Your guide to six new subjects at secondary school

This article was first published in August 2019

One of the best things about starting secondary school is being able to study lots of exciting new subjects. You’re likely to be in different classrooms for every subject and often they’ll have different names to the things you learnt at primary school.

But don’t worry – no one expects you to know everything. We’ve got you covered with our inside guide to some subjects that you might not have studied before.

Separate Sciences

At secondary school, Science gets split into three subjects for you to discover – Biology, Chemistry and Physics. You’ll get to do loads more experiments than at primary and use new things like Bunsen burners, voltmeters and petri dishes. Just make sure you’ve got your lab coat and goggles on!

Don't try this at home!

Modern Foreign Languages

You may have had a few language lessons before, but you’ll be able to really improve your skills with modern foreign languages (MFL) at secondary school. Not all schools choose the same languages and it could be different to what you studied at primary school, from French to Spanish or even Mandarin. Check out our MFL page to brush up on the lingo.

Which languages will you take on?


Looking back from the present day all the way to Medieval Britain, History at secondary school will show you how past events have shaped the world we live in now. You might learn about things like world wars and the industrial revolution. There may even be more school trips to historical sites or local museums than you had at primary school too!

Coming soon to a classroom near you... (History that is, not the vikings!)

Computer Science

Computer Science is like ICT in primary school, but in more detail. You’ll learn skills that can teach you how to programme new systems and understand how computers work, which you can use to make games and websites. How cool is that? You can be sure to find help for homework or tests with our KS3 Computer Science guides.

Computer coding can help make websites and games.


Fancy yourself an explorer? Geography is the study of new places, people and cultures, meaning you’ll be taking a trip all around the world from your classroom. Some secondary schools may look at the earth in more detail with Geology, a type of Geography studying how rocks and land change over time.

Geography is a great subject for finding out more about the world.

English Language & Literature

Like how Science gets split into Biology, Chemistry and Physics, at secondary school Literacy becomes English Language and English Literature. You’ll probably just study both subjects in one English class at the start of secondary school, but, just so you know, Language helps with speaking and creative writing whereas Literature is all about understanding books, poetry and plays. We’ve created some great new guides on KS3 English if you want a head start!

You'll read loads of new stories at secondary school.

So there you have it – secondary school is full of brand new and exciting opportunities to learn all about the world around you. Make sure to check out all of our KS3 resources for homework help and prep for in-class tests. Good luck!

Myths about secondary school
KS3 - All subjects
Starting Secondary School homepage