AQA BUSS4 Research Theme for 2015 - Manufacturing in the UK

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Teaching Vacancy - Teacher of Business, Economics and Accounts (The Howard School)

Monday, November 24, 2014

An opportunity here to join our friends in the Business & Economics Dept at The Howard School. Details below.

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Manufacturing and Innovation - Dyson Goes Big on R&D

Friday, November 21, 2014

This business news story has it all!  Dyson, one of the best-known UK manufacturers, has announced a £1bn investment in research and development over the next four years. Why? Because it has set a corporate objective to launch 100 new products over those four years.

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The way to an employee’s heart - through his stomach?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Would free food make you work harder? Google think that it would, and so do many other employers. Is it true that Google have a rule that no employee should ever be more than 150 feet from a food outlet in the office? There is the story in this article, of an employee in California who practically moved into the office, sleeping in his car just outside and living on the perks and extras available in the building, which he managed to do for a full 60 weeks. 

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What an amazing week at WOW! Business!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Last week saw the launch of WOW! Business which stepped into the huge shoes of TBBLE (The Best Business Lesson Ever).

The format is simple; a resource packed day dedicated to the teaching and learning of Business Studies.

WOW! Business began last week in Manchester where I was joined by the amazing Kate Phillips who teaches in Ysgol Bryn Alyn, Wrexham. WOW! Business then travelled to Birmingham before finishing in London where I was joined by the also amazing Joe Corcoran from Greenhead College, Huddersfield.

Delegates were treated to over 30 brand new teaching and learning resources specifically designed to help engage and motivate students as well as helping to deliver core business studies topics such as location, profit and loss, stakeholders, organisational structures, demand and many, many more.

Next week WOW! Business lands in Glasgow on the 25th November and then arrives in Cardiff on the 28th. Details can be found here.

One of the many, many highlights of last week was meeting up with business teacher Ardy Mahmoudi who just happened to be wearing the same shirt, trousers and shoes as Joe!

The Biz Quiz - 19 November 2014

Two bonus questions in this week's edition of The Biz Quiz

Launch The Biz Quiz - 19 November 2014

Download printable (pdf) version

Download teacher solution (pdf)

Marketing and online hotel reviews - ‘free’ information?

If you are running a hotel these days, one of the most important aspects of your marketing mix must be the 'free' publicity that you get through review sites like TripAdvisor. Most of us would prefer to check the reviews posted by other travelers before booking a hotel we don't know - while you will always find some extreme views, the average rating and trend of the comments left are very helpful. So too are the responses that some of them add to the site, so that you can see how they deal with criticism. It takes 'word of mouth' marketing to a new level, and is not directly within the control of the hotel's management; the only thing they can do is be aware of the impression they are making on their clients, and try to ensure that their standards are fit-for-purpose and will generate the right sort of comment to encourage more travelers to choose them.

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How rich are you? (Teachers should be pleasantly surprised)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Based on the Channel 4 programme by the same name, I created this worksheet that asks students to predict the wages of various professions, and where they fall on the income distribution chart. They can then watch this short clip which gives them the answers, leading to great discussions and potential research on any of the following:

  • The taboo of wages and why we struggle to make accurate predictions
  • The rich-poor divide and Pareto’s Law
  • The importance of education
  • The determinants of wages
  • Taxes and benefits
  • Money and happiness

Hope it helps.

Tesco, and the pressures of a price war

There must have been a siege mentality at Tesco recently, as they are locked in hand-to-hand battle with Asda and Sainsbury, and find that they are outflanked by Aldi and Lidl. Whether that justifies some of the tactics being employed to regain the upper hand, or the financial relationships they have had with suppliers for the last few years, is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, and is increasingly coming under public scrutiny. What could be the worst outcome for them: a serious fine which erodes their already-battered budgets, a change in accounting practices forced on them by the outcome of the SFO investigation, a real shift in the supplier/buyer power relationship that has so far seen Tesco, the buyer, with huge advantage, or a significant change in public trust and their relationship with their customers? 

