A Level Secondary Secondary Business

A guide to the new A-level Business specifications

Many departments in the UK are currently having to decide which exam board they will work with for the new specifications that are being taught from September 2015. The current position with exam boards is that AQA dominates the UK market despite a slight decline in candidate numbers since 2011. The table below shows the overall picture.

A-level stats





All exam boards have been providing briefings regarding the changes to the new linear specification, and Tutor2U the support site has provided an excellent overview of all 3 and their changes. It can be downloaded using the link below.


From reading the new specifications there appear to be 2 distinct ones coming out on top- a more challenging business A Level offered by AQA and an easier alternative (and similar to  the current AQA spec) Pearson Edexcel.

A very interesting point about the Pearson Edexcel specification is the pre-release industry theme which may be attractive to those centres who have liked the current AQA unit 4 pre-release and for those teachers who are happy with this. The content here is very similar to that at present and therefore wouldn’t require a huge amount of preparation of new resources from teachers.

AQA on the other hand has a large amount of new content and a lot of the repetitive nature of business GCSE has been removed. Challenging theories such as Hackman and Oldman, Hofstede, Carroll’s corporate social responsibility pyramid and Kaplan and Norton’s balanced scorecard, will interest students and give both teachers and learners something to get their teeth into straight way rather than starting with enterprise in the current BUSS1. Much of the AQA specification is synoptic and this is a change from the current syllabus.

The impending linear qualification will see a change in the 16-19 curriculum and the way that students and teachers study and teach. AQA has a mix of MCQ, shorter answers as well as extended essays. Where-as Pearson Edexcel has no MCQ and stays similar to the current system of questions.

Whichever specification is chosen by the department it will continue to focus on the key subject content stated by OFQUAL, but in my opinion the new AQA syllabus will challenge and engage students of all abilities and stretch those more able. This will also set students up well for a degree or continued study in business management at a higher level.


Donna Jestin

Teacher of Business

Collins Secondary

Collins Secondary is the home of innovative learning resources for all stages of secondary education. We support thousands of teachers and pupils who are using our award-winning materials every day, and provide what you need to enhance the learning experience with our easy to use and flexible programmes.

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