Business Studies

Aims and Overview of the Business Department

Our aims are:

  • To develop in young people a knowledge and understanding of the business world.
  • To enable pupils to become good communicators, asking lots of questions and to weigh up alternative ideas and proposals.
  • To develop an inquiring mind.
  • To develop skills in finding out information; how to obtain information and where to find the information.
  • To develop skills in information technology and numeracy.
  • To develop skills of critical thinking.


  • Mrs Emerson (Head of Department)
  • Mrs L Patton
  • Mrs H Porte
  • Miss Bishop


The Business Studies Department facilities consists of 2 classrooms with data projectors and interactive whiteboards., a computer suite with data projector and interactive white board and a resource room containing a library of business textbooks and materials.

Why Study Business?

The subjects taught within the Business Studies Department prepare students for the challenges of the 21st Century, by introducing them to the world of business.  They emphasise the ever-changing character of business, the diverse nature of business enterprise and the interdependence of the various parts of the business world. 

Students have the experience of studying business from a variety of perspectives.   Pupils are provided with many life skills such as communication, problem solving, time management, team work and decision making. Whether your aim is to pursue an academic career, train for a profession or become an entrepreneur, the necessary knowledge and skills will be provided.

Year 10 (Key Stage 3) Business Studies Scheme of Work

Business and Communication Systems – BCS (GCSE)

Specification/Exam Board:  GCSE

GCSE Business and Communication Systems allows students to learn about the business world. They will explore the role of digital technology in business today, and how this is ever changing.

Students will learn about file management and applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, databases, web authoring, web browsing, email and presentation software. They also study types of business, recruitment, selection, training, marketing, the role of stakeholders and customers, and how best to communicate a message.

In year 12 the students then have an opportunity to connect all they have learned, by planning and developing a digital solution for a business.

year 10 photo

Course contents include:

  • Unit 1: Software Applications for Business

In this unit, students learn how to effectively use different software applications such as word, excel and access, and they develop their skills in using them in different business scenarios.

  • Unit 2: The Business Environment

In this unit, students explore a wide range of issues in the business world. They learn about recruitment, selection, training and marketing, as well as issues surrounding the use of digital technology in business.

  • Unit 3: Developing Digital Solutions.

In this unit, students use the skills they have developed in Units 1 and 2 to plan and develop a digital solution for a business under controlled assessment conditions. This unit tests students’ understanding of the connections between the different elements of the subject. 

Assessment overview:

Business Studies (GCSE)

Specification/Exam Board:  CCEA
Business Studies helps students understand more about how and why businesses operate in the way that they do. Students are able to relate what they study to everyday activities, such as purchasing goods, and the news reported in the media.  Business Studies also opens up a wide range of opportunities for further learning and develops knowledge and understanding of the world of business, through visits to actual businesses and events allowing pupils to practise business in action.  Pupils are able to improve their skills in decision-making, interpreting and managing information, and devising solutions to problems and issues.

Course contents include:

Unit 1 (Year 11) which includes:

Business studies start up project photo

Within this unit students explore how to start a business. They look at why businesses start and the resources required to maintain and grow them. Students explore business aims and the impact that various stakeholder groups may have on businesses.  They then go on to explore marketing options and consider the impact of e-business on potential growth strategies. This unit also looks at standards within business included those for quality and health and safety. 

Unit 2 & Unit 3 (Year 12) which includes:

Unit 2 allows students to examine recruitment and selection practices and analyse the importance of a business having motivated and well-trained employees. They identify the signs of business success and failure and evaluate the different ways in which businesses grow. This unit allows students to explore business finance. They examine the sources of finance and complete basic cash flow forecasts, as well as interpreting simple financial statements. When analysing business performance, students consider concepts such as ratio analysis and break-even (BE).

Unit 3 is a synoptic unit, which may examine any area of content from the specification, and students have to apply their knowledge and understanding to a real business context. This controlled assessment requires students to carry out research and apply it, together with their own knowledge, to a range of circumstances. They examine and evaluate specified areas of a business plan and make reasoned recommendations.

Assessment overview:

Occupational Studies – Business and Services

Specification/Exam Board:  CCEA


Business and Services is part of the suite of Occupational Studies Qualifiactions.  These qualifacitions are an equilent to GCSE and provide a hands-on approach to learning. This subject is suited to those pupils who enjoy learning in a scenario based ‘out-of-school’ contexts. 

Business and Services gives pupils the opportunities to sample work-related learning and to develop their skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT.