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The Biz Quiz - 11 November 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ten more questions on the business news from the last 7 days here! Can you get 100%

Launch The Biz Quiz - 11 November 2014

Download printable version (pdf)

Download teacher solution

UK Manufacturing - Supply Chains Need Strengthening

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The need for supply chains supporting UK manufacturing to be significantly strengthened has been highlighted by a new research report from the CBI and consultants AT Kearney.

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UK Manufacturing Competitiveness: The Threat from Energy Costs and Skills Gaps

An important contribution to the debate about the UK's industrial strategy was made by the CBI in October 2014 and much of what was said is directly relevant to students researching the opportunities and threats facing UK manufacturing.

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New entry to the discount supermarket segment

Thursday, November 06, 2014

If a business sees a market segment in which sales are predicted to double to the scale of 15% of the total market in the next five years, you would expect them to be quick to find ways to enter it. However, if you are Sainsbury's, and have a carefully nurtured image and market position to protect, you might baulk at rushing into the discount segment of the market, in case it interfered with that image or cannibalised your market.

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Manufacturing Competitiveness - Rolls Royce Takes Steps to Improve Operational Efficiency

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Competitiveness - and specifically the need to be cost-effective - is at the heart of a significant announcement by one of the UK's most significant manufacturers Rolls Royce.

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The Biz Quiz - 3 November 2014

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Biz Quiz returns from a half-term break with 10 questions on the business news whilst we were away!

Launch The Biz Quiz - 3 November 2014

Download printable version (pdf)

Teachers only - download solution

Manufacturing - Printing a House

Advocates of the transformative power of 3D printing (or additive manufacturing to give it the formal name) will be excited by this fascinating example of how it might be used in the near future. 

An architectural consultancy in the Netherlands is using 3D technology to build an entire house!

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Leadership and Strategy - Moya Greene at the Privatised Royal Mail

The strategic challenges facing Royal Mail and its renowned CEO Moya Greene are explored in this superb FT video report (below) from Andrew Hill which takes a look at Royal Mail just a year after the business was privatised.

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Manufacturing Technology - The Bendable Opportunity

A simply stunning video report here from the FT which introduces the work of an innovative UK manufacturer - Smartkem - which is looking to innovate in the emerging printed electronics sector.

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Technological Innovation - Impossible Food?

Can technology provide a viable, scaleable alternative to livestock farming? I must admit, after watching this report from Tim Bradshaw of the FT, that it looks like it could!

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Sony - Eyes the Wearables Opportunity

Facing intensive competition in the smartphone market, Sony is turning its attention to a different consumer electronics market - wearables.

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Court Out! Red Bull and other cases of false advertising

Friday, October 31, 2014

Prepare yourselves for a shock; Red Bull does NOT give you wings, and have had to pay over $13m in compensation for saying so. I would assume the latter statement caused more astonishment than the former, and so I looked into previous false advertising cases and compiled the attached game called Court Out.

There are 10 case of false advertising, students have to decide which businesses were “court out” and had to pay damages, which advertising campaigns “got away with it” and which one is an urban legend. On the final slide is Graham’s “Spectrum of Analysis” in which students must evaluate which ones they felt were the most or least culpable.

To prevent any class action law suits against me, I would say it is a relatively fun and engaging game that should promote discussion and evaluation and might help students understand the fine line between good marketing and mendacity*.

*learning not guaranteed but I hope it helps!

Introduction to marketing assignment.

Friday, October 24, 2014

As a way to introduce the marketing topic, I get my students to research and present an example of an interesting and / or innovative marketing campaign. As well as providing some great examples, it gets them thinking about some of the key terms that we will use as we progress through the unit. 

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Trick or Treat Business Challenge

Monday, October 20, 2014

A seasonal quiz challenge for your business students here courtesy of @tutor2u_jon in the tutor2u Learning Lab.

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Manufacturing - Energy Costs and Competitiveness

Friday, October 17, 2014

Surveys of manufacturing businesses in the UK often ask what aspect of government policy would be most helpful to manufacturers. High up the list of priorities come a better-trained and educated workforce, lower taxes and greater financial incentives to invest in R&D. However, there is one factor that nearly always comes top - energy pricing.

