Key Stage 3

On Parents in Touch we have worksheets, test papers, guidance on teaching methods and explanations of the terms you will find used in secondary schools. The links in the table to the right show you some of the range of information available for this age group.

These years of your child's time at school are called key stage 3. Your child is aged 11 to 14. At the end of each key stage, each National Curriculum subject has a target. This means that your child should have reached a particular level of skills, knowledge and understanding.

The targets and tests

  • Targets give pupils a sense of achievement on attaining each milestone in their learning, and going beyond it.
  • Schools use them to check on pupils' progress, the staff can use them to match their teaching to each pupil's needs and abilities.
  • The government uses them to see how many pupils in their schools are making the right kind of progress (especially in English, maths and science). Some schools still use the National Curriculum tests at the end of KS3 to assess progress.

Pupils will attain varying standards according to their personal strengths and weaknesses and also relating to the the standard of teaching in that subject

All parents want their children to fulfill their potential and most are prepared to encourage and help their children. Staff are always there to advise parents and to provide suggestions. The most important things you can do are:

  • praise them when they have done well so that they are encouraged to talk to you and to ask for advice
  • always be aware that young people need some independence and trust but try and take an interest in what your child is learning at school by encouraging them to tell you about it
  • Ensure that your child has the time and space to work and study

Many children take CATS tests on entry to secondary schools.

Optional tests, which can be taken in Years 7 and 8, can be found in the Worksheet Finder, by searching under the required subject and Revision and SATS type.

What will pupils learn at key stage 3?

For detailed coverage of the syllabus for each subject, please follow the links under 'Subjects' on the top menu.


  • Speaking and listening (Speaking, listening, group discussion and interaction, drama, standard English and language variation)
  • Reading (Understanding texts, English literary heritage, texts from different cultures and traditions, printed and ICT-based information texts, media and moving image texts, language structure and variation)
  • Writing (Composition, planning and drafting, punctuation, spelling, handwriting and presentation, standard English and language structure)


  • Number and algebra (Using and applying number and algebra, numbers and the number system, calculations, solving numerical problems, equations, formulae and identities, and sequences, functions and graphs)
  • Shape, space and measures (Using and applying shape, space and measures, geometrical reasoning, transformations and coordinates and measures and construction
  • Handling data (Using and applying handling data, specifying the problem and planning, Collecting data, processing and representing data, and interpreting and discussing results.


  • Scientific enquiry (Ideas and evidence in science and investigative skills)
  • Life processes and living things (Cells and cell functions, humans as organisms, green plants as organisms, variation, classification and inheritance and living things in their environment)
  • Materials and their properties (Classifying materials, changing materials, and patterns of behaviour)
  • Physical processes (Electricity and magnetism, forces and motion, light and sound, the Earth and beyond and energy resources and energy transfer)

Design and technology

  • Developing, planning and communicating ideas
  • Working with tools, equipment, materials and components to produce quality products
  • Evaluating processes and products
  • Knowledge and understanding of materials and components
  • Knowledge and understanding of systems and control
  • Knowledge and understanding of structures

Information technology

  • Finding things out
  • Developing ideas and making things happen
  • Exchanging and sharing information
  • Reviewing, modifying and evaluating work as it progresses


  • Chronological understanding
  • Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past
  • Historical interpretation
  • Historical enquiry
  • Organisation and communication


  • Geographical enquiry and skills
  • Knowledge and understanding of places
  • Knowledge and understanding of patterns and processes
  • Knowledge and understanding of environmental change and sustainable development

Modern Foreign Languages

  • Acquiring knowledge and understanding of the target language
  • Developing language skills
  • Developing language-learning skills
  • Developing cultural awareness

Art and design

  • Exploring and developing ideas
  • Investigating and making art, craft and design
  • Evaluating and developing work
  • Knowledge and understanding


  • Controlling sounds through singing and playing – performing skills
  • Creating and developing musical ideas – composing skills
  • Responding and reviewing – appraising skills
  • Listening, and applying knowledge and understanding

Physical education (through dance, games and gymnastic activities – swimming activities and water safety are non-statutory)

  • Acquiring and developing skills
  • Selecting and applying skills, tactics and compositional ideas
  • Evaluating and improving performance
  • Knowledge and understanding of fitness and health


  • Knowledge and understanding about becoming informed citizens
  • Selecting and applying skills, tactics and compositional ideas
  • Developing skills of enquiry and communication
  • Developing skills of participation and responsible action

Additional statutory area

Religious education

Content determined by LAs (most schools) or faith foundation. Advised to cover: Learning about religions and learning from religions

Non-statutory guidelines

Personal, social and health education (PSHE)

  • Developing confidence and responsibility and making the most of their abilities
  • Developing a healthy, safer lifestyle
  • Developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people


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