A seventh series of 20 episodes was announced on 7 April 2010 after Shed Media announced their final results. However, only 10 episodes were filmed due to the difficulty of shooting during the winter months. These episodes were broadcast from 4 May 2011, four weeks after series 6 ended, airing in addition to the standard twenty episodes that began on September 14.
Robson Green and Mark Benton join the cast as site manager Rob Scotcher and Maths teacher Daniel Chalk respecitvely. Oliver Lee appears as Rob's son Aiden, and Debra Stephenson as his estranged wife Naomi for four episodes. Poppy Jhakra also appears in the first ten episodes as English teacher Eleanor Chaudry. Other new regular pupils include twin actresses Millie and Hope Katana as Rhona and Shona Mansfield, and Katie McGlynn as Scout from episode 7.
episodes' storylines include teen pregnancy and child abuse, a pupil revealed as a murderer under police protection and the police being called because of drugs in the school. These events lead to Director of Education Richard Whitman (Nicholas Gleaves), aided by inside information from Eleanor, seeking the school's closure and in particular Karen's dismissal. Other plots include the death of Sambuca Kelly from cancer, Vicki and Jess both becoming pregnant by Aiden, and the relationship between Karen and Rob. Eventually the staff and pupils' loyalty saves the school from closure, but Karen's future remains in doubt. Chris also decides to leave the teaching profession after his determination to help Scout causes further trouble for Karen, and Rob resigns as site manager after becoming a qualified teacher.
Started on Wednesday 14th September at an earlier time of 7:30. The series welcomes Alec Newman who plays new headmaster Michael Byrne with Alex Walkinshaw and Jaye Jacobs as newly-married teachers Jez and Sian Diamond, the latter of whom is appointed deputy headteacher with Tom. Paul Nicholls was initially cast as Jez, but was released from his contract after three days of filming due to personal problems affecting shooting. Chris Geere also rejoins the cast, his character Matt Wilding returning to Waterloo Road on Michael's request to reinvigorate the music and drama departments, and Sarah Hadland plays new Head of English Linda Radleigh from episode 13. New pupils include Phoenix and Harley Taylor (Kaya Moore and Kane Tomlinson-Weaver), Tariq and Trudi Siddiqui (Naveed Choudhry and Aryana Ramkhalawon), and Jez's children Madeline and Zack Diamond (Georgia Henshaw and Lee Abbate) from episode 12. Shifaa Arfan plays Tariq and Trudi's younger sister Naseem from episode 21. Rob Haythorne also appears as Wayne Johnson, a pupil from Michael's last school who is acquitted of attempted murder after attacking him, and John Thomson plays Nelson Smith, the father of the Taylors.
Storylines in the second block of episodes revolve around Michael's personal problems, and his struggle to gain support from the school's staff and pupils. Having recovered from the stabbing he suffered at his previous school he attempts to reunite with former partner Sian, despite the presence of her new husband in the school. His problems heighten after a confrontation with his attacker Wayne, culminating in the latter being run over and left in a coma. Michael then finds himself anonymously harassed by both Phoenix, who witnessed the incident, and Linda, who initiates a hate campaign on Michael after he ends their brief relationship. Sian decides to leave Jez and starts an affair with Michael, but changes her mind after the affair becomes public. At the end of term, Michael makes his peace with Wayne and apologises to both staff and students to finally earn their respect; however, Linda runs him over with her car after her deception is uncovered. Elsewhere, Tom struggles with the pressure of his promotion to deputy head, Emily's deteriorating behaviour causes trouble for Scout, and Vicki and Ronan's relationship runs into difficulties in their final term at the school.
Series 7b finished on Wednesday 16th November in the UK with a cliffhanger of Michael Byrne lying in a pool of blood after being ran over by Linda Radleigh following their argument in the Michaels Office. Series 7c will continue at 8pm on the 22nd February and Sian has her work cut out when the school is infiltrated by a local gang the DSC.
