Business and Economics

The main aim of the Department of Business and Economics is to maximise the wide educational benefit to be gained from a knowledge and appreciation of the two subjects. A knowledge of Economics and/or Business aids the understanding of the environment in which organisations operate, including the natural, social, political and economic environment.

Economics, Management and Business courses continue to be popular amongst Birkdale leavers and an A level in either Economics or Business constitutes excellent preparation for such courses. Indeed, even if students are not expecting to read these subjects at university most will become managers of some sort in their own professional environment.

The department is very active on the extra-curricular front. Birkdale School is a Young Enterprise Centre of Excellence and we are successful in a range of local and national competitions, including the Bank of England’s Target 2.0 competition and the ICAEW’s BASE competition. In addition, the department produces its own in-house magazine, the Sleeping Dragon.

The department organises a variety of day and residential visits, including an annual trip to London visiting the Bank of England, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. A three-yearly trip to China and Hong Kong is also offered, in conjunction with the Modern Foreign Languages Department.

A Level Business and Economics

Economics (AQA 7136)

Economics is a real-world subject that affects everyone! It is about our economic system and how it operates. Inevitably, it is also about problems such as unemployment, rising house prices, taxes and recent events.

You will investigate micro and macroeconomics. Microeconomics addresses issues such as: ‘Why are house prices so high in some areas?’, ‘Can pollution be controlled effectively?’ and ‘Should governments interfere with markets?’. The macroeconomic issues covered include: ‘Why does the government have a target and how does it affect us?’, ‘What happens to the economy if people decide to spend more?’ and ‘How are we affected by the Chinese and Indian economies?’.

The A level course comprises three papers:

Paper 1: Markets and market failure (Written exam: 2hrs, 33.3% of A level)

Economic methodology and the economic problem; individual economic decision making; price determination in a competitive market; production, costs and revenue; perfect competition, imperfectly competitive markets and monopoly; the labour market; the distribution of income and wealth – poverty and inequality; the market mechanism, market failure and government intervention in markets.

Paper 2: The national and international economy (Written exam: 2hrs, 33.3% of A level)

The measurement of macroeconomic performance; how the economy works – the circular flow of income, AD/AS analysis and related concepts; economic performance; financial markets and monetary policy; fiscal policy and supply-side policies; the international economy.

Paper 3: Economic principles and issues (Written exam: 2hrs, 33.3% of A level)

A multiple choice question and case-study paper, based on the content already covered in Papers 1 and 2.

Links to other subjects

Economics is closely related to Business and has particular links to Mathematics, Government & Politics, Psychology, Geography and Modern Foreign Languages.

Links to HE courses and beyond

An A level in Economics would be considered valuable preparation for degree level study in the fields of Economics, Econometrics, PPE, Business Management, Accountancy and Finance, Marketing and Quantity Surveying. In addition, it provides a solid foundation for careers in banking, investment management and corporate law.

Business (AQA 7132)

The Business course focuses on the objectives and different functions of business, e.g. marketing, accounting and finance, operations and human resources, along with the challenges facing business from the wider competitive environment. Those who study Business will inevitably meet some areas of Economics because all businesses are affected by what happens in our economy.

You will be introduced to the challenges and issues of starting a business, including financial planning. The key internal functions of businesses are then explored along with how the management of these functions can assist in improving the effectiveness and performance of a business. Finally, you will examine business strategy and how businesses might best respond to change in today’s fast moving commercial environment, both domestically and internationally.

The A level course comprises three papers:

Paper 1: Business 1 (Written exam: 2hrs, 33.3% of A level)

What is business?; managers, leadership and decision making; decision making to improve marketing performance; decision making to improve operational performance; decision making to improve financial performance; decision making to improve human resource performance; analysing the strategic position of a business; choosing strategic direction; strategic methods – how to pursue strategies; managing strategic change.

Paper 2: Business 2 (Written exam: 2hrs, 33.3% of A level)

A data response paper, based on the content already covered in Paper 1.

Paper 3: Business 3 (Written exam: 2hrs, 33.3% of A level)

A case-study and essay paper, based on the content already covered in Papers 1 and 2.

Links to other subjects

Business is closely related to Economics and has particular links to Mathematics, Psychology, Geography and Design & Technology.

Links to HE courses and beyond

An A level in Business would be considered valuable preparation for degree level study in the fields of Business Management, Accountancy and Finance, Marketing, Corporate Law, Economics and Quantity Surveying, whilst providing a solid foundation for any student looking to run their own, or somebody else’s, business.

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