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"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 was introduced as an ab initio A Level subject in St. Malachy’s College in 1997. The first GCSE Business Studies class began its studies in 2008. Currently the College follows the CCEA specifications in these subjects.

MRS L KERR (Head of Department)


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 can open up a wide range of opportunities for further learning. As well

as developing students’ knowledge and understanding of the world of business, this

course helps students develop a range of skills such as:

• decision-making;

• interpreting and managing information; and

• devising solutions to problems and issues.


GCSE Business Studies aims to encourage students to:


  • develop a lifelong interest in and enjoyment of business subjects;

  • use an enquiring, critical approach to distinguish facts from opinions, to form arguments and make informed judgements;

  • develop and apply their knowledge, understanding and skills to understand today’s business issues in local, national and global contexts;

  • appreciate the perspectives of different stakeholders in business-related activities;

  • consider the extent to which business activity can be ethical and sustainable;

  • and understand the changing use of technology in business.


External Assessment


Unit 1: Starting a Business (External written exam - 40%)


In this unit, students are introduced to the fundamentals of starting a business. They examine 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. Students explore marketing options and consider the impact of e-business on potential growth strategies. They also consider why businesses conform to quality assurance standards and health and safety legislation.


This unit is divided into three sections: Creating a Business, Marketing and Business Operations.

  • Creating a Business Key Characteristics of Entrepreneurs; Resources of Business; Business Ownership; the Public Sector; The Role of Social Enterprise; Business Location; Business Aims and Objectives; Stakeholders


  • Marketing Market Research; the Marketing Mix: Price, Product, Promotion, Place; Competition; Customer Service; International Business; E-Business;



  • Business Operations Types of production; Methods of Manufacturing; Quality Assurance; Health and Safety in Manufacturing



Unit 2: Developing a Business (External written exam - 40%)


In this unit, students 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. Students learn about business finance. They examine the sources of finance and complete cash flow forecasts as well as interpreting financial statements. When analysing business performance, students consider concepts such as ratio analysis and break-even.


This unit is divided into three sections: Human Resources, Business Growth and Finance.


  • Human Resources Recruitment; Selection; Training; Motivation


  • Business Growth Business Success or Failure; Internal and External Growth


  • Finance Sources of Finance; Cash flow forecasts; Income Statements; Statements of Financial Position; Ratios; Break-even analysis


Controlled Assessment – Planning a Business (20%)


In this synoptic unit, students apply knowledge and understanding drawn from across the whole specification to a real business context. Students 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.


Entry requirements


In GCSE Business Studies, candidates must demonstrate their quality of written communication: they need to ensure that text is legible, that spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate so that meaning is clear and they must be able to organise information clearly and coherently, using specialist vocabulary where appropriate. Quality of written communication is assessed in responses to questions and tasks that require extended writing. The specification also states that students should be able to select and apply mathematical concepts and problem-solving strategies in a range of contexts and interpret and analyse a wide range of mathematical data. To this end, a prospective student of GCSE Business Studies must have achieved at least a grade B in English and Maths in the Year 10 Christmas examinations.

Anchor 2

The Business Studies Department is keen to explore links outside the College and aims to have speakers or events regularly.


In the second term this year our Year 11 boys won through to the finals of the Stock Market Challenge, coming a very creditable fourth place out of a large number of schools across the region in the initial competition. Past pupil Matthew Ward, who is now on a Higher Apprenticeship with PwC, mentored the College team and gave a very good presentation on the opportunities available at the firm. Matthew is pictured below with some members of the Year 11 Business Studies class.



In the CME offices, Belfast, on the 13th March, 4 Year 11 Business Studies pupils attended the Global Stock Market Challenge Belfast Finals. During the final, pupils were given a client who they had to make investments for based on their preferences and background. Following that, a presentation was given by the group to two judges and the other schools about why they invested in certain companies and the strategies they employed. After a poor start on the opening day of trading on the stock market, the pupils managed to come in 2nd place in the investment challenge and overall placed 4th. They faced some stiff competition from local schools and did the College proud. Pupils involved were Eoin Hackett, Sean Hagans, Christopher McLean and James McEwan.



In order to facilitate Year 12’s work on their Controlled Assessment a visit to the Lisburn plant of Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland was organised on January 16th 2018. Our visit included a DVD presentation, showcasing the 125 year history of Coca-Cola and how Northern Ireland businessman Tom Robinson first brought the Coca-Cola bottling operation to the island of Ireland; a guided gallery tour of the main production facility, to experience a ‘bird’s eye view’ of how their products are manufactured, bottled, packaged and stored; and an opportunity to explore the world of Coca-Cola, their connection to the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, and their involvement in the local community in Lisburn.


In October 2017 two members of the Student Recruitment team from PwC visited the College to speak to year 13 and 14 Business Studies pupils. A number of our former pupils are on Higher Apprenticeships with PwC (and Deloitte) and this, along with other post A Level options with the company, was the focus for the session.


On Wednesday 13th September our Year 11 Business Studies class along with their teacher Miss Grimes attended the Generation Innovation Student Invent Awards at the Belfast campus of University of Ulster. Firstly, they watched 7 student groups present their innovative and entrepreneurial skills with a product they developed on their own. A panel of judges were also on hand to ask questions after each of their pitches. Our pupils then had to vote on who they felt had the best product. Four workshops were attended in the afternoon facilitated by University of Ulster Business School, PwC, University of Ulster Product Design team and finally an App Design workshop. It was a knowledge filled, fun packed day and the pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience.



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