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Introduction to Year 7

For children in mainstream education, year 7 is the first year of secondary school. Most children will begin secondary school when they are 11 years old.

Your child will face big changes: a new building to find their way around, many new teachers to form relationships with, and even brand new subjects.

As a parent, your relationship with the school will be different, and you may feel less in touch. The school has an obligation to keep you up-to-date with your child’s education. Don’t hesitate to ask how the school intends to communicate with you.

This is a vital time to discuss keeping safe online even if your child is not turning 13 in this year. Social media such as Facebook and Instagram require everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. A useful website to help your child start thinking about staying safe online is Internet matters.

In year 7, all children are taught the same range of subjects. Generally, this involves Art, English, Dance, Drama, Humanities, ICT, Maths, Modern Languages, Music, Science, Sport and Technology. Some schools might offer you a choice of modern foreign languages and some will teach some subjects (such as food technology or textiles) in a rotation during the year.

Year 7 is the first year of Key Stage 3 (KS3), which is a period of transition between primary school (KS2), and the exam preparation years (KS4). Key Stage 3 lasts for three years: Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9, when pupils are aged between 11 and 14. Towards the end of Key Stage 3, pupils chose the subjects that they will be studying in their GCSE examinations. Some of these subjects are compulsory, whilst others are optional.

How you can support your child at school

  • Schools may have a Parent Forum that you can attend, and most of them produce newsletters. Ask in school reception for information.
  • Speak to your child’s tutor if your child experiences any issues at home or at school.
  • You can ask the school for contact details of your child’s tutor and teachers and contact them directly.
  • Keep an eye on your child’s progress and encourage them in all their subjects from year 7. If your child is working below target, you can ask the school for additional support and intervention. 
  • Talk about other skills your child is developing positively, like cooperation and teamwork. Taking responsibility and making decisions.  Learning from mistakes and trying again.
  • Start thinking with your child about the subjects he/she enjoys most and how they feel they are progressing and can progress in the future.
  • Find out when the qualification option choices will happen. Some schools offer option choices at the end of year 8, but many others do this in year 9.
  • Talk about the world of work with your child and help them to develop an understanding of the type of behaviours that employers will be looking for. 

Maths and English

Maths and English are essential skills for helping young people achieve in their lives. These subjects help young people with all the other subjects they are learning. Maths and English build confidence and self-esteem, preparing young people for the world of work in the future. 

It is now a government requirement to be working towards a Grade 4 or above in Maths and English Language. This is also the entry criteria for some apprenticeships that’s expected by many employers.  

Whatever subject or trade young people want to specialise in, those who have not achieved a grade 4 or above in Maths and English Language by 16 years old will continue studying these two subjects.

There are lots of ways to improve your Maths and English. Speak to your child’s teachers for some advice.

GCSE grades are changing

It’s a good idea to understand what you’ll be working towards in a couple of years. 

Here’s a quick video to explain:

How qualifications work

Find out more information about qualifications by visiting our qualifications explained page.