy through activities such as: boycotting the products of 'sweat shop labour', purchasing fair trade or locally sourced products produced in a sustainable, ethical and environmentally sensitive manner. They should appreciate the role played by government, eg in campaigning for reductions in World poverty.

3.4 Understanding the Impact of the Global Economy on Work

  • effect of globalisation on the UK labour market
  • mobility of labour
  • impact of migration.

Students should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of firms operating overseas including the difference in labour costs. 

Students should understand the positive and negative effects that globalisation has on the UK labour market, eg causing unemployment in some sectors and regions, but creating job opportunities in others. They should be aware of the role played by government in regulating the migration of labour.

Students should be aware of the nature of migration, including regional, European and global aspects. They should understand why migration occurs, the barriers to working abroad and how both emigration and immigration can affect, and has affected, the UK labour market.

Assessment

Assessment

This unit will be assessed by an external written assessment of 70 marks and 1 hour 15 minutes in length.

Unit 12 - Investigating Economic Issues

Managing the Economy

Managing the Economy

In this section students will consider targets and policies the government may use to achieve its objectives. Students will consider fiscal, monetary and supply side policies within the context of the trade cycle. Students will consider the European Union and its effect on the UK Economy.

 

SPECIFICATION AMPLIFICATION

1.1 Economic Objectives of the Government

  • government objectives
  • methods of measurement and trends over time
  • government objectives, conflicts and ethical issues
  • the welfare state and its alternatives.

Students should understand the principal government objectives of economic growth, full employment, stable prices and balance of payments.

Students should be aware of the methods available to measure economic performance, such as: inflation, economic growth, balance of payments, budget deficits and surpluses.

Students should be aware that conflicts can arise when attempting to achieve these objectives and the links to equity and equality.

Students should consider how ethical issues affect the achievement of government objectives.

Students should be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of the welfare state and the alternative of individuals providing for themselves.

1.2 The Economy at Work

  • types of economy
  • market failure
  • externalities
  • the concept of an economic cycle
  • government revenue and expenditure
  • fiscal policies
  • monetary policies
  • supply side policies.

Students should be aware of the differences between free market and mixed economies.

Students should understand market failure as the inability of the market system to allocate resources efficiently.

Students should understand externalities as the difference between social costs (benefits) and private costs (benefits), and apply the concepts in a relevant context.

Students should be able to explain the characteristics of the economic cycle: boom, recession, slump and recovery.

Students need to consider how the government collects revenue and its patterns of expenditure.

Students should be aware of how the government can affect levels of income and expenditure through fiscal policies.

Students should be familiar with the role of the Bank of England in controlling the level of demand. Students should be aware of the use of interest rates to control inflation.

Students should be familiar with supply side policies such as: education and training, incentives to work and competition policy. 

1.3 The Role of the European Union (EU)

  • the effects of membership of the EU
  • the Euro
  • the impact of EU enlargement on the UK.

Students should understand the significance of the EU as a Single European Market with a single European currency.

Students should know the potential benefits and drawbacks of the UK joining the Euro.

A detailed knowledge of the European Commission and European Central Bank is not required.

Students should have an appreciation of the potential impact on the UK economy of EU enlargement.

Current Economic Issues

Current Economic Issues

Two topics will be chosen from this section each year for students to study in depth. One topic will be based on local, UK or EU issues and the other will relate to the global economy. Students will be expected to apply appropriately economic theories and concepts they have covered in Unit 11 and the Managing the Economy section of this unit.

The aim of these topics is to encourage students to undertake investigative research into current economic issues and be able to analyse and evaluate the topics under consideration. Where possible, students are encouraged to investigate the local aspects of the issue.

The chosen topics for investigation will be pre-issued to centres each year. Topics will be selected from the following:

  • environmental issues: causes, consequences and solutions
  • global warming and its effect on different economies and societies
  • globalisation: the benefits and drawbacks from an economic viewpoint and ethical issues with the development of the world economy
  • developing economies: India and China – issues of growth and the impact on developed countries
  • underdevelopment: its causes and cures, focusing on least developed economies, eg sub-Saharan Africa
  • dominant firms: impact on consumers and producers plus issues of control and regulation
  • poverty: disparities in living standards and the ethical issues that arise from the implications of choice for society.

Assessment

Assessment

This unit will be assessed by an external written assessment of 70 marks and 1 hour 15 minutes in length.
There will be three questions, one assessing Managing the Economy and two assessing Current Economic Issues.

Unit 13 - Business Start up

Business Start up

Business Start up

This unit is taken by students studying the GCSE Business Studies Short Course. The subject content which is the same as Unit 1, will be assessed by both Unit 13, an External Assessment of 40 marks and 1 hour in length and Unit 14 a Controlled Assessment.

Unit 14 - Investigating Small Businesses

Task Setting

Task Setting

All controlled assessment tasks will be set by AQA.

Tasks will be replaced each year and will only be available for one assessment opportunity.

AQA will provide schools with pre-released material which will require students to undertake a business investigation.

Task Taking

Task Taking

  • Preparation

Before students carry out their investigation, schools should prepare them by covering the relevant section(s) of the specification.

During this phase, schools should ensure that students are familiar with the skills which will be assessed, especially the need to evaluate their findings.

  • Research and Planning

It is suggested that between five and eight hours should be allocated for students to research the business.

During the research and planning phase, teachers may give feedback to individual students to support them in their learning, but this assistance must be recorded.

Students may work with others during the research and planning stage. Each student must, however, produce an individual response to the tasks.

Final Presentation

Final Presentation

Students should spend up to three hours writing up their findings. (Additional time can be given for students with special assessment requirements). This time may be divided into more than one session, provided that the teacher collects all materials at the end of each session, keeps them under secure conditions and returns them to students at the beginning of the next session.

Schools are not allowed to give feedback to students during this time.

When completing their work, students must work independently under teacher supervision.

Task Marking

Task Marking

Schools must mark all controlled assessments using the marking criteria shown in the specification.  All controlled assessment work will be moderated by AQA according to the procedures outlined in section 7 of the specification. This, along with the marking criteria is available to download.