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The Commerce Department offers a range of subjects which relate to the world of business and enterprise. Our underlying philosophy is learning through practical application. All the content of our courses is based on real world situations and is relevant and current.
There are four distinct areas offered in Commerce. These are Accounting, Business Studies, Economics and Legal Studies.

We offer several extra-curricular activities which allow students to apply their business and economic knowledge. These include Young Enterprise, the BP Community Challenge and the Reserve Bank Challenge.

Business Studies

Year 9 Enterprise Studies

Business Studies starts at Year 9 with a half year course looking at entrepreneurs and enterprising businesses, and their impact on individuals and society as a whole. It aims to expose individuals to the qualities needed to be an enterprising and successful person in today’s world. Students will be introduced to how a small business can be established as well as some basic economic and accounting terms, and decision making skills.

The components of the course will be assessed by assignments and common tests.

Year 10 Business Studies

Entry Requirements:
Open Entry but recommended to those students wishing to do IGCSE Accounting, Economics or Business Studies.

Course Description:
This course covers areas which will give students a great introduction to Commerce courses that can be taken at the senior school including Accounting, Economics and Business Studies at the Cambridge IGCSE and NCEA levels.
The course aims to give students an introduction to the business world and provide practical information, which they can use when they leave school irrespective of what vocation they choose.

Three modules will be covered covering Accounting, Business Studies and Economics.

• Accounting
The course beings by developing the student’s awareness of the need for financial information. It will then move into the recording, processing and interpreting of accounting information.

• Economics
The course focuses on the interaction between consumers and producers in the marketplace. It also looks at the theory involved in decision making and budgeting.

• Business Studies
The primary emphasis is on how businesses are developed and operate. Students also cover some main issues such as marketing, business organisation, success and failure and human resources.

Each component of the course will be assessed by an assignment as well as common tests. There will be a two hour exam at the end of the year.

Leads to:
This course leads to accounting, economics, business studies and legal studies in the senior school.

International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)


The Business Studies course covers five areas;
• Business and the environment in which businesses operate
• Business structure, organisation and control
• Business activities that achieve objectives set for Marketing, Production and Finance
• People in Business - such as management and motivational styles, recruitment, dismissal and redundancy
• Regulating and controlling business activities

The course draws upon business practice at the local, national and global levels and is taught through a blend of theory and the application of case studies. Students are asked to learn concepts and apply their learnt knowledge to solve problems encountered by businesses often in an imaginative and creative manner.

The course also facilitates the development of other skills, such as numeracy and enquiry. Students are encouraged to understand the working world and the essential values of co-operation and interdependence.

Students wishing to undertake the course should have a high degree of competence in Mathematics and have strong problem solving skills. This is due to the significant amount of essay style questions and given case studies; concepts such as ratio and break-even analysis, financial ratios, cash flow forecasts, exchange rates, presentation and interpretation of data are integral parts of the examinations.

The course provides an excellent opportunity for those students who wish to familiarise themselves with business concepts and practices that they will encounter in latter life. It also provides an excellent foundation for those wishing to do AS Level and/or pursue Business/Commerce and Law degrees in the future.

Assessment is covered in 2 examination papers worth 80% of the course mark, and 20% course work completed during the year involving a case study undertaken

Exam Paper 1
A paper containing short-answer questions and structured/data response questions.
There will be no choice of questions.

Exam Paper 2
Candidates will be presented with a business situation or problem, and required to answer
questions arising from it.
There will be no choice of questions.

Candidates will be required to submit a single piece of work of 3000-4000 words, which has taken about 20% of the course time for the subject as a whole. The assignment should be related to a particular business situation or problem, and should take the form of a response to a clearly formulated question.


Accounting and finance are some of the most dynamic industries today. There are great opportunities both here and overseas.

New Zealand businesses are facing a shortage of accounting professionals with the right combination of technical, communication and people skills.

Why do Accounting?
Considering studying Commerce at university or going into business? Then you should think of ‘business’ Accounting, since all business people use it to communicate. It provides excellent career opportunities and a strong foundation for upward career mobility. Accounting provides a system of measuring the monetary value of transactions in business and for individuals, and provides the basis for most business decisions. In Accounting students enjoy the challenge of learning new skills and appreciate the relevance of topics covered.

A school background in accounting is useful for any person wishing to enter the world of commerce in areas such as business management, risk management, venture capital, banking, tourism, marketing, insurance, information technology, resource management, finance, consultancy, advisory and self employment.

