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Strangford College, Newtownards


Our Vision 

In the Business Department of Strangford Integrated College, we aim for students to provide students with a unique insight into the world of business. Students are encouraged to explore the main areas of business through a range of real-life case studies and scenarios. In the Business Department, we have high expectations of our students, therefore, we expect students to have high expectations for their own achievement and strive to push each one to reach their potential. 

Staff: Mrs R Beattie; Mr A Coffey; Miss V Gaw; Ms D Hanna and Miss S Stewart. 

Key Stage 4 

At GCSE there are two options students can pick to study the world of business; Business Communication Systems and Business Studies.  

Business Communication Systems – This course introduces students to the world of business. The course combines the practical elements of ICT and the theory elements of Business Studies into one course. It will give you the opportunity to learn ICT skills and then apply them in a practical way to aspects of Business and Economics.  

There are three main themes in the course:  

Unit 1: Software Application for business - This unit focuses on the practical aspect of ICT in a business. You will sit one computer-based exam that is worth 40% of the overall GCSE.. 

Unit 2:  The Business Environment - This unit focuses on the theory aspect of business, where we look at how to start up a business, right through to maintaining staff and growing the business. This unit is assessed with a written exam worth 35% of the overall GCSE. 

Unit 3: Development Digital Solutions - The final unit combines the previous units. This controlled assessment task worth 25% of the overall GCSE will provide you with an opportunity to project manage and develop a digital solution for a business.  

Business Communication Systems is helpful for progressing into a wide range of further and higher education. Through studying the course, you will develop your understanding of the world of business and its importance to everyday life. Due to the nature of the course focusing on ICT and business it means more career opportunities are available such as, retail, marketing, human resources, public sector, accounting and the media.  

Pupils interested in this course should have a keen interest in the modern business world, as well as how ICT can be used to maximise business potential. Students who undertake this course will be suited to a mix of practical assessment and external examination. Students will have the opportunity to develop ICT skills, independent study and an understanding of how businesses operate.  

Business Studies – This provides students with a unique insight into the world of business, the course begins with an insight into starting a business and progresses through into marketing and eventually into expanding the business. During the course you will take on many roles such as a stakeholder, marketing manager and human resources manager.  

The Business Studies course explores up-to-date topics such as e-business and m-business as well as looking at current business issues, which you will be able to recognise in the media.  

Unit 1: Starting a Business - This unit looks at the resources required to start a business, students then explore marketing which is a major part of business, and finishes by looking at business operations. This unit is assessed by a written exam at the end of year 11, and is worth 40% of the GCSE course. 

Unit 2: Developing a Business -  After a solid understanding of starting a business from unit 1 students begin to look at more complex elements of business such as human resources, finance and expanding the business. This unit is also assessed by a written exam at the end of year 12 and is worth 40% of the course.  

Unit 3: Planning a Business - The final unit allows students to combine their knowledge from unit 1 and 2 and apply this to a real business context. This unit is assessed internally as the students complete controlled assessment in class, this involves creating a business plan for a given business. Unit 3 is worth 20% of the overall GCSE.  

A qualification in Business Studies not only sets students up for taking A-Level Business Studies, it can also provide pathways into many careers such as accounting, marketing, banking, human resources and even becoming an entrepreneur. The course provides students with a solid knowledge of understanding of the way in which businesses start up, and operate.  

Students who undertake this course should be interested in the current business world, as they are encouraged to carry out research, watch the news to ensure they are up-to-date with current affairs.  

Key Stage 5 

BTEC Business level 3 is a vocational course that currently is a mix of external and external assessment. The 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 students undertake 2 units: 

Unit 1 — Exploring Business   

Students have the opportunity to explore many businesses in detail as they look at their purpose, structure and the effect of the external environment, they also study up-to-date businesses as they look at the importance of innovation. This unit will be assessed internally as students are set tasks to complete, unit 1 is 50% of the AS course.  

Unit 2 — Developing a Marketing Campaign 

This topic looks at the dynamic topic of marketing which is vital for a businesses survival and growth. This unit is assessed externally, the students receive preliminary information two weeks prior to the assessment, during this time they will carry out research. Unit 2 is also 50% of the AS course.  


In Year 14 students take 2 units: 

Unit 3 — Personal and Business Finance 

This unit is an external assessment which is split into two parts; personal finance and business finance. Personal finance prepares students as they progress into adulthood as savings, investments and money management are studied. The second part, business finance allows students to explore how a business manages money as they prepare and analyse business accounts. This unit is assessed by a written examination which  is worth 58% of the A2 course.  

Unit 8 - Recruitment and Selection Process 

This short unit is worth 42% of the overall A2 course, it is assessed internally. The unit prepares students for the world of work as it looks at a business’s most vital resource; employees Students study the importance of employees, this also includes a more practical element as students get the opportunity to prepare, undertake and review recruitment and selection interviews.  

During year 13 and 14 you will develop a range of skills such as problem solving as we develop ideas for businesses to improve and continue to grow. Students will develop independent learning as they pick their own businesses to research as well as improving oral and written communication through completing assessments. Unit 3 also gives students a solid understanding of the importance of managing finances not only for a business but also for them as an individual. 

What can I do after I have completed the course? 

This qualification in Business Studies can open many opportunities for students, such as higher and further education opportunities in areas such as accountancy, marketing and enterprise. As the course focuses on up-to-date businesses students develop a good understanding of current business affairs happening in the world around them.  


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