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Blog post

A pressing need to align the business studies curriculum with current attitudes

Tuba Umm Ul Khair Rizwan, Student at Arden University

This blog post addresses the issue that, if the school curriculum is believed to be a robust framework for the learner to make sense of their world, then the General Certification of School Education (GCSE) Business Studies curriculum, as studied by secondary school students in England between the ages of 14 and 16, has been failing (Egan, 2014). A society may only progress when schools enhance the learners’ skills, knowledge and understanding to continue social activities like controlling the rein of various professions for the future. Education systems are not static, so it is imperative that national departments of education include the constituents in the framework of learning that are relevant and recent. Political, economic, social and technological advances are the true reflection of our modern society and, as a result, curriculum designers need to adapt to these revolutionary alterations when carving a curriculum (Kress, 2010).

The current Business Studies specifications for secondary school learners in England lack focus on contemporary issues, trends and concepts. However, the curriculum prepared by the Department for Education for claims to be intensive and extensive (DFE, 2014). In the past two decades, academics have claimed that Business Studies at a secondary level has received minimal consideration from policymakers and educationalists (Jordan & Yeomans, 1998), and Business Studies was viewed as a new addition to the secondary school curriculum. The concern this blog entry seeks to raise is that the content of the Business Studies curriculum needs reviewing in light of the significant evolution of the business world (Kettler et al., 2021). The rapid launch of technology and artificial intelligence has shifted traditional business norms to adapt to the prevalent model of globalisation. However, Business Studies at the GCSE level contains a massive deficit of the compulsorily comprehensive concept of globalisation. Well-recognised UK-based secondary school certificate-awarding bodies mention the under-discussion phenomena only briefly without delving into the concept at a broader level, even though their specifications were reviewed in the past five years.

‘Business Studies at the GCSE level contains a massive deficit of the compulsorily comprehensive concept of globalisation.’

It is believed that curriculum designers or those who develop learning specifications are best placed to provide legitimate real-world content (Case, 2011). Other than recognising new phenomena such as globalisation, it is recommended that the inclusion of decades’ old theories is also reviewed. For example, the concept of a marketing mix woven into the 4 Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) (McCarthy, 1964) has been a part of the Business Studies curriculum since 1964. Should learners of the 21st century continue to study such theories? The marketing mix paradigm has been subject to several developments over recent decades: in 1980, there was an addition of 3 more Ps (Participants, Physical Evidence, Process) (Booms & Bitner, 1980); the non-stop arrival of Ps converted 4Ps into 10Ps when Kotler offered three more Ps (Politics, Power and Public Opinion) (Kotler, 1986); this was further extended to 15 Ps (Baumgartner, 1991). It is essential to acknowledge that adding new trends in the Business Studies curriculum is vital to sustaining the health of the national economy. As a result, it is an unjustifiable claim that Business Studies is one of those subjects most relevant to the current external context (Jephcote & Abbott, 2013).

Since the Department for Education is responsible for regulating the curriculum content that is ‘balanced and broad’(DfE, 2014, p. 4), urgent action is required. An example of the lack of regard for the burgeoning influence of globalisation, which has captured every continent around the globe and made e-commerce prevalent, is that the GCSE curriculum for Business Studies still validates the concept of business location in more detail than e-commerce. Lastly, after the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, the whole landscape of business has shifted from its original form with product diversification, the demand for masks, business downsizing and closures becoming commonplace. These concepts are waiting to be found in the secondary school Business Studies curriculum in England.

In conclusion, this blog post is a call for secondary school Business Studies curricula internationally to be reviewed and restructured to ensure that the latest knowledge resonating with the globally characterised business world is marshalled for learners in the 21st century.


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Booms B. H., & Bitner B. J. (1980). Marketing strategies and organisation structures for service firms. In J. Donnelly & W. R. George (Eds.), Marketing of services (pp. 47–51). American Marketing Association.

Case, J. (2011). Knowledge matters: Interrogating the curriculum debate in engineering using the sociology of knowledge. Journal of Education, 51(2), 1–20.

Egan, K. (2014). Wonder, awe, and teaching techniques. In K. Egan, A. Cant, & G. Judson (Eds.), Wonder-full education: The centrality of wonder in teaching and learning across the curriculum (pp. 149–161). Routledge.

Jephcote, M., & Abbott, I. (2013). Teaching business education 14–19. Routledge.

Jordan, S., & Yeomans, D. (1998). The new business studies and the transformation of the business curriculum: Some observations on ideology, enterprise culture and the production of vocational identities. Curriculum Studies, 6(3), 375–401. 

Kettler, T., Lamb, K. N., & Mullet, D. R. (2021). Developing creativity in the classroom: Learning and innovation for 21st-century schools. Routledge.

Kotler, P. (1986). Principles of marketing (3rd ed.). Prentice Hall.

Kress, G. (2000). A curriculum for the future. Cambridge Journal of Education, 30(1), 133–145.

McCarthy, E. J. (1964). Basic marketing. Richard D. Irwin.