Lower 4th? Upper 5th? What did these historic form/year group names mean?!

(67 Posts)
Erebus Tue 05-Nov-13 10:55:18

OK, I know about 'lower' and 'upper' 6th (though don't really understand why you now go from Y11 to the lower sixth...)- but I was listening to CE on R2 yesterday a.m. and he was asking about a school reunion of was it the upper fourth in 1965 ish! But the point is, what was the lower fourth? Why were the forms called this, what was the historical reason? Was there an upper fourth? Was movement from lower to upper automatic? I recall being issued with books like an atlas in the first form (yes) of a GS in 1973 whose previous keepers had been in the upper third or lower 5th, too.

I believe my dad told be that you started GS back in the early 1940s straight into the third form for some reason- but at 11, surely, as it was very much the 11+ back then.

And do you now start real public school at 13 into Y9? (disregarding the 'Shells' & 'Remove' year group names at was it Harrow?!)

Anyone know?

VivaLeBeaver Tue 05-Nov-13 10:57:34

I always thought from reading Enid Blyton books that upper fourth was for the high achievers in the fourth form and lower fourth for the not so clever ones. Like streaming. Could well be wrong though.

havingastress Tue 05-Nov-13 11:01:13

Our private school was like this. It's not about streaming at all.

You started in the seniors in Upper 3 (Year 7)

Then it was Lower 4 (Year 8)

Then Upper 4 (year 9)

Lower 5 (Year 10)

Upper 5 (Year 11)

Lower 6 and Upper 6 (Sixth Form, quite explanatory!)

It's all because it starts at Kindergarden in the juniors and moves up through Lower 1, Upper 1, Lower 2 etc etc, so the last year of juniors is Lower 3.

WhatABeautifulPussy Tue 05-Nov-13 11:02:12

Well at my school it dated back to when the school was smaller and classes weren't necessarily by age IYSWIM and you left school earlier so you did your school certificate in the 5th form and they kept that tradition except it became lower and upper fifth, and then matric in the 6th. Often you start in third form at 11, presumably because 1st and 2nd were what we'd now consider prep (8-11).

We had a lower fourth too.

nagynolonger Tue 05-Nov-13 11:03:00

The fourth form would have been what we now call year 10. Guessing that upper and lower related to setting within the year.

derektheladyhamster Tue 05-Nov-13 11:04:29

I have no idea, but often wondered about this.

My son's school has ridiculous names for years, but yr 7 is second form, yr 8 is third form, yr 9 is a weird name and then yr 10 is upper fourth confused all other yrs are special to the school.

My school was the same having a stress. And there was a junior school with form 1, 2 and lower 3. Then they started taking younger children so divided form 2 into lower 2 and upper 2. Dunno what happened when they started taking even younger children grin

nagynolonger Tue 05-Nov-13 11:06:15

I didn't go to a private school. We didn't have upper and lower until we had the upper and lower 6th which are years 12 and 13.

WhatABeautifulPussy Tue 05-Nov-13 11:09:09

We just tagged kindy on the bottom!

Erebus Tue 05-Nov-13 11:12:09

Thanks all, particularly stress- that would be the explanation! So schools would have gone from calling the 11 year olds 'upper 3rd', to renaming them first form, to now calling them Y7.

I know which one makes more sense, bar 'lower/upper sixth' grin

DreaduCated Tue 05-Nov-13 11:13:39

What is remove?! I've seen it in stories, but never understood!

WhatABeautifulPussy Tue 05-Nov-13 11:14:23

Not every school had the same system or the same way of splitting though. It just depended how they split it downwards - the 'fixed' points were the exams at the end of 5th and 6th forms.

Erebus Tue 05-Nov-13 11:17:16

- Though that still leaves a gap at the bottom- i.e. below what we'd call Y2

Y2 = lower 1
Y3 = upper 1
Y4 = lower 2
Y5 = upper 2
Y6 = lower 3

so Y1 was kindy? When you turned 5/6? I thought we Brits had always started compulsory schooling at 4? But I don't recall what they called my year-grouped, large primary's years.

