You are here

A Level Business Studies

Available at AS and A2.The course is modular with three modules at each level. The examination board is AQA. (Previously AEB).

There are no specific GCSE requirements but good use of English and reasonable numeracy are necessary to get a good grade. GCSE at grade 'c' in Maths might be a minimum requirement. Doing related subjects with numerate content such as Mathematics or Geography will help.

Aims of the course

All businesses are different; the economic, social and political environments in which they operate and their internal organisations produce potentially exciting challenges. The course aims to promote an understanding of the demands of business and a sense of its excitement, as well as going some way to equip students to study through problem solving, teamwork and a choice of relevant technique.

Course Content

The AS and A2 courses cover the same general areas but A2 is in more depth and draws on the first year work. The main areas are Marketing and Finance, People and Operations Management, and External Influences and Objectives and Strategy. Obviously these can be broken down into more detail e.g. External Influences are Social, Legal, Economic, Political and Technological. The business must operate within all these constraints in a changing world. Or e.g. Finance considers Costs, contribution, Break Even analysis, Company Accounts, Budgeting, Cost and Profit Centres Ratio Analysis and Investment Decision making.

The subject has both practical and vocational aspects, but is primarily about decision making and problem solving; these processes are not easy. Techniques will be taught during the course and basic facts will be provided in examinations, but great emphasis is put on personal initiative and the ability to apply the relevant techniques to simple business problems. Work will include both essay and problem solving elements.

All are normally required to attend a two day understanding industry course which includes at least one industrial visit.

An option within the course at A2 is to do a Coursework worth 15% of the total ‘A’ level. This avoids doing one of the A2 modules. The Coursework should be based on a problem inside a small business organisation, usually one in the student’s own home area, and the production of a report using the knowledge and techniques acquired in the course. All should attempt this as it normally leads to a higher grade.

Those who are more interested in international finance, government control of the economy and domestic or world economic problems should consider doing 'A' level Economics instead.

A Level Economics

The subject is available at AS and A2. There are three modules at each level.

There are no specific GCSE requirements. The ability to use English accurately is very important.

The examination Board is Edexcel. (Previously London).

Economics is the study of our modern national and world economic environment. There is not much that happens at national level that is not influenced by economic factors, and the study of Economics provides a framework which helps you understand this. The course will make you think more about current issues, and will concentrate in particular on how free markets work, what happens when they go wrong and what can be done about it.

Questions you would cover include such things as:

  • Is the government really starving the NHS of resources ?

  • What factors effect the price of a Wimbledon Centre Court ticket ?

  • How much should the government control large utilities like the Energy Companies ?

  • Do stock market prices reflect reality ?

  • Can Eastern Europe make sufficient Economic progress to join the European Union ?

  • Should the United Kingdom join Europe in a Single currency ?

  • Why do we have poverty in the U.K. ?

  • Are we really achieving a better quality of life ?

  • Why did the Bank of England raise interest rates in 2000 ?

  • Are falling high street prices a danger to us all ?

  • Why is a footballer in the Premier League worth £40,000 a week when a top nurse is worth £40,000 a year ?

The AS course concentrates on the essential features of markets, the underlying market problems faced by businesses, why markets may fail to produce what we want as a community, how government acts to put this right (but may fail in doing so), and how the government itself attempts to manage the national economy.

The A2 course looks in more detail at business economics and how firms react to the various degrees of competition with which they are faced, why and how people are paid what they are paid and how this influences wealth and poverty, and all aspects of the international economy including the major questions surrounding Europe.

As well as acquiring factual knowledge the student must learn to analyse and synthesise written and numerical information. There is no mathematics in A level Economics, but numeracy definitely helps. You can get by in A level Economics if you are able to cope with simple fractions and simple percentages. There is less numerate content in AS than in A2. The evaluation of evidence and the use of theoretical concepts to clarify practical situations are important skills to acquire and A2 puts particular emphasis on them. All the key skills are exercised in this subject. The teaching of AS and A2 will emphasise an awareness of all of them. Assessment in examinations ranges between analysis of numerate data and structured essay writing.

From time to time the department organises lectures by outside speakers on economic, political or business matters, and students are expected to attend even if the discipline is not the one they are personally studying. Visits to industry are getting more difficult as more and more demands are put on businesses, nevertheless, all students take part in a two day understanding industry course held outside of the school and including at least one industrial visit.

GCE Politics

The examination board is Edexcel (previously London).

There are no specific GCSE requirements. Use of English and analytical thinking are paramount. The methodology is similar to History. Essays are important, though the examinations increasingly use data response, some of it numerate. This subject combines well with History and Economics in particular, but can be combined with anything else in principle.

It might be stressed that this subject is issue based and is unlike the old British Government papers of the past even though the examination is known as Government and Politics. Obviously a structure of government is taught, but comparison with at least one other country is essential. We normally study the USA government. In some respects the course is examining the historical political issues of the last fifty years, but the last twenty in particular, in so far as they through light on present political issues.

Politics is an interesting and challenging subject. At Ampleforth the subject has an excellent success rate in terms of examination grades and university entrance. It is a particularly good subject to combine with History, English or Economics, but also may be combined with most other subjects.

If you are good at synthesising and evaluating arguments, and are fascinated by current affairs, then you will do well in this subject. Recognise that in depth analysis is needed, however, and not unsubstantiated opinion.

The Politics Society (Circus) organises several lectures per year and all are expected to attend. All the lecturers have distinguished backgrounds and some are national names.

The AS syllabus looks at the central political concepts such as democracy, participation and representation. It goes on to examine the relationships and power bases that exist in the major institutions of government such as Parliament and the Office of Prime Minister, the major Political Parties etc.. Finally it considers the shifting ground of British Politics such as Devolution of power to Wales, Scotland etc. and the impact of Europe upon our sovereignty.

The A2 syllabus offers a variety of routes. We are likely to follow Key Political Issues or Politics in the USA which follows similar themes to the AS course but in the final module compares the U.K. and USA systems.

Within all this there is a wealth of incident, personalities and political drama.

This department hopes to develop in students an understanding of and enthusiasm for the issues which these subjects attempt to clarify. We attempt to deliver the above subjects so that the students obtain the highest grades relative to their potential.

The department sets out to serve sixth formers of all abilities and recognises that this will mean confronting the teaching and learning issues relating to literacy and numeracy as well as varying levels of intelligence. We aim to help students plan their work and develop independent reading. This should be facilitated by ensuring that staff and students are always up to date with syllabus requirements and contemporary business, economic and political developments.

These subjects all have ethical issues at their centre. These issues will be approached from the perspective of the Christian community in general and the Catholic community in particular, but the department fully recognises the contribution made by other cultures, religions etc to social developments in Europe and elsewhere.

The department considers that these subjects have a special contribution to make in broadening the experience of students in a cultural sense as well as helping maturity by focusing their attention on issues which they will need to comprehend in adult life both to further their career prospects and to make them more useful people in the community.

In particular, the department will try to address the prejudices of students and attempt to get them to confront these prejudices in some major areas of modern life including issues relating to the rights of women, racial minorities, class and religious groups. The department will encourage students to learn to make positive judgements in the light of what is factually and objectively true. We will endeavour to help students take and analytical and critical stance that leads to the ability to evaluate. We will enable them to recognise the failings of the market place as well as its role in the provision of prosperity.