British Education System - Sixth Form (for a book)?


I've been working on a story (4 books currently in my head) for some time now. It takes place in the UK (England) for some geographic reasons, but I've now run into the problem that I didn't research the Education System enough beforehand.

The main character is to attend sixth for, the last year to be exact. (She is 19, since she had to leave school for a year)

Now I have several questions, bc I have to find out if my idea is even possible. The stuff online is usually so complicated, its difficult to wrap ur head around if you've never experienced it yourself.


1. How subject-specific are England's schools? Are there schools that are more "general"?

2. She thinks about becoming a teacher, so is sixth form even a good idea? If yes, which courses are usually a requirement?

3. How do the time tables work? How much time does sixth form take up?

4. When do final exams take place generally? (The story/first book takes place 2018/2019)

And is there anything else I have to pay attention to? Everything is helpful! Thx!

2 Answers

  • 3 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    I went to sixth form, but it was mumblty-mumble years ago, so most of my answers will be out-of-date. I'll answer what I can...

    1. Primary schools (up to age 11) and secondary schools (up to age 16) are all general. Pupils have some choice of which subjects to study in the last couple of years of secondary school. At sixth form, pupils can study any combination of subjects on offer, subjects to scheduling constraints. We're starting to see schools that specialise in broad areas like performing arts, but there aren't many of these yet.

    2. If you want to be a teacher in the UK, you need a bachelor's degree (which can be in any subject), and then you do a one-year course called a PGCE (post-graduate certificate of education), which is basically learning how to be a teacher. In theory, you're then qualified to teach any subject at primary or secondary school, though if you want to teach a specific subject, you would presumably have concentrated on that at school. To get into university, you generally need to have been to sixth form and got at least two A-levels (the name of the exam you study for at sixth form).

    3. It depends on the school. As far as I remember from my sixth form, the day was divided into six periods of maybe 45 minutes each. With breaks and time for registration, we were there for maybe six or seven hours a day. Each period was given a number from 1 to 4, and each of a pupil's chosen subjects was mapped to one of those numbers. So if I was studying, say, physics as number 1, I'd have a physics lesson in every period that had a 1 in the timetable. Most of the lessons were doubles - two periods together.

    Most pupils studied three subjects in my day, though with increasing pressure on schools and pupils to get the best results, more and more students nowadays are studying four or even five. With three subjects, we had one period out of four free, which we were expected to use for private study or to get a head start on homework.

    4. Mine were mostly in May and June, though I suppose with more subjects to study, they might be more spread out.

  • 3 weeks ago

    .             .

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.