Economics & Business Studies: Durham School: independent day and boarding school in the North East of England for boys and girls
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Economics & Business Studies

Improve your ability to lead and manage with a stimulating insight into the way a modern economy functions.


Head of Department: Mr A Graham

Teaching Staff: Mr A Gouge, Miss J Little


Broadly speaking, Economics is the study of wealth and well-being. Many politicians and world leaders are economics graduates; studying the subject provides a fascinating insight into how scarce global resources are allocated and why individuals, businesses and governments make the decisions they do. Due to the ever-evolving economic landscape the subject itself is very fluid: Brexit, prolonged periods of austerity, uncertainty in Europe and the USA's changing policies towards protectionism will all be key study areas in the years to come.

Economics combines very well with other subjects; there is no evidence that any one combination is more suitable than another. Economics may be taken with Business Studies as there is very little overlap. There is a degree of numerical skill required to succeed, not maths as such, but an ability to interpret and analyse economic data and trends is useful. Much of the course assessement is based on being able to demonstrate analytical and evaluative skills in extended writing, so good standard of written English is important.

In addition to our work in the classroom we compete in the national ‘Target 2.0’ competition, run by the Bank of England and The Times newspaper, whereby our pupils present their solution for controlling inflation to a panel of expert judges. We also welcome visiting speakers from local and national businesses and run trips to a variety of subject related destinations.

After Durham

Many pupils find that studying economics opens up new areas of interest in which they previously had little knowledge. Economics provides a stimulating insight into the way a modern economy functions and also has close links to the political and social process.

Business Studies

Head of Department: Mr O J Hughes

Teaching Staff: Mrs V Turnbull


Business Studies is a lively, forward-thinking subject. Throughout the two year course our pupils improve their ability to work as part of a team, to lead and manage, to make presentations and to use business data efficiently. Aside from our work in the classroom we enter teams in competitions such as BASE Business Challenge and IFS Student Investor. We also go on various field trips and welcome visiting speakers from industry - in recent years we have been addressed by Kevin Roberts (formerly Executive Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi), Paul Blake (MD of Newcastle Eagles basetball) and Luct Armstrong (Chair of the alchemists Group).

After Durham

Many of our A level pupils enjoy the subject so much that they choose to study a business related course at university. Pupils are encouraged to take an interest in the wider business world; the ability to interpret case study data and handle numbers with a degree of confidence is useful. 

BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Business

Head of Department: Mr O J Hughes

Teaching Staff: Mr A McMillen, Mrs V Turnbull, Mr S Wardle, Mr O J Hughes


BTECs in Business can be studied post-16, the same as A-levels, but they are more flexible and have a more vocational content (more focus on developing skills and knowledge specifically for the workplace). The BTEC Business course can be equivalent to two A-levels and is respected and accepted by the vast majority of universities. Instead of being graded in the traditional sense, BTECs have grading criteria of pass, merit, distinction and distinction*, with distinction* being the highest achievement.

The course allows learners to study elements of traditional business theory such as marketing and finance, whilst also introducing modern themes such as event management and pitching business ideas. The assessment tasks on the BTEC Business course may take several forms; written projects, presentations, practical activites, there is scope for a wide variety of assessment methods to be used which will stand learners in good stead for the future. They provide progression to the workplace either directly or via study at a higher level.

After Durham

Over 100,000 BTEC students apply to UK universities every year and their BTEC Nationals are accepted by over 150 UK universities and higher education institutes for relevant degree programmes either on their own or in a combination with A-levels. 


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