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Luxury Goods - The Decline in Global Demand

It seems that all is not well in the global market for luxury goods. There is increasing evidence of a slowdown in demand for luxury products. One reason is slower economic growth in the emerging economies. The geo-political environment isn't helping either, with unrest in the Ukraine and Hong Kong contributing to consumer unease.  Add in the worries over the Ebola outbreak and a clampdown on public corruption in China - it is not hard to see why demand for luxury goods is weakening.

But, is there another underlying reason - are consumers also getting fatigued with some luxury brands?

This useful FT video explores the issues.

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The Biz Quiz - 16 October 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The final biz quiz before our half-term break is now ready for you to attempt!

Launch The Biz Quiz - 16 October 2014

Download printable version (pdf)

Download teacher solution

Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops for AQA AS/A2 Business in 2015

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The dates and locations for our programme of intensive exam coaching & revision days for AQA BUSS1, BUSS2, BUSS3 and BUSS3 in Spring 2015 are now available. 

To confirm your places on these highly popular days, please use these booking forms or contact Janet Cahill in the tutor2u office (email

Booking form for BUSS1 & BUSS3 workshops

Booking form for BUSS2 & BUSS4 workshops (+ BUSS1/BUSS2 combined workshops)

To find out more about what goes on at these exam coaching & revision days, take a look at this introductory video!

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Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops for GCSE Business in 2015

We are pleased to confirm details of our programme of intensive one-day revision workshops for students preparing for GCSE Business Studies exams in Summer 2015.

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Market Segmentation for the 21 Century

Companies like to segment markets .It allowed them can tailor their marketing mix to meet different consumers’ needs.

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The Biz Quiz - 9 October 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Have you been keeping on top of the business news over the last 7 days? It's time to find out...

Launch The Biz Quiz - 9 October 2014

Download printable version

Download teacher solution (pdf)

Trunki - Reshoring, Copycats and Losses

Thursday, October 09, 2014

The company behind Trunki is reported to have experienced a significant decline in profitability, according to this article in the Telegraph.

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Dr Dre V Jay-Z – Focus V Diversification

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

As we all know, the mean streets of my adopted home town of Solihull share many similarities with Dr Dre’s Compton and Jay-Z’s Brooklyn, so I always take a keen interest in their progress.

This PowerPoint task asks students to research two of hip-hop’s biggest stars, use Ansoff’s Matrix to organise the many roles and businesses that they are involved in and then discuss how their contrasting strategies have impacted on their net worth.

Is Jay-Z’s “empire [building] state of mind” the best strategy, or is Dr Dre’s focus on music “still” the way to make the most money? Students can use the evidence that they have collated to complete the evaluation question on the final slide.

Hope it helps!

Advertising bans - fun activity called ‘Wordsnake’ to test students’ recent knowledge

If you've noticed the story about the Wongo TV advert that was banned recently for failing to clarify the level of interest charged on their loans, you may find this activity of interest.  Using a technique called 'Wordsnake' developed by our own Graham Prior, the activity lists 5 businesses with adverts banned by the Advertising Standards Authority in 2014 (other than Wonga).

At first glance it appears to be a wordsearch as you see a grid of what appears to be 100 random letters. However, the name of the business 'snakes' around the grid rather than being up, down or diagonal as in a normal wordsearch.

Students are given a clue about the the business hidden in the grid. Who can be the first to spot the answer and call out its location?

If the answer is not obvious at first, the teacher can press the space bar and the letters reveal themselves one at a time. 

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Manufacturing in Action - The Kit Kat Supply Chain

Monday, October 06, 2014

This production line in York makes 5 million Kit Kat bars every day. What is involved in the manufacturing process? Have a break and take a look!

The short video focuses on the local sourcing of milk from Scotland which supplies the ingredient preparation (crumb) plant at Girvan. Reference is made to the concept of "food miles", an important idea linked to resource sustainability.

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A tonic for new BUSS1 students

Friday, October 03, 2014

Here is a fantastic article from the BBC website for new AQA Business students and other students following courses that currently look at entrepreneurship and business start-ups.


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Manufacturing: Textiles in Lancashire - Last Mill Standing

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Some important historical perspective here on the long-term decline of manufacturing in the UK. 