Tariq ends up in trouble again when he is infiltrated by the DSC after the gang forms a powerful hold over him when they set him up with a knife wanted in connection with a robbery. He manages to put on a brave front, but it later transpires that he feels quite vulnerable in respect of his situation and does not have a desire to engage in behaviour which could lead him into trouble with the police. When Finn and Trudi are elected as the new Head Boy and Head Girl, they eventually take their relationship one step further when Trudi instigates the idea that, out of her love for Finn, she would like the relationship to become more physical. Things, however, become complicated when Trudi discovers that she's pregnant. She confides in Tariq and Naseem but, under Tariq's influence, keeps it secret from Finn and dumps him; this results in Finn getting involved with a rival gang of the DSC, the Murray gang. Trudi decides to have an abortion, but changes her mind. Sadly however, she later suffers a miscarriage and finally tells Finn the truth. Devastated and out of his love for Trudi, Finn officially joins the Murray gang to get revenge on Tariq. However, he later bows out of the gang when they force him to set Naseem's hideout on fire and eventually gets back together with Trudi. Kyle is expelled from school after he is caught selling illegal vodka shots and swears revenge on Finn. He orders a crossbow and threatens Tariq into killing Finn at the school prom, but Tariq tries to get out of it by hiding the crossbow in the school and finally accepts Finn and Trudi's relationship. However, Kyle sneaks into the school during the prom, finds the crossbow and unsuccessfully attempts to carry out his plan, but Finn is saved by Josh, Ronan and Tariq and Kyle is arrested. Tariq promises Michael to tell the police everything he knows about the DSC, thus ending the feud between Tariq, Finn and Kyle.
The first episode of this block focuses mainly on the investigation pertaining who ran Michael over. Initially, the prime suspect is Jez out of suspicions of his alleged jealousy of Michael's relationship with Sian. Luckily, an astute Chalky manages to correctly attribute the crime to Linda, who is arrested and dismissed. Chalky thus emerges as a more heroic and stern figure, compared to his performance in the previous blocks of episodes.
Sub-plots include one where two contenders run for the role of the Head of English. Tom eventually takes a shine to former soldier, Nicki Boston, who is instrumental in getting Josh to open up to her about his use of cannabis. Josh's problems are exacerbated even though he claims that he has ceased using drugs, but his behaviour becomes more and more erratic. When alerted, Tom makes the difficult decision to take his son to see a GP, who submits him to a psychiatrist. It is afterwards that Josh is diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Jez and Sian's marriage is back on track, following Sian's affair with Michael, but the marriage ultimately breaks down for good. When Jez suggests that they start a family together, Sian deceives him again by pretending to be in favour of the idea when in fact, she isn't and is secretly taking the pill behind Jez's back. Eventually, Sian comes clean about everything and Jez finally realises that she is not willing to fight for their marriage as much as he is and leaves her.
Matt reaches fatherhood sooner than planned after Rosie, following a clumsy accident made by Naseem, goes into premature labour and gives birth to a baby girl, Martha. Grantly starts a business selling comestics with canteen assistant, Maggie Croft, in order to save money to keep his wife in a care home. However, the company later goes bust and Grantly's world is turned upside-down when Fleur becomes terribly ill. Sadly, she doesn't recognise him when he visits her, so he brings her to where they spent their honeymoon in an attempt to bring back her memory. In the end, his attempt is successful as Fleur's memory returns moments before she dies. The aftermath of Fleur's death brings Grantly and Maggie closer and eventually, the two admit their true feeling for one another and begin a relationship. Maggie is able to see past Grantly's cynical and abrupt ways.
Romance blossoms for Janeece when she falls in love with Craig O'Leary and the relationship moves forward very quickly when Craig moves in with her almost immediately. He then proposes to her during the school fun run and she accepts him. But on the day of the wedding, Janeece's whirlwind romance turns into heartbreak when Craig stands her up at the registry office. Chalky discovers that the reason for Craig's absence is because he has drained Janeece's bank account and stolen all of her possessions. It is revealed that Craig is in fact a con man known to the police and has performed the same con on other women in the past. Janeece is too embarrassed and humiliated to let everyone know what happened, so she decides to attend her reception at the school and tells everyone that it was her decision to dump the groom at the altar.
At the end of the series, despite his best efforts, Michael receives devastating news when the Education Authority announces that Waterloo Road has not improved its standards and will therefore be closed. Luckily, a former pupil and friend of Michael's, Lorraine Donnogan proposes a solution. She offers him the opportunity to be head teacher at a new independent school she is opening in Scotland. At first, Michael declines, but changes his mind after the Education Authority's decision. The series ends with Michael moving to his new post, though he does not go alone. Joining him are: Sian, Tom, Grantly, Maggie, Chalky, Scout, Phoenix, Denzil, Harley and Tariq and Josh. His reasons for wanting to start the new school are somewhat altruistic. He realises that for certain pupils, the decision to close Waterloo Road might destroy all of the good work that various pupils have achieved. By giving the students the opportunity to attend a different school, they will be able to continue to flourish. At the end of series 7, we see the staff and students arrive in Scotland and gather round for a photo by the border sign, seconds later, an out of control truck crashes into a roadside cafe on the road and is heading towards the gang, we are left on a clifhanger as to the fate of the crew.
Series 8 will commence on the 23rd August 2012 with a new time and day, the show will now be aired Thursday nights at 8pm.