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Economics & Business

A dynamic subject which draws on current events.

Business has quickly established itself alongside Economics as a very popular Sixth Form option, with over half of our pupils studying one or other of the subjects. These subjects provide a good basis for understanding the world; especially the world of work. They complement all other A Level subjects and, for many students at The Oratory, prove to be the subject they choose to continue to study in higher education.

Business at The Oratory

A Level Business explores a range of topics relevant to modern business management and society, including the business environment and ethical business behaviour, alongside the major study areas of Finance, Marketing, HR and Operations management. The subject is taught using a variety of methods and enables students to enhance their skills in decision-making and problem-solving.


Economics is a dynamic subject, which draws on current events. Pupils are encouraged to use a range of sources of information to widen their understanding of real-life economic issues, including textbooks, newspapers, and online and broadcast media.

Both Business and Economics A Levels are very popular at The Oratory. We also offer a GCSE equivalent qualification for Lower Sixth students interested in enhancing their university and employment applications, called ‘ Fundamentals of Financial Services’, which is a qualification awarded by the Charted Institute of Securities and Investment .

This year there are 50 pupils studying in the department. Many choose to pursue the subjects further, either as single honours or joint honours degrees, or as degree apprenticeships. 

Mrs Carole McKenna - Head of Economics & Business


Economics is a dynamic subject which draws on current events. Pupils are encouraged to use a range of sources of information to widen their understanding of real-life economic issues, including textbooks, newspapers, and online and broadcast media.

There are many reasons to study Economics, from the huge range of skills that will be gained, to the exciting types of employment for which you will be prepared. Economics relates to every aspect of our lives, from the decisions we make as individuals or families, to the structures created by governments and firms. Pupils will learn critical-thinking skills, which will help them to develop better approaches to decision-making; those who have studied the subject are much sought after by employers.

Economics is a popular subject in the Sixth Form, which students approach as something new and different, as it is not studied at GCSE level. However, Economics draws on skills learned up to Sixth Form across the curriculum, to explain how and why people act to improve their well-being and wealth, and also how people, including governments, make good and bad decisions.

Economics can be studied in any combination with science or arts subjects at A Level.

Trips include the BMW Mini factory, the Bank of England, Lloyds of London and the Museum of Brands. 

We prefer that a student has achieved a sound grade in both Mathematics and English Language at GCSE level before embarking on the course.

This A Level requires solid but not advanced Mathematics skills (usually indicated by a 6 or above at GCSE) and also an ability to write factual material coherently and in detail.


The A Level Economics course comprises two main areas of study:

Paper 1 (33%)              Microeconomics


2 hour examination


Paper 2 (33%)            Macroeconomics

The study of markets, market failure and government intervention in      markets. Pupils learn how to make more informed decisions as consumers, voters and managers, and about the impact those decisions have on firms, industries and the economy as a whole.

2 hour examination



Paper 3 (33%)             Microeconomics and Macroeconomics

The study of economic changes in an economy and globally and the         government policies used to improve economic performance. Including for example: the impact of international trade, both good and bad. The effect government policies have on growth, inflation and employment.

2 hour examination




The new Business A Level course is designed to be rigorous, inclusive and empowering. It requires analytical and data-handling skills, as well as placing emphasis on evaluative and quantitative written skills. 

Pupils are introduced to management theory and practice in Themes 1 and 2, through core business concepts and their application in business contexts, to develop a broad understanding of how businesses work. A breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, with applications to a wider range of contexts and more complex business information, are developed in Themes 3 and 4, requiring students to take a more strategic view of business opportunities and issues.

Students are encouraged to adopt an enquiring, critical and thoughtful approach to the study of Business, to understand that business behaviour can be studied from a range of perspectives and to challenge assumptions. Trips include Waitrose, BMW Mini factory, the Bank of England, Lloyds of London and the Museum of Brands. There are no prerequisites for taking the course, although grade 5s in GCSE English and Mathematics are recommended.


Theme 1 Marketing and People

Paper 1 (35%)

How businesses adapt their marketing to operate in a     dynamic  environment. Pupils also learn about people management, exploring how businesses recruit, train,      organise and motivate employees, as well as the role of   enterprising individuals and leaders.

Marketing, people and global


2 hour examination

Theme 2 Managing Business activities

Students explore the finance and operations functions, and             investigate external influences on businesses.

