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Business – Curriculum Overview Statement


Business is taught in years 12 and 13 at Poole Grammar School.  The lessons are taught by a business teacher who is a trained subject specialist and who also helps to run a family business.

The A’level specification stipulates the topic areas to be covered and this is followed. 

In lessons up to date case studies of businesses are used as well as video documentaries to show the relevance of the theory being covered in lessons. Students will develop their competency in several areas including analysis, problem solving, decision making and evaluation through the use of challenging questions based on these case studies. It is through these methods that students should gain respectable grades in their A’level at the end of Year 13.


Learning takes place not only in the classroom but through independent work consisting of extra reading round the topic being studied and listening to or reading news articles as they arise in the world around us. Official assessments are carried out each term as well as interim assessed work based on the topic in question.

Scheme of Work

Year 12


Autumn 1

What is business?

  • profit
  • growth
  • survival
  • cash flow
  • social
  • ethical objectives

The measurement of profit to include:

  • revenue (also turnover and sales)
  • fixed costs
  • variable costs
  • total costs

Break-even analysis should include:

  • Break-even output
  • margin of safety
  • contribution per unit
  • total contribution.

Different forms of business include:

  • sole traders
  • private limited companies and public limited companies
  • private sector and public sector organisations
  • non-profit organisations such as charities and mutuals.

Issues with different forms of business include:

  • unlimited and limited liability
  • ordinary share capital
  • market capitalisation
  • dividends.

PEST Analysis to include:

  • competition
  • market conditions
  • incomes
  • interest rates
  • demographic factors
  • environmental issues and fair trade.


Autumn 2

Managers, leadership and decision making

The role of managers should include:

  • setting objectives
  • analysing
  • leading
  • making decisions
  • reviewing.

Theories of management and leadership styles should include:

  • the Tannenbaum Schmidt continuum
  • the Blake Mouton grid.

Scientific decision making to include:

  • understanding and interpreting decision trees and calculating expected value and net gains.

Decision making to include an understanding of:

  • risks
  • rewards
  • uncertainty
  • opportunity costs.

Influences on decision making to include:

  • mission
  • objectives
  • ethics
  • the external environment including competition
  • resource constraints.

Understanding the role and importance of stakeholders to include:

  • Stakeholder mapping: stakeholder power and interest.
  • Managing the relationship with different stakeholders includes communication and consultation.

Understanding markets and customers

Marketing research should include:

qualitative and quantitative data

  • market mapping.
  • Be able to calculate market and sales growth, market share and size.

Interpretation of marketing data should include:

  • positive and negative correlation and an understanding of the strength of the relationship
  • understanding the concept of confidence intervals
  • understanding extrapolation.
  • Be able to interpret price and income elasticity of demand data and be able to analyse the impact of changes in price and income on revenue (do not need to be able to calculate these).

Segmentation methods include:

  • demographic
  • geographic
  • income
  • behavioural segmentation.

Targeting may include niche and mass marketing.

The marketing mix should be considered for goods and services, both industrial and consumer.

  • Types of consumer goods considered should include: convenience, shopping and speciality products.

Product decisions should include:

  • the value of product portfolio analysis and the Boston Matrix
  • the value of the product life cycle model including extension strategies
  • influences on and the value of new product development.

Pricing decisions should include:

  • Penetration and price skimming.
  • Promotional decisions should include the value of branding.

Distribution decisions should include

  • multi-channel distribution.

Influences on an integrated marketing mix include:

  • the position in the product life cycle
  • the Boston Matrix
  • the type of product
  • marketing objectives
  • the target market
  • competition
  • positioning.

Spring 1

Making operational decisions to improve performance:

Increasing efficiency and productivity

Operational objectives include:

  • costs
  • quality
  • speed of response and flexibility
  • dependability
  • environmental objectives
  • added value
  • Students should be able to calculate:
  • labour productivity
  • unit costs (average costs)
  • capacity
  • capacity utilisation

Lean production should include ‘Just-In-Time’ operations.

The mix of resources should include an understanding of labour and capital intensive processes.

Methods of improving quality should include quality assurance.

An understanding of flexibility should include mass customisation.

Ways of matching supply to demand include:

  • outsourcing
  • use of temporary and part time employees
  • producing to order.

Inventory control should include:

  • interpreting inventory control charts
  • lead time
  • re-order levels
  • buffer level of inventory
  • re-order quantities.

Analysing budgets should include variance analysis and adverse and favourable variances.

Analysing profitability should include the following ratio analysis:

  • gross profit
  • profit from operations
  • profit for the year.

Analysing timings of cash flow should include an understanding of payables and receivables.

Sources of finance should include:

  • debt factoring
  • overdrafts
  • retained profits
  • share capital
  • loans
  • venture capital

Assessment and methods of improving cash flow.

Assessment and ways of improving profitability.

