Business Studies & Economics

Welcome to the Department of Business Studies and Economics


It’s an exciting time to study Business and Economics subjects at Sheffield High School. This is a dynamic department, with new initiatives in teaching and learning, outstanding opportunities for educational visits and the provision of a variety of enrichment activities to provide your daughter with a positive learning environment in which she can thrive.

Business and Economics can be studied at GCSE as part of the new combined course or as stand-alone subjects at A-level. We pride ourselves on our excellent range of educational visits and enterprise activities that bring each course to life!

The department is also responsible for much of the enterprise provision offered throughout the school such as Young Enterprise, Industry Day and the Big Challenge in Year 9.

Six reasons why you should study Business and Economics at Sheffield High

  1. Outstanding results where all students make excellent progress
  2. They are the most relevant, real life subjects available on the curriculum
  3. Exciting new extracurricular opportunities and educational visits in the UK and abroad are available
  4. All teaching staff currently work as external examiners in senior positions for the courses you will study
  5. We have a passionate, experienced and innovative department to make your learning fun
  6. Whatever your career path, they are respected subjects by employers and universities

The Department

All the staff in the Business and Economics department are experienced classroom practitioners and examiners for the examination boards of the specifications that are delivered to you in school.

Mr S Coote (Head of Department)

Mr Coote is an experienced Head of Department with a track record of delivering outstanding results.  A specialist in MicroEconomics and Finance, Mr Coote has several years' experience of working with businesses and delivering a wide range of enrichment activities, achieving success at a national level.

Mr C Spick

Mr Spick is an experienced teacher of Business and a specialist in the social science of Economics. In addition to his normal teaching role, Mr Spick is a current examiner and team leader for OCR A-level Economics. He has a background in retail and marketing and, prior to joining Sheffield High School in 2009, taught at Durham High School for Girls and at Tapton School in Sheffield.  Mr Spick is currently Head of Year 12, responsible for monitoring the progress of students in this year group.

Mr P Jones

Mr Jones is an experienced teacher of Business with a particular interest in Macroecnomics and Behavioual Economics.  Having previously taught at  Aston Academy and Worksop College, Mr Jones has recently completed a foundation degree in Theology and is one of the leaders of his local church.

The courses we offer:

GCSE Business Studies and Economics

The Department is always looking to provide the best for our students and we offer the combined Business and Economics single GCSE qualification.  This course allows students to study elements of both subjects and achieve a greater understanding of how businesses operate in this ever-changing economic climate.

The main benefit of this course is that it enables students to fully understand what both Business Studies and Economics are all about, so they are able to make informed decisions about which subject they wish to continue with at A-level, where they can choose to specialise in either area.

Content Summary

Unit 1 - An Introduction to Small Business

This unit concentrates on the key issues and skills involved in enterprise.  It provides a framework to consider the marketing, financial, human and operatoinal issues involved in starting and running a small business.

Unit 2 - Investigating a Small Business

This unit is designed to equip you with the knowledge required to set up and operate your own small company - an essential life skill!  The content includes introducing the principles of marketing, accounting, human resources and operations amanagement.

Unit 5 - An Introduction to Economic Understanding

This unit introduces you to the respected social science of Economics. The focus is on national and international contemporary issues such as the Government’s spending and taxation decisions and crucially how businesses are affected by the changing economic climate such as the Eurozone crisis and emerging superpowers like China, India and Brazil.

Full details of the course content can be found on the Edexcel website

The course also includes the opportunity to take part in enterprise competitions which bring the classroom theory to life. Year 10 students take part in the Real Business Challenge run by Coca-Cola and consistently achieve success with this, reaching the regional finals last year. Students have also taken part in local enterprise competitions including the Connecting Communities project where they worked with the Cathedral Archer Project to devise classroom resources to raise awareness of homelessness in schools.

Educational visits are varied and include visits to Rolls Royce and a planned trip to Harry Potter World in 2016.

A-level Business Studies

After providing students with a sound knowledge of Business at GCSE, we provide the opportunity to study the subject as a stand-alone Advanced level qualification.

If you have an interest in one day running your own company or going on to study Business-related courses at University such as management, accounting or marketing, then Business Studies A-level is the subject for you.

In the first year of the course you will build your knowledge of core business concepts and will apply them to business contexts to develop a broad understanding of how businesses work.  You will focus particularly on the core functional areas of any business such as marketing, people, finance and operations management.

In the second year of the course you will take a much more strategic view of business opportunities and issues.  You will develop a breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding with applications to a wider range of contexts and more complex business information.

