By Nancy Wall, Stephen Barnes, Jenny Wales and David Lines
Student Book Pounds 11.99
Pounds 89.95 + VAT
The Nuffield Foundation has an impressive recent history of funding innovative curriculum development in business and economics. The A-level course, introduced in 1994, integrates the subjects of economics and business studies in a way which employs active learning techniques and encourages students to apply their knowledge in real contexts. The Nuffield-BP materials are written in the same distinctive style and follow the same successful formula.
The GCSE course is divided into six units, each of which is divided into enquiries, which introduce students to a range of concepts and ideas. As they progress through the course, the concepts are encountered again in different contexts so that their understanding deepens.
The five separate enquiries in each unit are supported by a range of photocopiable material in the teacher's pack, including activities such as role play, structured research exercises, business games, data-interpretation exercises, case study materials and practical exercises using information technology.
The guidance is clear and teachers are encouraged to modify or supplement the materials to suit their own needs. Although some use is made of fictional companies, most of the materials are based on real business. For example, in unit 1, students interview owners of small businesses in their area, consider Redland's plans to develop a huge quarry on the Isle of Harris, analyse financial data from major supermarkets and consider market segregation in the motor industry.
The teacher's resource pack includes four discs which contain the activity masters, so worksheets can easily be printed or changed. There are also many structured activities which help students gain competence in the use of IT - most of the key stage 4 IT requirements are covered. Students are encouraged to develop their data handling techniques through exercises which use data on the SECOS for Excel database. Clear, step-by-step instructions are given on using the software. The package also includes a computer game, "Go Chancellor", which explains the relationship between economic decisions to control inflation and reduce unemployment and political philosophies.
The colourfully-illustrated text provides comprehensive support. Each enquiry is presented in the same way, with evidence sections based on real businesses, many of which will be well-known to the students, followed by key ideas and key terms. There are also checkpoints, short questions asking students to reflect on the activities and text, and forum sections, which raise questions for discussion.
The book is well-written and indexed, but clearly intended primarily to support the active learning which takes place in the classroom. Although expensive, the teacher's resource pack is excellent value. It contains an enormous variety of learning activities, many of which could be used without modification on any key stage 4 or higher course with an economics or business content. Even if centres do not adopt the Nuffield-BP GCSE, these materials will undoubtedly enhance the quality of business education in the classroom.
* The Nuffield A-level business and economics course, published by Longman, was reviewed in The TES on April 21, 1995.
John Trevett is head of business studies at Teesdale School, Barnard Castle, County Durham