Chapter 4: For secondary school students

At secondary school level, academics become very important as students prepare for GCSEs and A-Levels. By the time they’re 11 years old and starting Year 7, kids usually have a good idea of what they enjoy doing.Going out with friends is also more common in secondary education, especially when teens stop relying on their parents to put together their social calendar.Even with all the work and friends, parents should continue to encourage their children to be active and continue with hobbies that they love, as well as experiment with new things.

A few ideas…

While secondary school students shouldn’t be forced into compulsory music lessons or sports they don’t enjoy, parents should play to their strengths.

Does your daughter enjoy netball at school? Why not sign her up to an out of school club? She can develop her skills and make new friends.

Perhaps your son is passionate about politics. Get him involved in debating, or encourage him to look into volunteering with your local MP.

By the time teenagers reach the age of 16, organised extracurricular activities may take a backseat as they divide more of them time between work and friends.

Remember that this is okay, and just make sure that they are switching off regularly, maybe through going for a run or listening to music.

UCAS & Applying to University

In Year 12, students will begin to think about their university applications. It always helps to have a few things on your personal statement to show that you’re an all rounder, so encourage your child to take part in the following:

• Duke of Edinburgh Award – consists of compulsory camping, orienteering, sports and volunteering, so students complete Bronze, Silver and Gold awards to show that they are proficient in all these things.
• Unpaid jobs – if a student is not interested in sports or arts, they can get a job to show that they can balance academics with responsibility. Many students can be mentors at school, or volunteer at community centres and nursing homes.