Form (education)

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A form is an educational stage, class, or grouping of pupils 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. The North American equivalent to the 1st form (or sometimes 'form I') is 1st grade.


During the Victorian era a "form" was the bench upon which pupils sat to receive lessons. In some smaller schools the entire school would be educated in a single room, with different age groups sitting on different benches.

Modern use[edit]

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. In England, the 6th Form (Key Stage 5) is usually divided into two year groups: the lower sixth and upper sixth, owing to the 3-year English college/university system. In Scotland or North America, the equivalent of a 6th form is usually a single year, owing to the 4-year college/university system. If there is more than one form for each year group they will normally be differentiated by letters, e.g. "upper four A", "lower two B". 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 pupils 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).

See also[edit]