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 Post subject: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 19:05 
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Indulging in a midnight feast
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I won’t need this information for drabbling purposes quite yet, but this is a question that has been bothering me for a while and I’d like to be totally clear on it well before I start writing.

I think I’m missing something obvious with the age at which the CS girls finish school. In general, they seem to be seventeen and a half or only just eighteen when they leave at the end of July. Here in Scotland, the cut-off date for joining a year group is 28th/29th February, so the oldest people in a school year have March birthdays, and the youngest are born in February. I, for example, have a January birthday, was one of the youngest in my year, was four and a half when I started school and seventeen and a half when I finished sixth year.

I have always understood, however, that in England the cut-off date is 31st August, therefore the oldest people in a year will have September birthdays and the youngest will have been born in August. But then what age are they supposed to be when they leave? Just short of eighteen for the September kids and not even seventeen yet for the Augusts? Or do they do an extra year and be nearly nineteen and eighteen respectively? And how does the CS fit into this? Mary-Lou, for instance, has a summer birthday (think it gets EBDism’d between June and July) and is apparently eighteen when she leaves, suggesting that anyone in her year group who was born in September must be nearly nineteen. But then what about the triplets, who apparently do a year extra despite only turning eighteen in November of that year? What am I missing?

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 19:11 
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Legally, people used to be able to leave school in England at the end of the term after their 16th birthday, IIRC. However, if they stayed on to the VIth form, which someone intending to go on to university would generally have done and which most CS girls did anyway, they would leave at the end of the academic year during which they turned 18, a year later than in Scotland. So, yes, the triplets, who had November birthdays, would be nearly 19 when they left, but Mary-Lou, who had a June birthday, would only just be 18 when she left.

It's a complete muddle in the CS books, though :lol:. Some people are 18, and others are 17. Heather Clayton, for example, leaves to go to St Mildred's when she's 17, spends one term there and then leaves to begin her nursing training at the end of the term during which she turns 18 ... whereas the triplets, who were in the same form as her, stay on and leave at nearly 19.

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 19:21 
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I don't know how much things may have changed, but I started at my senior school in September 1960, when I was 11 [April birthday so fairly midway through the age group] and took A-Levels just after my 18th birthday in 1967. Most people in the year left that summer, but 6 of us stayed on into 'Third Year VI' to take Oxbridge entrance exams, and left in the December of 1967.

It was certainly standard in England at the time for the last year of Junior school to be the year you turned 11 during the school year - which as you say, runs from 1 Sept to 31 Aug - hence taking the '11 plus' exam to decide whether you would go to a grammar school or a Secondary Mod. The 1944 Education Act was still active, which brought that in so all the 1950s CS books would have been based on that system/age criteria - when Comprehensive schools came in in the 1970s, everything changed again, but that's after EBD's time.

The school leaving age was 14 until the late 1950s, and was 15 when I was at school, and raised to 16 ether just before or just after I left.

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 19:26 
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Thank you, I was pretty sure it couldn't be the case that people with August birthdays were finishing Upper Sixth at sixteen, but so many girls seem to leave when they're seventeen instead of eighteen that I was beginning to wonder! Maybe EBD was using the Scottish system and just never bothered mentioning it. :D

Not that it makes getting Jean, Lucy and Felicity into the same form any easier, mind you. (Jumping the gun a bit here for the Petersverse, but I like to plan several drabbles ahead.) I can make Jean and Lucy work if I give Jean an early September birthday - she's five at the beginning of New Mistress when Lucy is four and a half, so that's fine. But Felicity's only just turned three, making her two whole years younger than Jean and eighteen months younger than Lucy. There is no way she should be in the same form as them.

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 19:40 
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The way EBD moves people up [and down!] according to ability, though, you could have that age range in a single form,. The CS being a private school - and in Switzerland! - didn't have to follow the English rules precisely. But you've only got to think of the range of ages in Inter V - it would be quite possible for them all to be in the same form if Felicity is perceived to be as bright as the triplets. And she could legally leave school at 15 or 16...

