Business Department


The aim of Business Studies is to provide pupils with the understanding to function effectively in the rapidly changing world. Through this subject pupils will have the opportunity to become more aware of how things are made and how they work. Active involvement in Business Studies provides opportunity for pupils to think, plan, reason and evaluate. We actively develop the pupil’s ability to think and plan in a logical sequence to pursue goals, which can be realistically achieved. The subject brings together and utilises knowledge and skills from other curriculum areas especially in problem solving activities. The Business Studies Department offers pupils the opportunity to study the subject at GCSE, AS and A Level. Why choose Business Studies as a subject at GCSE and A’ Level? While it is obvious for all those wishing to take employment in industry or pursue entrepreneurial ambition it is vitally important for all students to develop knowledge and understanding of the Business Environment. Everyone will contribute to a business in some manner as an owner, employee, customer, and supplier or in various stakeholders’ capacity. Therefore building up personal knowledge and understanding will enhance your own ideas of how the business operates. As a Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 subject students have a unique opportunity to study something different from the traditional Key Stage 3 curriculum. This can be a welcomed change and offers students to up-skill and develop new skills in a different learning and teaching environment. Business Studies is an excellent, current subject that allows students to explore a wide variety of subjects, topics and concepts from Economics, Accountancy, Human Resource Management, Marketing, International Business and Management and many more. It is a cross curricular subject and appeals to academic and vocationally gifted students with a rich mixture of numeracy and literacy themes challenging all students and raising standards. Studying Business will allow each learner to appreciate the world around them and identify the links between Business, Government, Society and the wider world. Students will understand the Business and Political landscape locally, nationally and internationally. St Mary’s offers a range of Business courses approved and accepted at Higher Level institutions and by leading universities in N Ireland and across the United Kingdom. In terms of employability and careers the study of Business Studies enhances students’ employment opportunities as they are studying the wider Business Environment. This allows for a smoother transition from student life to actively contributing to the business operations in their chosen area of industry and career.


  • Mr C Lynch


GCSE CCEA Applied Business Studies Year 11 and Year 12 The GCSE Applied Business course is divided into seven themes: Themes are outlined in more detail below:
Theme Content
Business Start Up
  • Business ownership
  • Business aims
  • Stakeholders
  • Resources of business
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Types of production
  • Methods of production
  • Health and safety
  • Sources of finance
  • Cash flow forecasts
  • Ratios
  • Break-even
  • Market research
  • Competition
  • Marketing mix
Managing People
  • Recruitment
  • Selection
  • Developing people
Business Growth
  • Business success or failure
  • Business growth
  • International business
Business Plan
  • Business plan
This course is assessed through controlled assessment and written exam: 60% coursework 40% written exam GCSE AQA Business and Communication Systems What is AQA Business and Communication Systems? In this GCSE students will learn about the importance of Business and Communication Systems in modern business. Students will learn how ICT systems improve communication and affect the way people work as well as the risks involved with using ICT. Students will also learn about the importance of recruiting, retaining and rewarding people in work as well as the role of E-Commerce. Students will enhance their skills in a range of software applications and learn how they support each area of a business. The software with which you will be expected to be familiar is:
  • Word processing
  • Spreadsheets
  • Databases
  • Graphics
  • Presentation
  • Web authoring
In addition to using the software for specific examination tasks, you will be asked to investigate ICT in a specific business situation and complete a practical exercise. There are 3 units to the course over the two year GCSE study. An outline of the course is detailed as follows:
Unit Form of examination Length of time
8 ICT Systems in Business Written Paper60 marks 40%Areas such as:
  • Stakeholders
  • Business Aims and Objectives
  • Health and Safety
  • Sustainable office
  • Management
  • Data systems
  • Security of Data
  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Training
  • Rewarding staff
  • Employment rights and responsibilities
  • Communication
  • E-Commerce
1 hour
9 Using ICT in Business Computer Based examination60 marks 35%Use of IT software such as:
  • Word processing
  • Spreadsheets
  • Databases
  • Graphics
  • Presentation
  • Web authoring
  • Creating graphics
1.5 hours
10 Investigating ICT in Business Controlled Assessment40 Marks 25%Case study material is released in Jan / Feb of examination year.This assessment develops key transferable skills in areas such as:
  • Research and planning
  • Time management
  • Processing and managing information
  • IT development
  • Self Management
  • Communication
  • Presentation
  • Business Acumen
  • Appreciation of target audience
8-10 hours of research and planning3-4 hours final presentation
Click here to see our photo gallery

Post 16

GCE Business Studies AS / A2 Level In St Marys College we offer two pathways at AS / A2 level. 1. CCEA GCE Applied Business Studies 2. CCEA GCE Business Studies AS / A2 Applied Business This AS and A2 vocational specification has been specifically designed to suit both the modern Northern Ireland and global business contexts.

