You can support your teenager by finding out as much information about the available options as possible. You can encourage them in their choices, manage unrealistic expectations and help them consider alternatives.

All students in England have to study English, maths and science and will take an exam, usually a GCSE, in these three core subjects. Students will also study information and communication technology (ICT), physical education (PE), citizenship, religious studies, careers education, sex and relationship education and work-related learning, although it's up to the school whether the course ends with a qualification. Some schools may have additional compulsory subjects. 

Students can choose to study at least one other optional subject in modern foreign languages, design and technology or humanities and arts.

Not all schools offer the same options, so it is important to check what is available. Subjects and the levels at which they are offered vary from school to school.

The majority of students in Years 10 and 11 study towards General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualifications which normally take two years to complete.

If your teenager is likely to find GCSEs difficult, some schools offer Entry Level courses leading to a Certificate of Achievement.