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Strangford College, Newtownards

Business

Our Vision

In the Business department of Strangford College, we encourage students to explore the main areas of business through a range of real-life case studies and scenarios.  Students also learn to use the Microsoft office suite for business purposes and at GCSE level create a website for an organisation. 

We have high expectations of ourselves and our students.  We expect students to have high expectations for their own achievement and strive to push each one to reach their potential.

Staff: Mrs J Flaherty (Subject Leader); Mrs R Beattie; Mr A Coffey

Key Stage 4

GCSE students study the CCEA Business and Communication course. Students will explore and develop their understanding of the main areas of business such as marketing, finance, human resources and the impact of ICT on how we work. Real Life case studies and scenarios are used to ensure knowledge can be applied to local and national businesses.  Students complete a written examination based on theory knowledge and understanding at the end of year 11 and this element is worth 35% of the GCSE grade.

For the controlled assessment element of the course students research good website design and then create their own website for a business and investigate the costs associated with it.  This unit is worth 25% of the GCSE grade and is completed in year 11.

Being able to communicate effectively using ICT is integral to all organisations.  Within this course, students learn to use the office suite to prepare business documents, create databases and mail merge letters, manipulate financial data through a spreadsheet and create professional presentations and business literature.  To demonstrate their knowledge and skills for this unit, students complete a computer-based exam in year 12 and this is worth 40% of the GCSE grade.

Key Stage 5

Two courses are offered at Key Stage 5.

BTEC Business level 3 is a vocational course that currently is all coursework based with no examinations, however in 2019 one third of this course will be examined externally and two thirds will remain coursework based. This course is graded Distinction* (grade A*), Distinction (grade A), Merit (grade C) or pass (grade E).  UCAS points are the same as traditional A-levels, however, some universities will only accept one vocational A-level along with two traditional A-levels as their entry requirements.  Students complete 6 units over the two-year course.

In Year 13 they study the Business Environment, Marketing and Creative Product Promotion.

In Year 14 they study Business Resources, Communication and Working in Teams.

A new A-level has been introduced for September 2018, it is an academic subject called Professional Business Services.

It encourages students to develop and draw together different areas of knowledge, skills and understanding.  Students explore human resources services, financial decision making, technology in business, leadership and management, and project management skills and processes.  They learn about the business environment, client relationships and ethical responsibilities in business. They also investigate the importance of persuading, negotiating and influencing skills in professional business services. They explore different leadership styles and theories.

Professional business services are a growth area in a global market. They require competence in number skills, creative thinking, problem solving, communication, organisation and technology.

This specification is appropriate for students considering further study on bespoke business training programmes or apprenticeships. It will also appeal to students who want to progress to higher and further education.  It is 60% external assessment from written examinations and 40% internal assessment.

Year 13 units - Introduction to Professional Business Services, Human Resource Services and Financial Decision Making.

2 external written exam units and one portfolio based on a pre-released case study.

Year 14 units -  Technology in Business, Leadership and Management and Project Management Skills and Processes.

2 external written exam units and one internally assessed project management task.

Extra-Curricular Visits and Trips

In Year 11 students visit IKEA to see how they market their products, how they motivate and retain staff and how they maximise profit.

In Year 13 students visit Guinness in Dublin to look at marketing for the brand.