Choosing school subjects

Choosing school subjects

Top ten tips for helping your child choose their secondary school subjects

Choosing subjects at school is an important part of your child’s life, as they take the first steps on the path of their potential future career. A survey by Future Morph and Family Lives discovered that after their children’s teachers, parents considered themselves the biggest influence on their children’s subject choices.

A large majority (81%) of parents also said they would encourage their children to study science and maths after 16. Future Morph - an interactive careers website for children, parents and teachers - has come up with 10 top tips for parents to help their children make these important decisions at key stages of their school lives.

Top ten tips for helping your children choose their secondary school subjects 


1. Use the internet to research the career paths of people in the public eye that they admire.You might be surprised at the route that took them to their final career.

2. Visit www.futuremorph.org and see where your child’s subject choices could take them in the future. Get your child to have a go at the 'What Might You Be?' game and discuss the results.       

3. Encourage your child to talk to you about your subject choices and career path. They could also talk with the rest of the family, friends and neighbours.

4. Encourage your child to talk to their teachers - particularly those who teach the subjects they are interested in. They can then get a feel for what the course content will be for particular subjects. ; Their teachers can also advise on resources and other opportunities for finding out about careers.

5. Find and question people who work in the area which interests them - aunts, uncles, friends, colleagues, or neighbours - to draw on their experiences

6. Take your child to work one day or see if they could go with another family member or friend, so they can get an insight into working life. Make some enquiries about work experience in different environments and note down local businesses that may be of interest to see if they take work experience students.

7. Young people with a specific interest may enjoy going to talks and events held by local societies or museums and galleries.

8. Ensure your child is making the most of the careers room at school, alongside other school resources, the internet, and local library.

9. Although you want your children to look to the future and choose subjects that will help them towards a career they are interested in, they should also consider what they really enjoy and are passionate about. They are far more likely to succeed in these subjects than in those they feel they 'must' study.

10. It is never too early to start thinking of Higher Education. Start with your child’s particular interests and investigate the courses available in those subjects. The UCAS website is a good place to start for the information about the process of applying to university and there is a helpful section for parents. You could also investigate apprenticeships and technician roles.

How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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