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Business Studies

Stacks of Coins


Mr P McKittrick MSc BSc PGCE PQH (Head of Department)

Mr M Irwin BEd

Mrs S Buchanan MSc BA PGCE

Why Study

Since its inception in the mid 1990's this department has grown to become one of the more popular choices amongst GCSE and A-Level students at the school. With a committed staff who have been involved in examining both the GCSE and A-Level specifications we have a record of a good standard of results in external exams.

GCSE Business Studies

We believe GCSE Business Studies is relevant to students regardless of which career they later pursue, since it is useful for everyone to have a basic understanding of the key operations and decision making processes of modern businesses. To ensure an awareness of local business issues within the wider context we follow Northern Ireland / CCEA specification for GCSE Business Studies. We endeavour to utilise input from local businesses where relevant, to help bring the core topics of marketing, finance, operations and human resources to life.

Pupils are assessed using a variety of methods during their 2 year course, but their GCSE grade is determined by their marks in coursework (single project undertaken in Year 12 worth 25%) and in 2 exam papers.

In the past students have visited local businesses such as Wrightbus, Chain Reaction, Ryobi and the Schrader amongst others. We have participated in Stock Market Challenge competitions. In examinations we have had students placed as high as 2nd across the whole country.

A Level

At A-Level we follow the CCEA specification. For those pupils who have sat GCSE Business Studies it would be considered necessary to have achieved at least a Grade B to indicate an aptitude for the subject. However we do welcome students onto the A-Level course who have not previously studied the subject. Thus our main requirements of any pupil wishing to take our A-Level course would be that they should have achieved at least a Grade B in both Mathematics and English at GCSE.

With in excess of 35,000 students throughout the UK following this specification we are pleased to have had students placed in the top 25. The basic content again covers the core areas of business studies (marketing, finance, people, operations management) but also develops knowledge of external influences and objectives & strategy. Clearly though the content is explored at much greater depth at AS and at A2 Level.

Furthermore the A-Level course places great emphasis on the students' ability to develop and utilise the key exam skills of application, analysis and evaluation in the context of case study questions.

The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.

- Aristotle Onassis

Career Options

Every year A-Level Business Studies past pupils from Carrickfergus Grammar move on to study accounting, business studies, economics and finance degrees at Queen's University and the University of Ulster as well as many other universities in Scotland, England and Ireland. Past pupils have used the knowledge and skills developed in A-Level Business Studies to eventually progress to careers working as accountants, bankers, economists, human resource managers, management consultants, marketing executives, operations managers, public relations officers, retail managers, solicitors, supply chain managers teachers and many other careers. One past pupil told us years later that at her interview for the BA Economics & Management degree at Oxford University she felt that the breadth of knowledge gained through the Business Studies A-Level had given her an advantage over other students.

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