Spotlight on Business
Dragons' Den, break-even charts and personalised teaching? Mr T Cannon, Head of Business and Enterprise, talks us through Business A-Level at Blackheath High School.
How long have you been teaching Business A-Level at Blackheath High School?
I started at the school in October 2014 so it has been just over 3 years now, which has gone VERY quickly!
I studied Business and Economics at university. Whilst I was there, I got involved in the radio station and was lucky enough to be nominated, and win, the BBC Student Radio of the Year award, which then led me to work at the BBC for a short time. Whilst working there, I realised that as much as I enjoyed it, teaching was something that I wanted to try even more. Blackheath High School is the third school that I have taught at full time.
What is covered in Business A-Level?
The Business A-Level course in Sixth Form is split into two sections. Part 1 concentrates on the human aspects of business like marketing, advertising, recruitment, motivating staff and how someone would become an entrepreneur. Part 2 brings in a bit more of the financial side of things, so we cover sales forecasting, break-even graphs, accounting documents and budgets. In Year 13, students are also tasked with researching a product or market, which they are then examined on in the summer. This year, the topic is the chocolate industry.
What are your students working on at the moment?
Year 12 are looking at sources of finance, with a particular focus on venture capitalists like the ones you would find on Dragons' Den. Year 13 are currently looking at the pros and cons for UK businesses of leaving the EU.
Would you say it is a popular subject?
I have seen numbers growing. Provisional numbers for Year 12 next year are very positive, it looks like it will be the biggest group we have ever had for Business A-Level.
Is there a particular aspect of the course that students tend to enjoy?
I find students tend to enjoy any parts of the course that they can draw parallels with in their everyday life. For example, when learning about entrepreneurs, pupils enjoy researching the lives of those that have run successful businesses. Often they are surprised by how many times someone has failed before they finally hit on a great business idea.
What are the benefits of studying this subject?
Studying Business A-Level really gives students an excellent foundation in understanding how companies try to make money. By understanding the tactics they use, some more obvious than others, students can build up a greater understanding of the relationships they have with business they come into contact with every day. Also, whatever a student ends up doing as a career, they will be working in some form of industry, meaning the content learned is useful to all students.
What are the benefits of studying Business A-Level at Blackheath High School?
We benefit from smaller class sizes in our Sixth Form compared to many other schools, meaning students can have a much more personalised teaching style tailored to what they best respond to.