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In the education systems of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. En ...
,
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label= Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usa ...
,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...
,
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and some other
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
countries, sixth form represents the 2 years of post-
GCSE 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 sch ...
academic education, where students start the first academic year in the sixth form (1st September) age 16 and finish age 17 (at the end of the academic year, 31 August) and start the second academic year in the sixth form age 17 and finish age 18. During the two years they prepare for their
A-level The A Level (Advanced 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 auth ...
(or equivalent) examinations. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the term
Key Stage 5Key Stage 5 is a label used to describe the two years of education for students aged 16-18, or at sixth form In the education systems of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It sh ...
has the same meaning. It only refers to post-16 academic education and not to
vocational education OAC Vocational Educiation, 1922 (5857905487) Vocational education is education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal dev ...
.


England and Wales

The term ''sixth form'' describes the two school years which are called the ''Lower Sixth'' (L6) and ''Upper Sixth'' (U6) by many schools, students aged 17 or 18 by 31 August. 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 A freshman, first year, or frosh, is a person in the first year at an educational institution, usually a secondary or post-secondary school. Arab world In much of the Arab world The Arab world ( ar, العالم العربي '), formally th ...
, and this was the
academic yearAn academic year or school year is a period of time which schools, colleges and university, universities use to measure a quantity of study. School holiday School holidays (also referred to as vacations, breaks, and recess) are the periods during ...
in which pupils would normally be 12 years old by 31 August. Pupils would move up a form each year before entering the fifth form in the academic year in which they would be 16 years old by 31 August. Those who stayed on at school to study for
A-levels#REDIRECT A-Level The A Level (Advanced 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 ...
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 Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Ki ...

Oxford
or
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a College town, university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire, England, on the River Cam approximately north of London. At the United Kingdom Census 2011, the population of the Cambridge built-up area (which is larger t ...
universities. Other schools described these ''
Oxbridge File:Emmanuel_College_Front_Court,_Cambridge,_UK_-_Diliff.jpg, Emmanuel College, Cambridge Oxbridge is a portmanteau of University of Oxford, Oxford and University of Cambridge, Cambridge, the two oldest, wealthiest, and most famous universities ...
'' 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 Reception is a noun form of ''receiving'', or ''to receive'' something, such as art, experience, information, people, products, or vehicles. It is often used in the following contexts: Astrology * Reception (astrology), in astrology, where one p ...
. The first year of secondary school is ''
Year 7 Year 7 is an educational year group in schools in many countries including England, Wales, Australia and New Zealand. It is the seventh full year (or eighth in Australia) of compulsory education and is roughly equivalent to grade 6 in the United S ...
''. The Lower Sixth (the first year of sixth form) is Year 12 and the Upper Sixth (the second year of sixth form) is Year 13. Public (fee-charging) schools, along with some
state school State schools (in England, Wales, and New Zealand) or public schools (Scottish English and North American English) are generally primary or secondary educational institution, schools that educate all children without charge. They are funded in w ...
s, tend to use the old system of numbering. In some parts of the country, specialist
sixth form college Shrewsbury Sixth Form College in Shropshire A sixth form college is an educational institution, where students aged 16 to 19 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as GCE Advanced Level, A Levels, Business and Technology E ...
s 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 Further education (often abbreviated FE) in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a syn ...
(FE) colleges called
tertiary collegeIn England and Wales, a tertiary college is a type of further education (FE) college that offers both academic and vocational courses to both youngsters and adults, combining the main functions of an FE college and a sixth form college. Unlike a si ...
s 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
GCSE 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 sch ...
s 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 The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS ) is a UK-based organisation whose main role is to operate the application process for British universities. It operates as an independent charity, funded by fees charged to applicants and u ...
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 HigherThe Advanced Higher is an optional qualification which forms part of the Scottish secondary education system brought in to replace the Certificate of Sixth Year Studies (CSYS). The first certification of Advanced Higher was in 2001. It is normally t ...
and/or
Higher Higher may refer to: Education * Higher (Scottish), a Scottish national school-leaving certificate exam and university entrance qualification Music Albums * Higher (Regina Belle album), ''Higher'' (Regina Belle album), 2012 * Higher (Ala Boratyn a ...
courses in a wide range of subjects, taking SQA exams at the end of both S5 and S6. Pupils in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) Anglo-Scottish bo ...

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 The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS ) is a UK-based organisation whose main role is to operate the application process for British universities. It operates as an independent charity, funded by fees charged to applicants and u ...
will increase the number of points awarded to those who achieve Highers and Advanced Highers. In some cases, particularly in independent schools, the term ''sixth form'' is also used for the last two years of secondary education.


Jamaica

In the Jamaican Education System, ''sixth form'' describes the two school years which are called the ''Lower Sixth'' (6B) and ''Upper Sixth'' (6A), or grades 12 (lower) and 13 (upper), by many schools, students aged 17 or 18 by October 31. Sixth form is an optional, two years long, advanced post secondary program, at the end of which students write the CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams). These are the equivalent of the GCE
A Level#REDIRECT A-Level The A Level (Advanced 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 ...
examinations which were the standard up until 2003. Some students still choose to sit A-levels if they wish, but in doing so they must still meet CAPE's basic subject requirements/groupings. CAPE and A-level exams are significantly harder than exams sat at the end of high school, and are often thought to be harder than most exams students will ever sit in university. Students usually select between three and five subjects from the
GCSE 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 sch ...
s/CAPE they have just taken.


Other countries

In some
secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education (age 12 to 15) and upper secondary educatio ...
s in
Barbados Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of the Americas, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. It is in length and up to in width, covering an area of . It is in the weste ...

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. In India this is also referred to as "intermediate". 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 Education in New Zealand#Years of schooling, 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 GCE Advanced Level, Brunei-Cambridge GCE A Level. 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

* Sixth form college * Education in the United Kingdom * Eleventh grade#United States, Eleventh grade and Twelfth grade#United States, Twelfth grade—Equivalent American grades for this age range * Ontario Academic Credit


References

{{Authority control Sixth form colleges in the United Kingdom, * Educational years, 6 Education in Barbados Education in Hong Kong Education in Jamaica Education in Malta Education in the United Kingdom