Sixth form

Last updated

In the education systems of England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and some other Commonwealth countries, sixth form represents the 2 years of post-GCSE academic education, where students (aged between 16 and 17 years of age by 31 August) prepare for their A-level (or equivalent) examinations. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the term Key Stage 5 has the same meaning. It only refers to post-16 academic education and not to vocational education.

Contents

England and Wales

The term sixth form describes the school years numbered 12 and 13, which are called the Lower Sixth (L6) and Upper Sixth (U6) by many schools, Students aged 16 or 17 by August 31.

The term survives from an earlier system when the first five years of English secondary schooling were known as forms (which would originally have been long backless benches on which rows of pupils sat in the classroom). Pupils started their first year of secondary school in the first form or first year, and this was the academic year in which pupils would normally be 11 years old by August 31. Pupils would move up a form each year before entering the fifth form in the academic year in which they would be 15 year olds by August 31. Those who stayed on at school to study for A-levels moved up into the sixth form, which was divided into the Lower Sixth and the Upper Sixth. In some private schools, the term Middle Sixth was used in place of Upper Sixth, with the latter being used for those who stayed on for an extra term to take the entrance examinations that were previously set for candidates to Oxford or Cambridge universities. Other schools described these Oxbridge examination students as being in the Seventh Form or Third Year Sixth.

The system was changed for the 1990–1991 academic year and school years are now numbered consecutively from primary school onwards. Year 1 is the first year of primary school after Reception. The first year of secondary school (the old first form) is now known as Year 7 . The Lower Sixth is now Year 12 and the Upper Sixth is Year 13. However, the term "Sixth Form" has still been retained as a vestige of the old system and is used as a collective term for Years 12 and 13. Public (fee-charging) schools, along with some state schools, tend to use the old system of numbering.

In some parts of the country, specialist sixth form colleges were introduced. A large proportion of English secondary schools no longer have an integral sixth form. This is mainly related to reforms in the later 20th century, where different political areas became a factor in the introduction of colleges instead of the original sixth forms. There are now numerous sixth form colleges throughout England and Wales, and in areas without these, sixth form schools and specialist further education (FE) colleges called tertiary colleges may fill the same role.

Sixth form is not compulsory in England and Wales (although from 2013 onwards, people of sixth form age must remain in some form of education or training in England only; the school leaving age remains 16 in Wales); however, university entrance normally requires at least three A2-level qualifications and perhaps one AS-level. Students usually select between three and five subjects from the GCSEs they have just taken, for one "AS" year, the AS exams being taken at the end of Lower Sixth. Three subjects are then carried into the A2 year (the dropped AS being "cashed in" as a qualification) and further exams are taken at the end of that year. The marks attained in both sets of exams are converted into UCAS points, which must meet the offer made by the student's chosen university.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the equivalent of Reception is "P1", and the equivalent of the English Year 1 "P2", while the first year of secondary school is known as Year 8 or first year (rather than Year 7 as in England), and following that Lower and Upper Sixth are Year 13 and Year 14 respectively.

Scotland

In the Scottish education system, the final year of school is known as Sixth Year or S6. During this year, students typically study Advanced Higher and/or Higher courses in a wide range of subjects, taking SQA exams at the end of both S5 and S6. Pupils in Scotland may leave once they have reached the age of 16; those who reach 16 before 30 September may leave after national examinations in May, whilst those who are 16 by the end of February may leave the previous Christmas.

It is not essential for candidates to do a sixth year if they wish to attend a Scottish university, as they have obtained adequate Higher grades in S5 and may apply and receive acceptance, though this is conditional on being successful in the examinations. However, the vast majority of Scottish students return for S6 if they plan to attend university. Some English universities will also accept Scottish students who have obtained adequate Higher grades in S5. It was announced in December 2008 that, as from 2010, UCAS will increase the number of points awarded to those who achieve Highers and Advanced Highers. [1]

In some cases, particularly in independent schools, the term sixth form is also used for the last two years of secondary education.

Preceded by
Fifth year
Sixth year
16.5–18
Succeeded by
Higher education

Other countries

In some secondary schools in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, the sixth and seventh years, are called Lower and Upper Sixth respectively.

In India and Nepal, it is the "+2" part of the "10+2" educational system.

Similarly, the term sixth form is also used to define the final two years of education before entering university in Malta.

In Malaysia, a sixth form is known as "Tingkatan 6," and lasts for three semesters.

In Singapore, however, the equivalent of a sixth form college would be called a junior college, where pupils take their Cambridge GCE A-levels after two years. Prior to the 1990s, these two years were known as "Pre-University" (Pre-U) 1 and 2.

In New Zealand, under the old system of forms, standards and juniors, sixth form was the equivalent of Year 12 in today's system. Year 13 was known as seventh form. Australia also sometimes uses the term for year 12, though the Australian year 12 is equivalent to the NZ Year 13 / seventh form and the UK's upper sixth / Year 13.

In Brunei, sixth form comprises Year 12 and 13, which may also be referred to as Lower and Upper Sixth. At the end of the schooling, students sit for Brunei-Cambridge GCE A Level. [2] Students may also opt to take Advanced Subsidiary Level or AS Level halfway at the end of Lower Sixth or halfway through Upper Sixth. Sixth form is not compulsory, but a preferable choice for students wishing to continue in academic studies leading to university level.