Course Structure

A Single Award qualification is worth one A' level and students will study 6 of the units outlined in the table below. AS Level
Unit Title Overview Assessment
AS Unit 1 The Enterprising Business This is an introductory unit, which gives the candidates an opportunity to gain an overview of the Enterprising Business and how it creates market opportunities. The emphasis should be on investigating actual businesses in Northern Ireland and the actions businesses should take in response to customer needs and competitive forces. Internal Portfolio Coursework 16 2/3%
AS Unit 2 The Enterprising Manager This unit gives an overview of how the enterprising manager uses Finance and People effectively. The emphasis should be on management accounting to aid decision-making and the effective management, motivation and development of staff. Internal Portfolio Coursework 16 2/3%
AS Unit 3 External Influences on the Business Enterprise The emphasis here is on investigating the impact of external conditions on businesses and their responses to changes in economic and market conditions, environmental issues, social and ethical issues and legal and self-regulatory constraints. External Examination 1 ½ hour paper 16 2/3
A2 Level Units 7 and 9 are compulsory units and Units 8, 10 and 11 are optional.
Unit Title Overview Assessment
A2 Unit 7 Finance The focus of this unit will be the preparation and interpretation of financial accounts from the trial balance sheet to final accounts for a Sole Trader, Partnership and a Limited Company External Examination 1 ½ hour paper 16 2/3%
A2 Unit 9 Enterprise in Practice This practical unit is delivered through the planning and running of either a mini-enterprise or a virtual enterprise and includes• Setting aims and objectives • Target market/market research • Marketing issues • Financial analysis and planning • Resource management • Recommendations • Evaluation of outcomes and / or processes Internal Portfolio Coursework 16 2/3%
A2 Unit 8 Quality Management The focus of this unit will be on the production of the goods and services. Candidate will investigate how a Business ensures that its production process deliver quality results.  They will also investigate the concept of process improvement within a TQM approach Internal Portfolio Coursework 16 2/3
A2 Unit 10 Investing in People In this unit candidates will examine the case that investing in people make sound Business sense. They will consider the Investors in People (IIP) approach and explore the issues of motivation, staff welfare and development, analysing how both the Business and its employees grow, develop and succeed. Internal Portfolio Coursework 16 2/3%
A2 Unit 11 Marketing This unit provides the opportunity for an in depth study of marketing. This includes developing the principles of marketing, the marketing mix and examining how market research is used by Business in Northern Ireland Internal Portfolio Coursework 16 2/3%
AS / A2 GCE Business Studies In this pathway students are assessed across 4 modules (listed below). Each module is worth 25% of their overall mark. There is no coursework in this pathway.
AS 1 The Competitive Business Business activity; forms of business; marketing and operations; business environment; quality; investment and productivity 1h 30mins Examination
AS 2 Managing Business Resources Management and organisation structures; accounting; financial information as an aid to decision-making and control 1h 30mins Examination
A2 1 Making Business Decisions Macroeconomic framework; corporate culture; social responsibilities; relationships between stakeholders 1h 30mins Examination
A2 2 The Changing Business Environment Stakeholder conflict and resolutions; accounting and financial information as an aid to decision-making and financial control.  2h Examination
Why I chose Business Studies at A’Level? “I chose Business Studies as I studied it at GCSE and enjoyed it.  I believed this background would help me at A’ Level. I am hoping to go on and do a Business degree and I think A level Business studies will help me in the long term with my degree and enhance my employability prospects.” (N Quinn Year 13) “I have chosen to study Business Studies for A’ Level as I think it is a good mix along with my other subjects ICT and Technology & Design. This is my first year studying Business Studies and I found it quite difficult at the beginning because everything was new to me for example terminology, keywords and course content. But now I enjoy completing the coursework and I have developed lots of new skills since I have started the course.” (F Corr Year 13) “I chose Business Studies because it complimented my other subject choices such as Art and ICT. Business Studies has helped me develop new skills where I am  able to apply course theory to real life situations and now feel more confident in understanding what is happening in the world around me terms of Local and National Business Environment  and the Economy. I find this subject interesting and enjoyable and I am very happy I decided to choose business as an A’ Level because it will give me greater choices and opportunities at university.” (S Mc Cafferty Year 13) Click here to see our photo gallery