This video (from 2011) focuses on the decline of the cotton mills in Lancashire and the attempt of one cotton factory owner to stay alive.

Three years on, and Lancashire Textiles is still alive!

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Manufacturing: Does the UK Steel Industry Have a Future?

The FT produce some superb videos that are ideal for use in the Business & Economics classroom - and this one on the UK steel industry is another excellent teaching resource - particularly for students researching UK manufacturing.

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The Biz Quiz - 2 October 2014

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The latest edition of The Biz Quiz is ready to roll!

Launch The Biz Quiz - 2 October 2014

Download printable version (pdf)

Download teacher answers (pdf)

BUSS4 UK manufacturing

As BUSS4 students start on their research into UK manufacturing, one piece of data that they should keep an eye on is the CIPS Purchasing Managers Index. This is produced monthly by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply by surveying managers responsible for purchasing materials in manufacturing industries, and so it gives an indication of the level of activity. A reading above 50 (shown by the red line on the graph above) shows growth in activity, below 50 shows a decline.

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Business start-ups - advice for fish fryers

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BBC Radio 4 has a 5-part series this week which follows eight budding entrepreneurs on a course in Leeds, specialising in how to run their very own Fish and Chip shop. I caught the first episode yesterday; with each episode only 15 minutes long, it seems like a very good set of programmes for students who are beginning a Business studies course, as it covers a wide range of the issues that they will be learning about.

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Business Objectives in the Shark Tank

Monday, September 29, 2014

My students are usually very keen to watch a Dragon's Den / Shark Tank pitch, particularly in an afternoon lesson (but if it means less of me droning on and them avoiding doing some work then any lesson seems like a good idea to them). So I am very keen to find suitable clips that give them some occasional entertainment as well as provide for excellent discussion of some relevant point of theory. The Soy-Yer Dough pitch does just that!

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AQA BUSS4 Section A CPD Briefings for June 2015

We are ready to roll with our AQA BUSS4 Section A Teacher Briefings on Manufacturing in the UK. Details of the dates and locations are provided below together with booking links.

Our resource-packed programme covers the following ground as we once again attempt to significantly reduce the teaching preparation burden for supporting the BUSS4 research theme:

Session 1 - Getting into Manufacturing: lesson activities to get students into manufacturing

  • Home or Away - Where Are These Products Made?
  • The Manufacturing Eliminator - The True False Challenge
  • Sector Sort - What are the UK's Leading Manufacturing Industries
  • Sector Match - Match these manufacturers to their correct sector

Session 2 - The Big Picture: a selection of the most important themes likely to be addressed by the two essay questions

  • Deindustrialisation in the UK
  • Globalisation of Manufacturing & the complexity of supply chain
  • Competitiveness and location
  • Innovation & R&D - can it make a difference?
  • Foreign investment in UK manufacturing: good or bad?

Session 3 - Location, Location, Location: a more detailed look at the issues around the location of manufacturing

  • Offshoring, nearshoring and reshoring - who, what, why?
  • Dicey exchange rates
  • Foreign ownership of UK production - examples and implications
  • Five case studies to follow

Session 4 - SWOT analysis of UK Manufacturing: focusing on core lines of analysis and evaluation for BUSS4 students

  • Competitiveness - what is it and why does it matter?
  • Comparative advantage - does the UK have it and in which industries?
  • Skills shortages - where are the engineers?
  • Technological change & High value added manufacturing
  • "March of the Makers"? - UK industrial policy

Session 5 - Developing higher-order skills and essay writing for BUSS4: ways to improve your students essay writing skills for Section A

  • Research collaboration: tools and techniques
  • DCD Questioning
  • Integrating BUSS4 research with BUSS2 & BUSS3 - topics and sources
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DCD Questioning - Developing Analysis, Evaluation and Higher Order Thinking

Saturday, September 27, 2014

DCD questioning is a very, very simple questioning technique that promotes higher order thinking; allows students to discuss different viewpoints and helps the teacher to facilitate a discussion (within a business studies lesson).

DCD questioning is simple. D stands for 'develop' and C stands for 'challenge'.

