Ember (sour_idealist) wrote in little_details,

Help Needed With British Education System

Due to a variety of circumstances, I'm writing a multi-fandom crossover set at a modern-day British secondary school somewhere in Kent*. Only one of these fandoms (fandom A) is originally set at such a place, and it's serving as a sort of base for the others. I am from the United States, so I have a lot of questions I need to sort out. First, I need to check a couple of things:

- The characters from Fandom A are referred to as "fifth formers." I assume this means Year 11, around 15 years of age. Is this right?

Second, for plotline purposes, the following circumstances would be ideal, and I need to check their probability.

- I have a non-religiously-associated, fairly respectable coeducational independent school. Could it lack a uniform policy? I have clothing-related symbolism planned, so some things may require shifting if not.

- Would people be most likely to refer to themselves and others by form or by year?

- I need to have a previously-homeschooled character transfer in at some point around the age of thirteen or fourteen; I understand that this means around Year 10. Do schools ever start here, a la American high schools, or should she move? Either works.

- Could a sixth-form student have a period where they serve as an assistant to a teacher, in the way that American high schools sometimes have internships?

- I need to set this in an area there is snow and snow days, but where some (filthy rich) people could reasonably travel down to Kent several times a year to visit friends.

- Are gay/straight alliances present or common in public schools (that are not slightly infamous for being liberal)? How homophobic is the general culture in co-ed, non-religious schools?

Any other useful notes on the British education system (or the culture in general) would be greatly appreciated, as would any help with this.

Search terms: British education system, British independent schools, school uniforms independent schools Britain

Wikipedia articles: Education in England, Independent schools, articles on various years and key stages, also an article on Kent which required some major reshuffling.

ETAs: Well, thank you everyone for saving me from various misconceptions about scale; I love you all. (I'd assumed Fandom A was set in Kent since they took a day trip to Canterbury on a whim, but apparently they could be anywhere in the general south.)

Also, since apparently uniforms are going to destroy my clothing-related symbolism, would private, non-school-affiliated art classes for small groups be a reasonable thing to exist? I'd assume so; that would possibly solve several problems.
Tags: uk: education

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