Your child will make their first real learning choices at secondary school. Understanding these choices will help you to support them.
Careers and work-related experiences will be part of the subjects your child is taught throughout secondary education.
Choices and decisions
Although no decisions are taken in year 7 this is an exciting time. Your child will be learning new subjects, in different environments and will be taught by different teachers.
They will develop preferences for subjects, topics and ways of learning. This is a great time to explore what they like and why.
Years 8 and 9
In year 8 or 9 your child will choose subjects and qualifications to study in years 10 and 11. The timing of this and the choices available to your child will depend on the school.
All pupils must study core subjects (English, maths, Welsh and science), but they are also able to choose some subjects too. Choosing subjects that suit them and their abilities is the most important thing.
The school will give you and your child more information about the subject choices and when decisions need to be made.
Information might include:
- Details of how the course is assessed - including exams and coursework
- An outline of topics taught for each subject
- Types of qualifications - for example GCSEs and vocational courses
- The way those qualifications are graded
The information should help you to support your child to make an informed decision about what they would like to study.
Choices will be different for each school. Go to the school's options evening and ask teachers if you have questions or need more details.
Year 8 and 9 subject options has tips your child can use to help them make a decision.
The impact of subject choices
The subjects your child chooses at this stage might affect what they can do next.
For example, a history or foreign language GCSE might be required by the local college if your child wants to study that subject at A Level.
A portfolio of work might be required to study art and design in further education. This would be created while doing GCSE art, but could be more difficult if your child had not taken this as a subject option.
The courses available when they leave school will be different for each 6th form, college, and training provider. It’s important to check the options and entry requirements in your local area.
The importance of core subjects
Encouraging your child to do their best in these subjects, particularly Welsh/English and maths will help them in the future.
Many courses and employers ask for certain minimum grades in these subjects. So, grades in these subjects will have the biggest impact on what your child can do in the future.
Some courses will also ask for minimum grades in GCSE science too.
Ways we support your child
Your child will get information from a careers adviser before they choose their option subjects. It's likely they will be seen in a group.
These sessions could include:
- Information about different jobs
- An insight into certain industries
- Future skills that will be in demand
- Interactive careers-related workshops
- Tools and techniques to manage career decisions
If your child asks to see the careers adviser they will be offered a short guidance and coaching session. Find out more about how to help your child get the most out of a meeting with an adviser.
If your child has an additional learning need and has an Individual Development Plan the school may ask the adviser to attend the annual review. Find out how we can support you and your child with their next steps after leaving school.
Online tools and resources
Encourage your child to make use of our site. You could use the tools and quizzes together. Explore career ideas with your child tells you more about each of these.
We offer all secondary and special schools employer events to support the curriculum. Activities could involve a single employer or several employers. They make take place face-to-face or digitally.
Activities and the year groups that take part will differ from school to school.
If you're passionate about your job or industry why not find out about our Education Business Partnership? You could explore ways to share your experience and enthusiasm with pupils to inspire their career ideas.
Time to talk
Family conversations build a shared understanding of your child’s career ideas. This is an important part of exploring options, reflecting and making choices. Regular conversations can have a positive impact on learning and career decisions.
You might also like
Get help choosing subjects for years 10 and 11. Access hints and tips and information to help you make career choices.
Find out how we can support you and your child with their next steps after leaving school.
Get help with choosing subjects and courses. Find out the entry requirements, jobs of the future, career ideas, and your learning style.
Find out what a Careers Adviser does, the different ways we support your child and the details we hold about them.