Human resource objectives include:

  • employee engagement and involvement
  • talent development
  • training
  • diversity
  • alignment of values
  • number
  • skills and location of employees.
  • Influences on human resource objectives such as soft and hard Human Resource Management (HRM) approaches.

Students should be able to calculate and interpret:

  • labour turnover and retention rates
  • labour productivity
  • employee costs as percentage of turnover
  • labour cost per unit.

Job design to include Hackman and Oldham’s model.

Decisions relating to organisational design include:

  • authority
  • span
  • hierarchy
  • delegation
  • centralisation and decentralisation.

Human resource flow to include:

  • human resource plan
  • recruitment
  • training
  • redeployment
  • redundancy

Theories of motivation should include:

  • Taylor
  • Maslow
  • Herzberg

Financial methods of motivation should include:

  • piece rate
  • commission
  • salary schemes
  • performance-related pay

Employee representation methods to include:

  • Trade unions
  • Works Councils
  • ACAS


Spring 2

Analysing the strategic position of the business

Influences on corporate objective should include:

  • the pressures for short termism
  • business ownership
  • the external and internal environment

Financial ratio analysis to include:

  • profitability (return on capital employed)
  • liquidity (current ratio)
  • gearing
  • efficiency ratios:
  • payables days and receivables days, inventory turnover

Data may be analysed over time or in comparison with other businesses

Methods of assessing overall business performance to include:

  • Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard model
  • Elkington’s Triple Bottom line (Profit, People, Planet).


Summer 1


Mock examinations

Feedback and correction

Looking forward to the second year of A’level

Summer 2

Consolidation of work


Year 13


Autumn 1

The political and legal environment should include a broad understanding of the scope and effects of UK and EU law related to competition, the labour market and environmental legislation.

The impact of UK and EU Government policy related to enterprise, the role of regulators, infrastructure, the environment and international trade.

Economic factors to include:

  • GDP
  • taxation
  • exchange rates
  • inflation
  • fiscal and monetary policy
  • more open trade vs protectionism.

Understand economic data, interpret changes for the UK and EU and global.

Consider implications for such changes for business.

Social changes to include demographic changes and population movements such as:

  • urbanisation and migration
  • changes in consumer lifestyle and buying behaviour
  • the growth of online businesses.

The social environment to include Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and:

  • the reasons for and against CSR
  • the difference between the stakeholder v shareholder concept
  • Carroll’s Corporate Social Responsibility pyramid.

Technological change should include the impact of technological change on functional areas and strategy.

An understanding of the five forces to include:

  • entry threat (barriers to entry)
  • buyer power
  • supplier power
  • rivalry
  • substitute threat

Investment appraisal to include the calculation and interpretation of payback, average rate of return and net present value.

Autumn 2

Choosing strategic direction

Ansoff’s Matrix and value of:

  • market penetration
  • market development
  • new product development
  • diversification.

Strategic positioning to include:

  • Porter’s low cost, differentiation and focus strategies
  • Bowman’s strategic clock.

How to pursue strategies

Types of growth to include organic and external.

Issues with growth should include:

  • economies of scale (including technical, purchasing and managerial)
  • economies of scope
  • diseconomies of scale
  • the experience curve
  • synergy
  • overtrading.

Issues with managing growth should include Greiner’s model of growth.

Methods of growth to include:

  • Mergers
  • Takeovers
  • Ventures
  • Franchising

Types of growth to include:

  • vertical (backward and forward) horizontal
  • conglomerate integration

Types of innovation should include product and process innovation.

Ways of becoming innovative include:

  • kaizen
  • research and development
  • intrapreneurship
  • benchmarking.

Ways of protecting intellectual property include patents and copyrights.

Methods of entering international markets include:

  • export
  • licensing
  • alliances
  • direct investment.

Decisions regarding producing overseas include off-shoring and re-shoring.

Targeting overseas markets may include being a multinational.

Managing international business incudes Bartlett and Ghoshal’s international, multi-domestic, transnational and global strategies.

Digital technology should include e-commerce, big data, data mining and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

Spring 1

Managing Strategic Change

Types of change include: 

  • internal change
  • external change
  • incremental change
  • disruptive change.

Managing change should include:

  • Lewin’s force field analysis.

Flexible organisations include:

  • restructuring
  • delayering
  • flexible employment contracts
  • organic structures vs mechanistic
  • knowledge and information management.
  • Kotter and Schlesinger’s four reasons for resistance to change.
  • Kotter and Schlesinger’s six ways of overcoming resistance to change.

Cultural models should include:

  • Handy’s task culture, role culture, power culture and person culture
  • Hofstede’s national cultures

Organisational structures to include: functional

  • product base
  • regional
  • matrix structure.

Network analysis to include:

  • understanding and interpreting network diagrams
  • amendment of network diagrams
  • identifying the critical path and total float.

The effect of the divorce between ownership and control to include corporate governance.

Spring 2

Revision based on wants and needs of students

Both structured and free revision

Summer 1


Feedback and correction