In some college preparatory schools in the United States, such as The Hill School, Woodberry Forest School, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Kent School, Pomfret School, The Church Farm School, The Haverford School, Portsmouth Abbey School and more, sixth form refers to the final year of education prior to college. It is the equivalent of twelfth grade in the US education system.

See also

Related Research Articles

Tertiary education Advanced level of education, usually for adults

Tertiary education, also referred to as third-level, third-stage or post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of secondary education. The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including universities as well as trade schools and colleges. Higher education is taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, while vocational education beyond secondary education is known as further education in the United Kingdom, or included under the category of continuing education in the United States.

General Certificate of Secondary Education British public examinations, generally taken aged 16

The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. State schools in Scotland use the Scottish Qualifications Certificate instead. Private schools in Scotland may choose to use an alternative qualification.

Student Learner, or someone who attends an educational institution

A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution and who is under learning with goals of acquiring knowledge, developing professions and achieving employment at desired field. In the broader sense, a student is anyone who applies themselves to the intensive intellectual engagement with some matter necessary to master it as part of some practical affair in which such mastery is basic or decisive.

Gymnasium (school) Type of school providing advanced secondary education in Europe

A gymnasium is a type of school with a strong emphasis on academic learning, and providing advanced secondary education in some parts of Europe comparable to British grammar schools, sixth form colleges and US preparatory high schools. In its current meaning, it usually refers to secondary schools focused on preparing students to enter a university for advanced academic study. Before the 20th century, the system of gymnasiums was a widespread feature of educational systems throughout many European countries.

The General Certificate of Education (GCE) is a subject-specific family of academic qualifications that awarding bodies in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Crown dependencies and a few Commonwealth countries, notably Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Malaysia and Singapore, confer on students..

A middle school is an educational stage which exists in some countries, providing education between primary school and secondary school. The concept, regulation and classification of middle schools, as well as the ages covered, vary between, and sometimes within, countries.

Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter with each of the countries of the United Kingdom having separate systems under separate governments: the UK Government is responsible for England; whilst the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive are responsible for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, respectively.

Matriculation Entering a university

Matriculation is the formal process of entering a university, or of becoming eligible to enter by fulfilling certain academic requirements such as a matriculation examination.

State schools or public schools are generally primary or secondary schools that educate all children without charge. They are funded in whole or in part by taxation. State funded schools exist in virtually every country of the world, there are significant variations in their structure and educational programmes. State education generally encompasses primary and secondary education.

In the Scottish secondary education system, the Higher is one of the national school-leaving certificate exams and university entrance qualifications of the Scottish Qualifications Certificate (SQC) offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. It superseded the old Higher Grade on the Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE). Both are normally referred to simply as "Highers".

Sixth form college Advanced school for students aged 16-19

A sixth form college is an educational institution, where students aged 16 to 19 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as A Levels, Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, or school-level qualifications such as General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations. In Singapore and India, this is known as a junior college. The municipal government of the city of Paris uses the phrase ’sixth form college’ as the English name for a lycée.

Tenth grade or grade 10 is the tenth year of school post-kindergarten or the tenth year after the first introductory year upon entering compulsory schooling. In many parts of the world, the students are 15/16 years of age, depending on when their birthday occurs. The variants of 10th grade in various countries are described below.

Eleventh grade, junior year, or grade 11 is the eleventh, and for some countries final, grade of secondary schools. Students are typically 16–17 years of age, depending on the country and the students' birthdays.

Twelfth grade, senior year, or grade 12 is the final year of secondary school in most of North America. In other regions, it may also be referred to as class 12 or Year 13. In most countries, students are usually the ages of 17 and 18 years old. Some countries have a thirteenth grade, while other countries do not have a 12th grade/year at all. Twelfth grade is typically the last year of high school.

The Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) was a subject specific qualification family, awarded in both academic and vocational fields in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. CSE examinations were set in the years 1965 to 1987 inclusive. This qualification should not be confused with the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education which is the school leaving qualification in India. Also, in some African and former British colonial countries there is a qualification named the Certificate of Secondary Education based on the original and former British variant. Also, the CSE should not be confused with the African qualification CSEE.

Educational stages are subdivisions of formal learning, typically covering early childhood education, primary education, secondary education and tertiary education. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognizes nine levels of education in its International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) system. UNESCO's International Bureau of Education maintains a database of country-specific education systems and their stages.

Education in Jamaica is primarily modeled on the British education system.

The A Level is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education, as well as a school leaving qualification offered by the educational bodies in the United Kingdom and the educational authorities of British Crown dependencies to students completing secondary or pre-university education. They were introduced in England and Wales in 1951 to replace the Higher School Certificate. A number of countries, including Singapore, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritius and Zimbabwe have developed qualifications with the same name as and a similar format to the British A Levels. Obtaining an A Level, or equivalent qualifications, is generally required for university entrance, with universities granting offers based on grades achieved.

The General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level, or A Level, is a main school leaving qualification in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It is available as an alternative qualification in other countries.

References

  1. BBC News Website
  2. "Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam - Post Secondary Education". www.moe.gov.bn. Retrieved 15 November 2016.