Erebus Tue 05-Nov-13 11:19:05

Dread - no idea but I did read on wiki a moment ago that in Malaysia, they call an additional year that 10-11 year olds who fail the primary school final exam have to do is called 'Remove'.. ooi!

Some places called it pre-prep didn't they. So pre-prep being reception and year 1? then prep being from year 2 (with maybe lower 1?)

Erebus Tue 05-Nov-13 11:21:22

Just read*Saintly more carefully- so you went

Y1 now Y4
Y2 now Y5
Lower 3 (now Y6) , then into secondary.

Did they number the school years from age 4 to our Y4, then?

Chocchip88 Tue 05-Nov-13 11:22:24

The school I went to started at prep school age, so age 7 like junior school.
Year 3 - Form 1
Year 4 - Lower 2
Year 5 - Upper 2
Year 6 - Lower 3
then at secondary age
Year 7 - Upper 3
Year 8 - Lower 4
Year 9 - Upper 4
Year 10 - Lower 5
Year 11 - Upper 5
then 6th form

Erebus Tue 05-Nov-13 11:23:00

When do 'proper' prep schools start, is it what we'd call Y4 when a DC is 8? Then they go from age 8-12 so a DC starts public school at 13 into Y9?

Erebus Tue 05-Nov-13 11:23:35

Ta choc

AtiaoftheJulii Tue 05-Nov-13 11:23:50

No, 4's quite recent. When my about-to-turn-17 year old was school starting age, all the infant/junior schools round here took them the term after they turned 5, with the occasional "rising 5" (you would be 5 in the term you started) if they had space.

I started school as a rising 5; my brother didn't start until the September after his 5th birthday in May.

At the school I was at for longest, we had Infants = Kleine Kindergarten (Reception), Kindergarten (y1), Transition (y2), and then the Juniors was First form, lower 2nd, upper 2nd, lower 3rd as above for y3-6.

I think (from reading Billy Bunter!) that the remove was where you went if you repeated a year???

sparklysilversequins Tue 05-Nov-13 11:25:35

I went to an independent boarding school and it was by age, so each year group split in two with youngest in lower and oldest in upper. It certainly put paid to all this August borns being behind malarky, which is a good thing I think. Also very clever gels! went into upper even if younger, but in general they were unhappy, felt out of place and wanted to come back to their mates so it didn't usually work for them socially.

WhatABeautifulPussy Tue 05-Nov-13 11:26:00

Ours went Lower, middle, upper kindy to end of KS1, lower 1, upper 1, lower 2, upper 2 (y6), third, lower 4, upper 4, lower 5, upper 5, lower 6, upper 6.

But a school down the road had reception, pre-prep, prep and then started numbering.

Over time there have been various entry points - still are really in the indie system with 4+, 5+, 7+, 11+, 13+ and then technically 16+ but that's just joining for 6th form!

WhereIsMyHat Tue 05-Nov-13 11:26:50

Remove for us was where you got sent if you'd been bad. Like prison for secondary school.

We had:

Kindergarten
Transition
Preparatory
1st Form
2nd Form
Lower Third
Upper Third
Lower Fourth
Upper Fourth
Lower Fifth
Upper Fifth
Lower Sixth
Upper Sixth

But that was in the Dark Ages :D

tallulah Tue 05-Nov-13 11:29:50

Traditionally it would have literally meant the bench/ form/row in a one room school house. So you'd start at the front row and move towards the back of the room as you got bigger :-)

We used to start school either the term after the one in which we turned 5 or the one before as a rising 5. That was when schools took s new intake in Sep, Jan and after Easter. I had one term in reception then 2 years in the same infants class. Juniors then went from 1st year to 4th. Then secondary 1st to upper 6th.

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