Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

The New Diploma: Good News for Business Studies Teachers?

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

The New Diploma: Good News for Business Studies Teachers?

Article excerpt

The diplomas are qualifications for 14-19 year olds. They create different pathways for learners and help them achieve both the skills and knowledge in their chosen diploma line and basic skills in maths, English and ICT - the "functional skills" that could improve learners' employability.

The emphasis for a learner must be on work-related learning. Industry visits will be pivotal to understanding the content of the principal (or applied) learning. In addition, it is recommended that each learner has ten days work experience as a minimum. Schools and colleges will want to avoid the rather unsatisfactory arrangements that currently apply to much work experience. Many opportunities are squandered. Often work experience is simply used to fill the weeks before at end of the summer term.

A better approach, I suggest, would be to organise a work placement in which the diploma student is out on work experience one day a week. This would provide a more useful foundation on which to build classroom learning and allow the work-related nature of this qualification to be brought to life. A rewarding strategy here may be to encourage students to give presentations to their peers on an aspect of the specification that they have had direct experience during their placement.

As the diploma is industry based, here is inevitably a large proportion of business studies content in each line of learning. Consequently, there are opportunities for business studies teachers to have an input, particularly in the area of finance.

Some activities that can be used to teach cashflow, for example, may well be useful for diploma learners. For example, a role play exercise in which a building contractor has to manage the cash outflow for raw materials and labour while not receiving any cash inflow until houses are built and sold could be used for the Construction and the Built Environment line of learning.

Similarly, a practical production exercise (making anything from paper circuit boards to paper houses) could be used to establish the difference between fixed and variable costs and the benefits of productive efficiency, or to establish the differences between the different methods of production. …

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