The business world is ever-changing and a constant presence in everybody’s lives. This unique characteristic allows us to bring this subject to life in the classroom with real-world examples and case studies to support all areas of the course.

Extra-curricular opportunities

Young Enterprise – with the aid of a business advisor, students have the opportunity to set up and run their own business.  Being responsible for every aspect of starting and running a company, the team must work effectively as a unit to make as much profit as possible.  The 2014-2015 team Rewire achieved considerable success in making the national finals, the first time in 16 years that a team from South Yorkshire has achieved this.  Along the way Rewire picked up 11 awards in local and regional competitions.

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales BASE Competition – students take on the role of chartered accountants to solve a business problem with the help of a business expert.

National Student Investor Competition – this is a fantastic enrichment activity where students are given the task of investing an imaginary £100,000 on the London Stock Exchange with the aim of maximising their portfolio value. This allows you to learn more about the stock market and the cut-and-thrust of City trading with a top prize of a trip to New York!

Business Prefects – our team of business prefects is responsible for assisting with Enterprise days, mentoring Business students lower down the school, assisting with open days and helping to run the department's magazine.

Departmental Magazine – students have the opportunity to contribute to the running of the Department's Business and Economics magazine in a variety of roles such as feature writer, editorial team, publishing etc.

Educational Visits

In Year 12, students visit factories in the Midlands such as Jaguar Land Rover and JCB to see the production process actually taking place. At each venue the girls receive an educational talk and factory tour.

During their time in the Sixth Form, they are also given the opportunity to go on a foreign residential visit. Past destinations have included Paris and China. In 2016 the Department will be taking students to New York. This bi-annual trip is a great way for students to see businesses in action abroad and to learn about other cultures.

“If you ever get a chance to go somewhere as amazing as China, then do it! I grabbed this opportunity with both hands and will treasure the memories forever. I loved both the cultural and business related activities but highlights were obviously the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the World Financial Centre and the Shanghai Volkswagen factory. The trip has really influenced me to travel more and I am so grateful of the chance to visit such an amazing place and to Mr Spick and Mrs Higgins for making it possible and so enjoyable.” Daisy Rushforth, Business Studies student.

A-level Economics

Economics is a respected social science which opens the door to a vast range of university courses and careers.

Economics is one of the most relevant and interesting courses on offer to students at Advanced Level. Economics determines our pay, the jobs we do, the industries we work in, how we travel, where we live, the goods we buy, where we buy them and the price we pay! To have an understanding of this subject is an essential life skill.

The department consists of specialist economics teachers and examiners with many years’ combined experience. Our work as external examiners for the current examination specification allows us to deliver the material with examination technique in mind throughout the course. This in turn helps us to achieve outstanding academic results and support students of all abilities. Many of our students go on to study Economics at top universities such as London School of Economics and University College London (UCL).

What is Economics?
Standard Definition: Economics is the study of how our scarce resources are allocated to meet our unlimited wants as a society.

In our opinion this definition does little to help people understand the subject! It is far more useful to outline the major topic areas and issues that you will address during your time as an economist at Sheffield High School.

The Economics course is made up of three components, microeconomics and macroeconomics which are taught over both years, alongside an investigation of economic themes which draws together both Micro and Macro Economics.


From a base of microeconomic theory this component will enable students to discuss and evaluate how well this theory explains our observations of economic agents in the real world. The theoretical workings of the free market provide a useful starting point for explanation and analysis. Imperfections and market failures provide a lead into discussing the merits and drawbacks of government intervention and the usefulness of theory in explaining observations taken from the real world of economics.


This component will provide students with the technical and analytical tools required to understand how the macroeconomy functions on both the domestic and global levels. The course encourages students to adopt a critical approach to their study of policy through understanding the limitations and conflicts that they present. Policy approaches are also considered in a historical context to understand how macroeconomics has changed over time.

A third component focuses on themes in economics.  This is synoptic in nature and draws on content from both the microeconomics and macroeconomics components.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

All students are entered into the Royal Economics Society essay writing competition in Year 12 and produce a piece of extended writing on a current economic issue.  Students also have the opportunity to act as Economics prefects and contribute to the department magazine.

We also have links with The Adam Smith Institute and we hosted a conference in June 2015 with lectures on topics such as the future of the NHS, gender pay gaps and the impact of technology of different groups within society.

Educational Visits

Students take a trip to London for the day, visiting places such as the Bank of England, Canary Wharf, Bloomberg and the London Stock Exchange.

During their time in the sixth form they are also given the opportunity to go on a foreign residential visit. Past destinations have included Paris and China. In 2016 the department will be taking students to New York. This bi-annual trip is a great way for students to see businesses in action abroad and to learn about other cultures.