Course contents include:

Unit 14 Using Office Technology (Year 11)

This unit provides learners with a basic knowledge and understanding of administration practice together with the skills necessary to pursue careers as secretaries, administrators, receptionists or call centre personnel. Students will learn how to use a range of technological equipment found in the modern office, as well as develop their proofreading skills. 

Using office technology covers the following key areas;

  • The use of electronic equipment
  • Health and safety issues when using office technology
  • Environmental issues relating to the use of office technology
  • Events planning
  • Career opportunities in office administration

Unit 10 Modern Retailing (Year 12)

Retailing is one of the largest employing sectors in Northern Ireland and this unit is designed to allow the learner to gain an understanding of the jobs available in the retail industry. Students will develop their skills in handling customer enquiries and will learn how to deal with stock. Health and safety issues will be an important aspect of the unit.

Modern retailing covers the following key areas;

  • Understanding the scope of the retail industry
  • Career opportunities in the retail industry
  • Handling customer enquiries and complaints
  • Receiving customer payments
  • Merchandising skills
  • Health and safety and security issues in the retail industry
  • Environmental issues in retail

Assessment overview:

The Unit 14 portfolio completed in Year 11, allows students to obtain a Level 1 Occupational Studies qualification in Business and Services.  When combined with the Unit 10 portfolio completed in year 12, pupils obtain a Level 2 award overall.  This is the equivalent to a GCSE grade.   Portfolios are graded based on scores, which are then translated into the following grades;

  • Distinction *
  • Distinction
  • Merit
  • Pass

Professional Business Services (GCE)

Specification/Exam Board:  CCEA


Professional Business Services introduces students to a wide selection of topics surrounding the industry of business service providers operating, in Northern Ireland, the UK and beyond. The course is an industry-endorsed specification, and is suitable for students wishing to enter business training programmes or apprenticeships, as well as those seeking progression to relevant higher and further education programmes.

Course contents include:

Studied in Year 13;

  • AS 1 – Introduction to Professional Business Services

This unit allows students explore the environment that professional business services firms operate in. Students will investigate the consultancy process professional business services firms’ use, and the range of techniques they adopt to inform and formulate the advice they provide to their clients.

  • AS2 – Human Resource Services

This unit focuses on the services provided by professional business services firms to support human resources in a client business. Students develop an understanding of the need for effective human resources management in a business and they investigate how professional business services firms can advise clients on improvements to their human resources processes in. 

This unit requires students to carry out research based on a pre-release case study, and then develop a written report using a given format.

  • AS 3 – Financial Decision Making

This unit focuses on the services provided by professional business services firms, to support financial decision making within a client business. Students explore the sources of finance available to a business and key areas of good financial management, including budgeting and cash flow. Students will learn to analyse and interpret final accounts using ratio analysis and investment appraisal methods.

Studied in Year 14;

  • A2 1 – Technology in Business

This unit explores the technology services that professional business services firms provide to support business operations.. Students will learn about the range of technology and Information Technology (IT) systems available for communications, managing people, financial management and business operations.  They will also explore the issues professional business services firms must consider when advising a client on business technology, including security, data storage, and social, moral and ethical issues.

  • A2 2 – Leadership and Management

Leadership and Management allows pupils to examine the key concepts of leadership and management and a range of leadership styles and theories. They investigate how professional business services firms can advise client businesses to meet some of the challenges of management, including performance management, managing teams and managing change.

  • A2 3 – Project management skills and processes

Within this unit students will explore the stages and processes involved in successful project management. This includes exploring the components of project management methodology and then by means of a piece of coursework, they apply this methodology to a specific project. 

Accounting (GCE)

Specification/Exam Board:  AQA
This qualification provides pupils with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of the purposes of accounting, its concepts, techniques and procedures.  Students will develop their ability to apply this knowledge and understanding to a variety of accounting problems and will develop an appreciation of the role and limitations of accounting in decision-making.  Further skills of interpretation, analysis and evaluation of accounts will be developed, through students being encouraged to assess alternative courses of action and make reasoned judgements taking into consideration economic, legal, technological and social factors.

Course contents include:

Studied in Year 13:

–          Unit 1: Introduction to financial accounting

–          Unit 2: Financial and management accounting

Studied in Year 14:

–          Unit 3: Further aspects of financial accounting

–          Unit 4: Further aspects of management accounting

Accounts table

Assessment overview:

Useful web links for additional reading/revision include:www.