Accounting is a must subject for anyone contemplating a successful career in today’s fast paced and highly competitive global labour market.

Accounting is the core subject for almost every commerce degree in Australasia and is seen as advantageous for all university graduates – regardless of specialisation.
If you wish to be successful – be it in law or commerce – eventually you will be responsible for management of money by ways of budgeting and strategic decision making. Accounting prepares you to handle these funds in a responsible and accurate manner.

Accountants enjoy one of the highest employments rates for any commerce student.

NCEA Level 1

This course gives an introduction to the practical application of accounts for New Zealand businesses. Students have the opportunity to gain NCEA credits through internal and external assessments. Students who gain excellent grades in three out of four external assessments can go straight to Level 3 accounting.

The course promotes knowledge and understanding of accounting as a financial language for individuals, community organisations and businesses, as well as applying financial knowledge and skills to practical situations.

Over the year students will learn to process financial data, prepare financial reports which meet user needs, analyise and interpret financial reports, make informed decisions, and develop business skills within the context of individuals, community organisations and businesses. (NZIAS are applied in this course)

International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)

This course is aimed at the very able Year 11 student. Students will develop an understanding of the principles, policies, procedures, terminology and techniques used in accounting. Students will develop skills in numeracy, literacy, presentation, interpretation, enquiry and communication.

The course is divided into seven topics, both Core and Extended curriculum.

• The Purpose and Functions of Accounting
• Accounting Policies and Principles
• Sources and Recording of Data
• Verification of Accounting Records
• Adjustments required for Final Accounts
• Preparation and Principles of Final Accounts
• Analysis and Interpretation

Students are assessed with three external exams. Theory and application questions will be tested using multi choice and structured questions.

NCEA Level 2

This course is an ideal follow on from NCEA Level 1 Accounting. Any students considering beginning Accounting in Year 12 must consult with the Director of Commerce before a final decision is made. Students who have gained 12 Level 1 Accounting credits, including 1.3 and 1.5, can take Level 2.

NCEA Level 2 Accounting provides students with the practical application of processes as well as the opportunity to research the systems of a real world business.

Over the year students learn to process accounting data into meaningful information; develop a knowledge and understanding of the systems and controls required to ensure financial data is accurate; process accounting data using a commercial accounting software package; prepare financial reports which meet user needs, analyse and interpret financial reports, and make informed decisions based on financial and non-financial information. (NZIAS are applied in this course)

NCEA Level 3

This course follows NCEA Achievement Stands, Level 3 and takes into account NZIAS that came into full effect in 2007. The course promotes knowledge and understanding of accounting as a financial language for partnerships and companies which may be service, trading or manufacturing businesses as well as apply financial knowledge and skills to practical situations.

Over the year students will expand the processing of accounting data as it relates to partnerships and companies; prepare financial reports using NZIAS which meet user needs and professional and legal requirements; analyse and interpret financial reports for New Zealand companies listed on the stock exchange; as well as develop skills used by management for costing.

It is advisable that students complete the Year 12, NCEA Level 2 Accounting course before commencing NCEA, Level 3 Accounting. This will include having gained 12 Level 2 Accounting credits. Any student who has completed Year 12 Accounting and who proposes to study any Commerce discipline at a tertiary level should undertake this course as sound preparation.


Why Do Economics?
Economics is a social science involving the study of people and their activities relating to production and consumption and exchange. The study covers the behaviour of individuals, their work decisions of what to produce, where to locate and how to market, and the activities of government. A thorough study is also made of major economic issues, i.e. unemployment, inflation, budget deficits, trade imbalances and economic growth.

So where does Economics lead?
An understanding of economic issues and effects is a basis for the study of both commerce and society. From the planning of marketing decisions through to developing the Third World, economics impacts upon us all. The economic activities and policies of countries and governments impacts on all in society through inflation, the setting of interest rates and the general nature of a country’s economic activity at home and abroad. Because of its Arts and Commerce orientation it can be studied as a main or supporting subject within either an Arts or Commerce qualification. Economics also forms a core component of many other qualifications, including Agriculture/Horticulture, through to Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.

Economics plays an important part in all decision making as nothing exists in a vacuum. Therefore, the real importance of Economics is at the very basis of planning and implementing major social or business decisions. Without an appreciation of the prevailing economic climate, both internally and externally, any business project can go seriously awry. An understanding of Economics can play a large part in the decision making process, whether it is to appoint additional staff in an expanding plumbing business, or to purchase a salmon farm in Chile.

