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Why is sixth form called sixth form? Watch

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    I'll put this in here, as it's not a serious question. So yeah, I was just wondering why is it called sixth form? or not fifth form? or fourth form????? the answer is probably obvious and if it is, it's because I'm not on my game today? so yeah.
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    The old secondary school system of numbering (which is still used by a lot of independent schools.) Year 7 is first form, year 8 is second form, etc.
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    When I started at secondary school I was a first form.
    The next year I was a second form student.
    Then a third form.
    Then a fourth.
    Can you see where this is going?
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    I went to a state school.
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    Why are both years called 6th form then, what happened to 7th form?
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    Back in the day ( well mine actually) secondary school went like this

    1st year

    2nd year
    3rd year
    4th year
    5th year
    then
    6th year


    My school didnt have a 6th form so I left when I was 16 at the end of the 5th year.
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    (Original post by PeanutButter2000)
    Why are both years called 6th form then, what happened to 7th form?
    Because it was a 2 year period of school that pretty much existed as an isolated entity.
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    (Original post by Paul M)
    I'll put this in here, as it's not a serious question. So yeah, I was just wondering why is it called sixth form? or not fifth form? or fourth form????? the answer is probably obvious and if it is, it's because I'm not on my game today? so yeah.
    At my school year 7 was upper 3, 8&9 were fourth form ( upper and lower), 10 & 11 fifth form and then you got to sixth form. - this was quite nice because each year had a name but you could also talk about a pair of years. The junior school had first form through to lower 3, so the numbers did start at the bottom.
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    This is the way it works in my school:
    Year 7 - Lower 4
    Year 8 - Upper 4
    Year 9 - Lower 5
    Year 10 - Middle 5
    Year 11 - Upper 5
    Year 12 - Lower 6
    Year 13 - Upper 6
    I guess that's why sixth form is called sixth form


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    If you read old school books (eg Chalet School, which I loved when I was little) they number their years from the very start of school with upper and lower, and some schools still do. So year 7 is upper third, 8/9 is fourth, 10/11 is fifth and obviously 12/13 is sixth. It's more common in schools where theres a prep school and then a secondary in my experience.
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    (Original post by PeanutButter2000)
    Why are both years called 6th form then, what happened to 7th form?
    When I was at school we had Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth. Strangely, this came after the Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth.
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    (Original post by olddad)
    When I was at school we had Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth. Strangely, this came after the Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth.
    we just have years 7-11 then upper and lower sixth, you'd think if they were changing the system they'd change the whole thing!
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    (Original post by milienhaus)
    If you read old school books (eg Chalet School, which I loved when I was little) they number their years from the very start of school with upper and lower, and some schools still do. So year 7 is upper third, 8/9 is fourth, 10/11 is fifth and obviously 12/13 is sixth. It's more common in schools where theres a prep school and then a secondary in my experience.
    Yep, plus all the Enid Blytons!(Malory Towers, St Clares, etc.)

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    (Original post by Paul M)
    I'll put this in here, as it's not a serious question. So yeah, I was just wondering why is it called sixth form? or not fifth form? or fourth form????? the answer is probably obvious and if it is, it's because I'm not on my game today? so yeah.

    Just to add to the comments, the reason they are "forms" is becausein early 19th century and earlier schools, all ages would be taught in the same room. The first form would literally be the bench at the front of the class. Each form would have a upper and a lower end. If someone performed very well he would be sent to the "top of the form" which means he would move and sit at the very end of the bench. If he progressed further, he would go up a form. That means he would then sit at the opposite end of the next bench back.
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    I just love the question. This is Valid. Why has there not been a makeover of terminology to reflect the current system?
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    (Original post by rockrunride)
    Not if OP went to a state school.
    Not necessarily. I go to a state school and that's how it is for me.
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    in my school, we just refer to everything as either before gcse (there wasnt really a name for this, either said this or the specific year), gcse (or the specific year), or sixth form...
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    (Original post by CRIKEY12)
    I just love the question. This is Valid. Why has there not been a makeover of terminology to reflect the current system?
    I think it is because VIth forms had existence independent of schools before the change in terminology in secondary schools.

    By the 1970s, 1st form (or 3rd form in the case of 13+ entry schools) to 5th form had become pretty ubiquitous (both in state and independent schools) for what are now called years 7 (or 9) to 11. As you can tell from the previous posts that does not coincide with the historic usage.

    That usage died and the present usage commenced following the Baker reforms of 1988 and the adoption of the national curriculum. Until 1988 not eating snails and not having a national curriculum were two of the marks of our superiority over the French.

    However by then there were plenty of dedicated VIth form colleges around. They needed to be distinguished from the FE colleges which also taught A levels. Officially these things are called tertiary colleges, but that name has not gained any widespread acceptance.
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    We have 'Y Chweched Dosbarth'
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    Think Harry potter. First years, second years... Year 12 is your 6th year. 6th form didn't use to be two whole years either, my dad was only at school until December of his second year, then he had 8 months off until uni started.
 
 
 
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