The Cheese Elf (kalquessa) wrote in little_details,
The Cheese Elf

"Forms" vs. "years" in UK secondary schools

Long-time lurker coming out of the woodwork.

I have a story set in a UK secondary school (a girls boarding school, during the post-war era, if it makes any difference) and I've encountered a small problem that is very likely due to the fact that I'm an American n00b who fool-hardily set her story in England. I've run up against some confusion over how the different "forms" and "years" correlate in the UK secondary school system. From what I can gather, children are typically eleven when in their first year at secondary school, and finish in their sixth year at the age of sixteen, unless they opt to remain in secondary school for an additional two years until they are eighteen.

So far so good. What's confusing me is the use of the term "form" which I had thought was more or less interchangeable with "year" until I read (on Wiki, I think) that the non-compulsory two years of additional schooling from age seventeen to eighteen were traditionally referred to as the Sixth Form. If my earlier understanding had been correct, "sixth form" would refer to the final year of compulsory secondary school at age sixteen instead of the two years following. Am I missing something?

In essence what I'm looking for is most of the final column of

Age Year Form#
17---7-----Lower Sixth (?)
18---8-----Upper Sixth (?) (Yes, I made a chart. I have a lot of German heritage, it makes me do things like make charts.)

Any insight into how the forms are spread out over the eight years would be appreciated. Thank you in advance!

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.