GCSE (9-1) Business | Pearson qualifications

GCSE (9-1) Business

Mon Nov 07 08:37:00 UTC 2016

The new GCSE (9-1) Business qualification is ready for first teaching in September 2017.

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The new GCSE (9-1) in Business

We have planned free 'Getting ready to teach' events from March to July and the textbooks are due to be published in Spring 2017.  This update covers:

  • Transition
  • Qualification structure
  • Specification content
  • Assessment


The last available assessment for the current GCSEs in Business will be June 2018.  The reformed GCSEs in Business will be reported in the 2019 performance tables. This means that students following a three-year key Stage 4 (2016-2019) must study the new qualification.

Qualification structure

There is no change to the guided learning hours (still 120glh) and the qualification is adopting the new 9 to 1 grading scale, with 9 the top level. There is a fully linear structure and no tiering.

The name has changed from Business Studies to Business and there are no pathways.

Specification content

The specification content has been updated to include all content areas within the DfE subject content and there is new content for example the role of procurement.

The content is divided into two themes:

  • Theme 1 which concentrates on the key business concepts, issues and skills involved in starting and running a small business. This is intended to provide a framework for students to explore core concepts through the lens of an entrepreneur setting up a business.
  • Theme 2 which examines how a business develops beyond the start-up phase. This theme focuses on the key business concepts, issues and decisions used to grow a business, with an emphasis on aspects of marketing, operations, finance and human resources. It also considers the impact of the wider world on the decisions a business makes as it grows.

The removal of controlled assessment means that there will be more curriculum time to cover the new content requirements.


GCSE Business will now be assessed entirely by exam (no controlled assessment).

A minimum of 10% of the subject marks will be allocated to quantitative skills. These comprise of calculations and interpretation of data. Students will apply a range of quantitative skills relevant to business. The quantitative skills are listed in Appendix 2 of the specification.

There are two papers:

  • Paper 1 assessing Theme 1
  • Paper 2 assessing Theme 2.

Each paper has three sections:

  • Section A = 35 marks
  • Section B = 30 marks
  • Section C = 25 marks

Questions in section A are not in context. Questions in Sections B and C are based on business contexts.

The questions are ramped and increasingly challenge students as they move through the paper.

A taxonomy of command words has been carefully defined and will be used in the assessments. This is available in Appendix 1 of the specification.

Colin Leith


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