NCEA Level 1

The course comprises 6 Achievement Standards: 1 internal and 5 external. The programme covers an introduction to Economics, the basic economic problem, consumer demand, producers, production and resources, producer supply, market interaction and the interdependence between the main sectors of the economy.

This course is a useful beginning for any student contemplating doing a commerce degree at a tertiary institution.

International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGSCE)

The IGCSE course is an excellent course to begin the study of Economics as it gives students a broad introduction all aspects of the subject.

The aims are to enable candidates to:
• Develop a sound knowledge and understanding of economic terminology and principles and elementary economic theory;
• Develop basic economic numeracy and literacy and the ability to handle simple data including graphs and diagrams;
• Use the tools of economic analysis in particular situations;
• Identify and discriminate between differing sources of information and to distinguish between facts and value judgements in economic issues;
• Employ economic skills, with reference to individuals, groups and organisations in order to understand better the world in which they live;
• Participate more fully in decision-making processes, as consumers and producers and as citizens of the local, national and international community;
• Develop an understanding of the economies of developed and developing nations and of the relationships between them; and to appreciate these relationships from the perspective of both developed and developing nations.

Topics covered will include:
1) Basic Economic problem
2) Nature and functions of organisations and institutions in an economy
3) How the market works
4) The individual as a consumer, producer and borrower
5) The private firm as a producer and employer
6) The role of government in the economy
7) The main economic indicators: recent changes and current trends in an economy and their consequences
8) Developed and developing economies
9) International aspects of interdependence

Students are assessed with three external exams. Theory and practical application will be tested using multi choice and structured questions.

NCEA Level 2

Level 2 NCEA Economics is a study of the New Zealand economy as a whole and the major economic issues arising from it. This involves looking at the topics of employment, trade, growth, inflation and equity. A key aim is to improve students’ economic literacy so that they can readily understand current issues and make valid contributions to economic debate.

To do this subject requires students to have passed their NCEA Level 1 certificate or to consult with the Director of Commerce before a decision is made. Level 2 can be taken without any previous study of economics at Level 1.

NCEA Level 3

Level 3 NCEA Economics looks in depth at the working of a market system. Both the micro and macroeconomic theory relating to the New Zealand economy are studied. There are three areas of study covering;
• Resource allocation via a market system
• Allocation of resources via the public sector
• Aggregate economic activity and policy

To do this subject requires students to have passed their NCEA Level 2 certificate or to consult with the Director of Commerce before a decision can be made. Level 3 can be taken without any previous study at Level 2.

Legal Studies

The Legal Studies course is designed to enable people to:
• Understand the role of law in society.
• Understand the basic principles and processes of the New Zealand legal system.
• Appreciate how the legal system impacts on the lives of individuals and groups, and how they can participate actively and influence change.
• Develop an active understanding of their rights and responsibilities.
• Explore and evaluate the effectiveness of the legal system to provide just outcomes for all individuals and groups within society.

The course is 100% Internally Assessed and requires assignments and tests for each comprehensive Unit Standard covered.

12 Legal Studies

The Legal Studies course is made up of Unit Standards that are all internally assessed and generate credits for NCEA level 2. A total of 20 credits can be attained. The unit standards have specific elements (learning outcomes) and performance criteria that must be met in order to gain credit for the unit standard.

Entry Requirements: Level 1 NCEA certificate or by negotiation with the Director of Commerce.

Topics covered include:

The role of law and its relationship with New Zealand society.
How laws are made and changed in New Zealand.
Factors contributing to, and consequences of, crime.
The New Zealand judicial system.
The application of New Zealand law to marriage, civil union, and de-facto relationships.
Legal consequences and protections relating to domestic violence and child abuse.
Elements and remedies for breach of a contract.
Methods of dispute resolution in the legal system.

13 Legal Studies

The Legal Studies course is made up of Unit Standards that are all internally assessed and generate credits for NCEA level 3. A total of 19 credits can be attained. The unit standards have specific elements (learning outcomes) and performance criteria that must be met in order to gain credit for the unit standard.
Students gain interest in the law and may continue this interest at tertiary level.

Entry Requirements: Level 2 NCEA certificate or by negotiation with the Director of Commerce.

Topics covered include:

Describe and evaluate the legal relationship between the state and the individual.
Describe and evaluate a law reform.
Compare legal systems and their ability to accommodate differences.
Demonstrate knowledge of the development of the New Zealand legal system.
Describe and evaluate criminal and court processes, and systems of justice.
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