AQA unveils ‘more entrepreneurial’ Business GCSE

Thursday 2 Jun 2016

Exam board AQA has unveiled plans for a new Business GCSE designed to do more to help students develop their business acumen and become the entrepreneurs of the future.

The topic of enterprise has been added as a key part of the new course. Students will study the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. They will learn how to think commercially and creatively, and use evidence to make informed business decisions and solve business problems.

The new Business GCSE specification replaces the current Business Studies GCSE. It moves away from looking at individual business functions in isolation, and adopts a real business model where all departments co-exist and work collaboratively to succeed. The content of the new course has been re-shaped, so that students look at the business operation as a whole, including staff recruitment and motivation, production, procurement, finance and marketing.

Students will also cover the external influences on business, including ethical and environmental issues such as global warming, along with economic climate and international competition.

The draft plans for the new GCSE will enable students to use global brands to explore business theories and consider the practical application of business concepts. Sample exam questions include a case study on Krispy Kreme that asks students to explore areas such as staff training and motivation, and the use of responsibly sourced ingredients.

In the new course, students will explore the links and relationships between the different aspects of a business and work to understand the impact that decisions have on each of them. For example, the decision to increase market share in a product has an impact on:

  • marketing (the need to increase levels of promotion)
  • human resources (the need to recruit further staff to handle increased orders)
  • production (increased demand for products)
  • finance (the need to raise and control the finance required).

Sandra Allan, AQA Qualifications Developer, said:

"The new course is very aspirational – you could say it shifts the focus from stock-taking to risk-taking – and aims to help students develop as enterprising individuals.

"Business is in the news on a daily basis, such as the latest household name disappearing from the high street, so it's important for students to understand the challenges businesses face – for example what leads to a business being taken over or closed.

"The course also covers ethical and environmental issues that students will be familiar with in their daily lives, and helps them understand the impact these have on businesses – including traffic congestion, recycling, waste disposal and noise and air pollution. It also looks at the modern phenomenon of digital communication, and how social media has revolutionised the way businesses interact with their customers."

The plans for AQA's Business GCSE, which will be available to teach from September 2017, have been submitted to the regulator Ofqual for accreditation.