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 Post subject: Form sizes
PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017, 12:21 
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As mentioned in the discussion in Changes, when Len comes back from Canada she's put into Upper IVb, not so much because she's advanced for her age as that the Lower IV forms are full. The idea seems to be that they'll shove her in there for a term, and then sort things out properly at the end of the academic year when everything will be being rearranged anyway. There are other occasions on which someone's moved out of a form because it's full, notably when Ted Grantley is moved into a different form to make way for a new girl – although that's mainly a plot device to get her into the same form as Len and Ros.

I appreciate that form sizes are an issue and are hotly debated in real life, and that the Chalet School is sometimes said to have a policy on not having more than 25 girls in a form, but it seems very unfair that Len is just bunged in wherever there's a gap (at least they can't be accused of favouring The Clan on that occasion!), and that Ted is moved to make way for someone else. It's not like rearranging dormitories :roll: .

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 Post subject: Re: Form sizes
PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017, 12:31 
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This did more or less happen to me, although a much younger age. I was put into one form for the first six weeks in a new school, in the equivalent of Year 2, and moved up at half term because they had someone coming in (who I think had been ill) who had to go into the form I had been placed in. With a January birthday, I was always going to be either slightly above or rather below the average age for the form, but I spend the rest of my school career being 7 months below the average. Not as dramatic as Len, but for this reason the whole idea never struck me as unrealistic (and certainly not in Ted's case, where it looked eminently sensible).


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 Post subject: Re: Form sizes
PostPosted: 16 Aug 2017, 00:31 
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With Ted, I think it makes sense. She was put into Inter V based on her exam scores, but performed much better when at school and working hard, so it would make sense to bump her up early in the term to an appropriate form, even without the excuse of a new girl.

With the triplets, it would have made much more sense to put them into an age appropriate form (like UIII), and have them progress normally to Lower 4 when they moved to Switzerland. Poor Len is the *only* example I can think of where a girl is demoted in form between years, and Upper 4 is mostly girls of fourteen, four years older than she was.

But the form progressions in the last two UK books and moving to Switzerland are all over the place. Mary-Lou and Co are promoted to Upper 4a, and stay in that form for five terms. The girls around Carola and Katharine's age are scattered quite a bit as well - a bunch end up skipping a year. That's one of the things that made the merger with Tanswick chaotic - a whole lot of girls are promoted mid-year, which must have wreaked havoc with planned classes, when mistresses were faced with a batch of new girls who had missed the first four months of instruction in, say, math or science.

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 Post subject: Re: Form sizes
PostPosted: 17 Aug 2017, 16:19 
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jennifer wrote:
That's one of the things that made the merger with Tanswick chaotic - a whole lot of girls are promoted mid-year, which must have wreaked havoc with planned classes, when mistresses were faced with a batch of new girls who had missed the first four months of instruction in, say, math or science.


As a teacher that would, and does drive me nuts, and unfortunately we do not have the time to arrange catch up classes, unlike the Chalet School. All I can do is photocopy the revision guide and tell them to read it in their own time.

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 Post subject: Re: Form sizes
PostPosted: 17 Aug 2017, 16:25 
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[quote="jennifer"]

But the form progressions in the last two UK books and moving to Switzerland are all over the place. Mary-Lou and Co are promoted to Upper 4a, and stay in that form for five terms. quote]

The result of all this is that Mary-Lou and some of her friends then have to be accelerated through their senior forms. Having spent all that time in Upper 4a, she, Vi, Hilary and Lesley move from being Middles in Upper 4a to prefects in Lower 6 in the space of a year. Even with that accelerated promotion, Mary-Lou is 16 before she goes into the Lower 6. I suppose EBD rather liked them as Middles, and had plenty of Seniors around to fulfil that role, and then suddenly realised that one of her favourite cohorts was now actually all too old for the school stage she had them in. And since her favourites are all clever and on the whole in forms above where they strictly should be, that obviously had to be rectified.


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 Post subject: Re: Form sizes
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2017, 00:23 
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The form progression of Mary-Lou et al is pretty weird overall. They are 10/11 and in Upper Second. If we assume that the form progression goes L2/U2 L3/U3 and so on, that's about a year too old (they'd have a bunch of 19 and 20 year olds in U6). She's promoted at the end of Three-Go, but in Island, her whole form has joined her in L3 (which is about the right age). By Changes, they're in U4, gaining an extra form, but they've also gained a year in age - Mary-Lou should be turning thirteen that summer, not fourteen. Then almost two years in U4, and then Mary-Lou and several others get jumped up after the fall term again, making them young for their form instead of old.

Then there's a whole batch who start out with Mary-Lou's gang, and end up below the triplets. The Dawbarns, Heather Clayton, Emerence and Primrose are all classmates of Mary-Lou at one point, and Prudence Dawbarn ends up about 3 forms below the triplets, in Upper V when she should be over 20. And later, girls like Jo Scott, Alicia Leonard and Betty Landon join the school with Mary-Lou's age, are held back a year, then go to Inter V, putting them with the triplets.

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 Post subject: Re: Form sizes
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2017, 07:24 
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Inter V is a muddle - because everything had got into a muddle by then :lol:. The triplets are only 12 at the start of the academic year, Yseult is 16, and most of the others are 14 or 15. It's not really fair on anyone. Even the characters admit that: the prefects talk about what a muddle it is.

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 Post subject: Re: Form sizes
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2017, 20:12 
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Quote:
then Mary-Lou and several others get jumped up after the fall term again, making them young for their form instead of old.


Age-wise, Mary Lou should have been in Va/Upper Fifth from the beginning of that school year - the year that begins with Mary Lou. When she's promoted, she's one of the youngest in her year, but it's only because she has a summer birthday, not because she's in the wrong year. She'll turn sixteen in that school year, which is correct.

With Inter V, I suppose the idea was to populate it with girls we already know.


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 Post subject: Re: Form sizes
PostPosted: 20 Aug 2017, 18:48 
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Certainly the forms seem flexible. I went to a school where we had Lower III and Upper III (equivalent to yrs 7 and 8) then the fourths (no lower or upper) then Lower V and Upper V (yrs 10 & 11) and then Lower and Upper VI. I imagine it was when the school had moved from being essentially a private school that took girls from age 10 - upper II? Into a grammar school that followed on from a primary school. It had its bonuses - when you were in IVA or whatever you could pretend you were older when meeting boys as the secondary modern had 'fourth years' who were equivalent to our Lower V!!

Edited to try and get rid of the emoji - I type 8 and it gives me the emoji! But not here ?

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 Post subject: Re: Form sizes
PostPosted: 20 Aug 2017, 19:42 
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Carrie A wrote:
Edited to try and get rid of the emoji - I type 8 and it gives me the emoji! But not here ?

I think it's the '8' followed by the bracket - ')' which gives 8). You could always insert a space - 8 ).

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