Nuffield Economics & Business

Nuffield/BP Business and Economics for GCSEDirectors:
Nancy Wall, Jenny Wales and
Stephen Barnes
Nuffield Economics & Business aimed to make Economics and Business accessible, relevant and rooted in practice.

The development of an Advanced Economics and Business course was followed by GCSE and GNVQ qualifications (supported by BP).

The Nuffield Economics and Business project ended in 2008, but resources from both the A-level and GCSE courses are available for members to download from the Economics, Business and Enterprise Association (EBEA) website

Nuffield Advanced Economics & Business:
a short history

The Nuffield Economics & Business project was set up and funded in 1991 just before the Nuffield Curriculum Centre opened. It was a publisher who introduced Nancy Wall and Jenny Wales to the Nuffield Foundation.

Given the regulation of the pre-16 curriculum, the Nuffield Trustees had decided to make the education of 16 to 19 year-olds the main focus for new projects. Economics & Business were two subjects which had not so far been the focus for innovative development work.

The project had a three-pronged approach: new courses, new resources, and training sessions for interested teachers.

The advanced course was first published in 1994 with a second edition for Curriculum 2000. The publisher was Longman, and the awarding body was Edexcel.

Economics & Business is treated as a joint subject concerned with the study of how people make the best use of scarce resources. Economics analyses the principles by which resources in society are allocated. Business explores the decision taken by people and organisations during the actual allocation.

The aim of the project was to make Economics and Business accessible, relevant and rooted in practice, proceeding from the concrete to the abstract. Whenever possible, students would be thinking through the concepts in a real world context.

The teaching and learning methods are captured in the phrase, ‘investigation, progression and integration’. Progression meant building up the level of difficulty by degrees, and this helped to make the course accessible (and enjoyable for students). Integration of the two subjects meant that students could always draw on the insights of both subjects to illuminate the problem in hand. Investigation allowed students to take possession of their own learning process.

Exploiting ICT
The Nuffield Economics & Business team first collaborated with Steve Hurd and teachers in Staffordshire to develop a data disc as a basis for analysis and investigations. The project continued to explore the potential of ICT in this field by developing a variety of interactive resources.

Nuffield Business & Economics pre-16:
a short history

In 1994 it became clear that it would be possible to extend the work to provide courses for 14 to 16 year olds with the support of the oil company BP. BP and the publisher were both keen to see the programme providing worthwhile experiences for all young people in the age range. Hence the move to cover GVNQ as well as GCSE.

Development work
Development work for the Nuffield Economics & Business A-level project, and the subsequent GCSE & GNVQ projects for 14 to 16 year-olds, was based in the Nuffield Curriculum Centre.

The advanced course was published with Longman and the GCSE and GNVQ resources with Collins.

The advanced course was published by Collins in 1994 with a second edition for Curriculum 2000. The first edition of the GCSE course came out in 1996 with a second edition in 2001. The texts for GNVQ Foundation and Intermediate courses were published in 2000.

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Nuffield Economics & Business: A short history (PDF)