How it works is simple. After the teacher has posed a question and either asked a pupil to respond or waited for a pupil to volunteer an answer the teacher then selects another student to 'develop' that students response further. The teacher then selects another pupil to 'challenge' the argument that has been made. The teacher can then select another pupil to 'develop' this even further (DCD).

The beauty of this is that the teacher becomes the facilitator of the discussion by simply asking students to develop and challenge other students responses.

This strategy is perfect for business studies given the need for students to analyse and evaluate key concepts and topics.

For example, the teacher might pose the question, 'what is the best strategy for the 'big four' supermarkets to adopt in response to the rapid growth of Aldi and Lidl?' 

Here, a student may respond by saying that the best strategy to adopt is to cut prices further. The teacher would then ask another pupil to 'develop' this argument further. Once the argument has been developed the teacher would select another student to 'challenge' this response (perhaps by pointing out the flaws in this strategy or by outlining a different 'best' strategy).

The teacher can even ask another pupil to 'challenge' both of the previous arguments.

One point to note is that students need some 'wait time' after being selected to allow students to carefully consider their response.

Top 20 UK Grocery Brand Crossword Quiz

Thursday, September 25, 2014

If you enjoyed this morning's crossword quiz on Brands, here's one more on specific grocery brands.  The downloadable quiz, which can be set as a short activity or homework, lists the Top 20 grocery brands in the UK.  The clues show the aisles within a supermarket where those groceries would reside.  Follow up questions might include 'can you name a competitor for each brand?' or 'how many of these brands are British?'.

Click here to download the Top 20 UK Grocery Brands Crossword Quiz

Click here to download the Top 20 UK Grocery Brands Crossword Quiz answers

Business Brands Crossword Activity (starter or homework quiz)

Here's a 10 minute crossword quiz to set for your students. It lists 20 famous brands from around the world and each comes with a clue linked to that brand or its marketing.

We've included the answers as well should you feel the need to double-check!

Click here for the Business Brands Crossword Activity

Click here for the Business Brands Crossword Activity Answers

The Biz Quiz - 25 September 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It has been another busy week in the economics and business news. Have you been keeping in touch? It's time to find out...

Launch The Biz Quiz - 25 September 2014

Download printable version

Download teacher answers

How to increase your cash by 40% in one day – buy shares in Alibaba!

The Chinese internet giant, ran by former English teacher Jack Ma, has become the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in History.

Having studied them last year, I considered buying shares in them, hemmed-and-harred, and didn’t. What a mistake! Shares started at $68 and rose to $92.70, an increase of 38%. Had I invested my spare £5mil (left-overs from the Apple shares I bought in 1999), I would have been up by a cool £1,900,000!

I used this as a way to introduce Public Limited Companies, but also linked it to risk and reward, raising finance and working out percentage increase.

Here is the link to a previous research task on Alibaba (suitable for most BUSS4 topics) and the more current BBC news article.

Hope it helps

AQA BUSS4 Section B Essays Volume 1

During the run-up to the previous sitting of BUSS4 (18 June 2014) we received numerous requests to provide a resource that illustrates how BUSS4 Section B essay titles can be answered effectively. So here it is! A collection of 20 Section B Essays covering a wide range of potential topics for the next BUSS4 exam in June 2015.

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BUSS2 Worked Answers (2013-14)

The time pressures created by two long case studies often contribute to students under-performing in the AQA AS Business BUSS2 exam. Students also occasionally let themselves down through poor response structure, not answering the question set and making best use of effective application and analysis methods. This new resource from tutor2u's experienced BUSS2 team is designed to support students as they prepare for the final BUSS2 exam in May 2015 and help them maximise their performance.

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BUSS3 Worked Answers (2013-14)

The AQA A2 BUSS3 examination is a tough challenge every sitting and student performance is to a large extent determined by their exam technique. This new resource from tutor2u's BUSS3 team, which we aim to have ready for dispatch in early December, aims to support teachers and students preparing for BUSS3 by illustrating just what is required to maximise performance.

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BUSS1 Worked Answers (2013-14)

BUSS1 Worked Answers is a new printed resource from the tutor2u BUSS1 team which we expect to be available for dispatch from early December 2014.

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