|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
A form is a class or grouping of students in a school. The term is used predominantly in the United Kingdom, although some schools, mostly private, in other countries also use the title. Pupils are usually grouped in forms according to age and will remain with the same group for a number of years, or sometimes their entire school career.
Forms are normally identified by a number such as "first form" or "sixth form". A form number may be used for two year groups and differentiated by the terms upper and lower. The sixth form is the senior form of a school, and is usually divided into two year groups: the lower sixth and upper sixth. If there is more than one form for each year group they will normally be differentiated by letters, e.g., "upper four B", "lower two Y". Schools do not follow a consistent pattern in naming forms.
Another common identification for form, and one of the most common in New Zealand, is the number of the year they are in, followed by the initials of the teacher who takes the form class. E.g., a Year 7 form whose teacher is John Smith would be 7JS (or 7SJ or 7SM if there is already another teacher in the school with the initials JS). Alternatively, some schools use "vertical" form classes where students across several year groups from the same school house are grouped together. In this case, the numeral is replaced with the first letter of the house name (e.g. RJS for a Red House form class whose teacher is John Smith).
A common understanding in North England was that the single large school halls had sets of seating benches (called FORMS). Different age-groups sat together and were known as 1st. form, 2nd. form, etc. There was a common teacher for the whole school-group, directing instruction to the various forms.