St Peter's School
Business appeals to a variety of pupils but above all to those who want some early exposure to the skills of management and decision-making, whether their future careers lie in a small local firm in York, within the family business or at the head of a large multinational corporation. The approach to learning is investigative and applicable to real-life business scenarios. Visits to local firms (including some managed by successful Old Peterites) are complemented with larger trips to see marketing, financial and operational activities in action at the likes of Coca-Cola, Nestle and Alton Towers.
The A Level Business course follows the Edexcel exam board specification in a linear approach with exams at the end of the two years. In Lower Sixth, the syllabus begins with entrepreneurship and the practicalities and challenges faced when setting up in business. The four ‘functional areas’ of business; marketing, accounts and finance human resources and operations are investigated in some detail, with case studies focussing on small start-ups to large PLCs. Within marketing, pupils will learn about the marketing mix of pricing strategy, promotion, product development issues and distribution channels. In accounts and finance, pupils study break-even, profit and loss accounts and basic ratio analysis. The study of operations focusses on lean production methods and core quality control whilst in human resources; motivational methods, recruitment and training are some of the core concepts studied.
In Upper Sixth, the syllabus builds upon the work covered with some issues revisited in greater depth. More time is spent upon the role of accounting in decision making along with issues such as the measurement and improvement of workforce performance. The examination is assessed via Case Study stimulus material and consequently much time is spent in the application of business concepts to UK and multinational firms. The importance of external factors influencing business is of course a key issue that has to be considered and pupils will take a more strategic view to business decision-making in the second year of the course.
After St Peter’s
The variety within Business makes it a rewarding subject which mixes well with sciences for engineers seeking careers in industry, or linguists seeking opportunities in international business. The practical nature of the subject ensures a high level of motivation.