Theme 3 Business decisions and strategy

Paper 2 (35%)

Students develop their understanding of the concepts     introduced in Theme 2 and explore influences on business strategy and decision-making.

Business activities, decisions and strategy

2 hour examination

Theme 4 Global business

Paper 3 (30%)

Students investigate businesses that trade on a global scale and explore their reasons for doing so. Students     develop an understanding of the globally competitive      environment and consider the ethical and moral               dimensions of global business activities.

Investigating business in a

competitive environment

2 hour examination


There are a great many possibilities at university to continue to study Business. A degree in this subject is a popular choice, as Business graduates are valued by potential employers for their ability to contribute to the world of work. It may also be studied in combination with other subjects, especially languages. Business A Level supports the study of most other degrees and all careers in which effective management skills are needed. Business A Level is normally not a prerequisite for a degree course, including Business itself; however, students considering studying Business at university will find that many students have previously studied it at A Level.



Student Investor Challenge

Open to teams from 6th Year: Lower 6th and Upper 6th.

We meet every Tuesday afternoon at 5.00pm in the IT room.

Investor Challenge is a national competition run by the Institute of Financial Services that aims to introduce school pupils to the heady world of the stock market and investments.

The competition is played online; when you register your team will automatically be given £100,000 to spend on your fantasy share portfolio.

All stock market data is live data provided by Bloomberg, but is subject to a 15-minute delay. So you will be buying and selling shares in real companies but in a virtual way.

The national winners of the Portfolio Challenge get a week long, all expenses paid educational trip to New York for themselves and their teacher.  They also win £2000 prize money for their school and £200 for each team member.

In addition there will be prizes of book tokens for the two teams (one from Upper school and one from Years 10 and 11) that do best in this school.

As well as trading, we explore company profiles, trading tips and league tables. The competition does require that trading is done in teams and each TEAM MUST CONTAIN FOUR PEOPLE. Ideally you should put your team together from the start of term. But still come along even of your friends do not want to join in and we will form teams.

To find out more go on the website at


Enterprise Society

Open to Lower 6th pupils.

We meet every Thursday afternoon at 2.00pm in M01.

This is an opportunity for a team of pupils to run their own company for the whole academic year and learn valuable skills about running a business.

Weekly meetings will be held on Friday afternoon and you must attend these as decisions require voting from all shareholders, but you will also be expected to commit to give several hours of your free time each week to carrying out the decisions made at that meeting.

Pupils should not join this activity unless they are genuinely interesting in taking full part. It is a demanding undertaking that requires a strong sense of responsibility, team work and considerable time and effort. Pupils must APPLY and prove they are genuinely interested before they can join in – for more details ask Mrs McKenna.

 Depending on your role this could be

Making the goods you are going to sell,

Making promotional leaflets and posters,

Creating a display stand,

Helping to write the Business plan,

Keeping the accounts

Attending trade fairs

So what do you do

You run a company for a year

You invest in the company (typically £20) to start the business and so you are the shareholders /owners.

At the end of the year the company is wound up formally and any profits are distributed to the shareholders.

You will have a specific role and every role is critical to the success of the company whether it is Managing Director, Distribution manager or a Project leader for winning one of the many prizes that you will be entered for.

Recent evaluations showed that pupils who run their own enterprise:
82% of students felt that taking part i gave them the confidence to succeed in the future4% students felt more ready for the world of work1% students felt that their involvement helped them better understand their own strengths and weaknesses97% of young people reported skills progression of at least one employability competency93% students reported it had helped them understand the skills needed to fulfill various roles and responsibilities93% of teachers agreed that it increased student self-awareness in their own capabilities and potential and raised their career aspirations.


Business and Economics Society

Open to teams from Lower 6th and Upper 6th.

We meet every Monday afternoon at 5.00pm in M01

In the Business and Economics Society pupils take part in topical discussions, debates and research projects relevant to extending their understanding of topics covered by both subjects e.g. the impact of politics and law on businesses, the UK Productivity problem, the credit crunch and after, the impact of mergers such as Sainsbury and ASDA. 

Economics and Business are always in the headlines. Issues such as fair trade, business ethics, global warming and of course Brexit. The society provides an opportunity for pupils to further explore topics like these.

Pupils will also gain skills in participating effectively in discussions, debate and in researching using a range or resources.   Business and economics are among the most dynamic areas of modern life and success and success or failure in future careers depends on having a grasp of the changes that are taking place. Pupils will learn in a fascinating way that make these stories come alive in the classroom.