Please note: The change in government means that some of the initiatives discussed on this page may no longer reflect government policy and may be subject to change as the new Government forms its policies.
Secondary schools consist of Key Stage 3 and 4. They may also have a sixth form. Year 9 can either be part of Key Stage 3 or Key Stage 4. In both Key Stages core subjects are statutory: maths, English, science and ICT. PE, RE, citizenship, sex education, careers education and work-related learning all have to be taught to some extent in both Key Stages.
Key Stage 3 (11-14)
In addition to core subjects students must be taught:
- Design and technology, history, geography, modern foreign languages, art and design and music
- Depending on the school, children may also have lessons in Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE).
Key Stage 4
- Pupils may begin Key Stage 4 in Year 9 or 10. Key Stage 4 can therefore be 13-16 or 14-16.
- Pupils study a mix of compulsory and optional subjects. They may choose to continue subjects studied at Key Stage 3 (see above) or begin new subjects such as psychology, drama or photography.
- At the end of Key Stage 4 most pupils sit national examinations, usually GCSEs. A new English Baccalaureate for the end of Key Stage 4 is being planned.
- Pupils will also be able to choose from a growing range of vocational qualifications.
Find out more about how museums support primary history, art, science, literacy, citizenship using the menu on the left.
Students may currently choose to leave school at 16. Plans are in progress however to raise the leaving age to 17 in 2013 and 18 from 2015. Students continuing studies have a choice of options post 16:
- AS (Advanced Subsidiary) and A (Advanced) level qualifications focus on traditional study skills.
- They normally take two years to complete full-time, although they’re also available to study part-time.
- Students can choose from a wide range of academic subjects, as well as some ‘applied’ (work-related) subjects.
- Vocational qualifications such as BTECs, City & Guilds qualifications and OCR Nationals.
- The 14-19 Diploma qualification. This offers practical, hands-on experience as well as academic learning.
- Are designed to help young people develop the knowledge and skills employers and universities want.
- Diplomas in fourteen subject areas are currently available in selected schools and colleges
A delegates pack from the training event held at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham in January 2011. Working with young people (PDF, 1.25 Mb).
- Find out more about the secondary curriculum on the Department for Education website.
- Exam specifications (syllabi) from exam boards at GCSE;
- Find out more about options Post 16 from the Directgov website (all Archived pages) including;