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 20:20 
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Yseult, at 16, was in the same form as the triplets, who were 12!!

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 22:02 
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Aquabird wrote:
Thank you, I was pretty sure it couldn't be the case that people with August birthdays were finishing Upper Sixth at sixteen, but so many girls seem to leave when they're seventeen instead of eighteen that I was beginning to wonder! Maybe EBD was using the Scottish system and just never bothered mentioning it. :D

Not that it makes getting Jean, Lucy and Felicity into the same form any easier, mind you. (Jumping the gun a bit here for the Petersverse, but I like to plan several drabbles ahead.) I can make Jean and Lucy work if I give Jean an early September birthday - she's five at the beginning of New Mistress when Lucy is four and a half, so that's fine. But Felicity's only just turned three, making her two whole years younger than Jean and eighteen months younger than Lucy. There is no way she should be in the same form as them.


Well, if EBD can have Judy, Janice and Ailie in the the same form, you can certainly have Lucy, Jean and Felicity. Judy is born earlier in same year as the triplets (Janie Steps in), Janice in the spring of the following year (Chalet School goes to it) but Ailie not till the September just before the triplets turn 4 in November (Jo the the Rescue). So there's about 6-9 months between Judy and Janice, but then more than 3 years between Janice and Ailie! So she effectively moves Judy and Janice down to Ailie's age group, or they'd be with the triplets or thereabouts. No reason why you can't use some creative re-aging!


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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2017, 22:48 
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Also, ages can often vary within canon itself, so it's quite probable that they've already been re-aged in another of the books! (I do feel fairy certain they did all end up the same age at one point, but I may be wrong)

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 08:02 
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I've just re-read Challenge, in which 9-year-old Felicity is Jean's "bosom friend", which strongly suggests that they're in the same form. And all three of them are bosom friends later on, when they do a ballet dance together at one of the shows. So I'm sure EBD intended us to think that they were in the same form. I always think it's nice that they had the sort of set-up that most people would have had in the late 1950s/early 1960s, being friends with ... I was going to say the other kids in the street, but you can't really call the Platz a street :lol: . Being friends with the neighbours, and walking round to each other's houses to play, that sort of thing.

Creative re-aging, as ivohenry so brilliantly put it!

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 08:21 
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Nah, that causes headaches when you're following a set timeline as I do. Felicity's just going to have to be an infant prodigy that starts school two years early.

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 12:47 
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abbeybufo wrote:
I
The school leaving age was 14 until the late 1950s, and was 15 when I was at school, and raised to 16 ether just before or just after I left.


I started grammar school in September 1967 and my parents had to sign a form agreeing that I would be allowed to stay until I was 16, because the minimum school leaving age at that time was still 15. I think you're right that it changed soon afterwards.

Even when the school leaving age was still 15, some secondary modern pupils, including my sister who is two years older than me, stayed on till they were 16 to take exams.

When I started grammar school, there were still people who stayed on an extra year to do the Oxbridge exams, but that seemed to stop shortly afterwards. In my year, 4 sat the Oxbridge exams (none got in!) but none of them stayed on an extra term to do so. Some 6th formers did stay on an extra year to resit A levels, in the hope of improving their grades for University entrance.

Edited once for grammar

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2017, 16:11 
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Aquabird wrote:
I have always understood, however, that in England the cut-off date is 31st August, therefore the oldest people in a year will have September birthdays and the youngest will have been born in August. But then what age are they supposed to be when they leave? Just short of eighteen for the September kids and not even seventeen yet for the Augusts?

Those who are oldest, the ones born in Sept, would be 18 when they started and still 18 when they left the following July, (but would turn 19 in Sept, when they set off for uni or whatever.) The ones born later in the year would still mostly be 18 by the time they left, (though 17 for much of the year) except for the few who weren't 18 till the August - but that's only one month later. My sister was born in Sept, so had her 18th birthday almost as soon as she started in upper 6th, but was still 18 when she left the following July, whereas I was born in late June, so was 17 for most of that final year and only just turned 18 when I left in the July. Hope that makes sense, Aquabird.

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 20 Oct 2017, 03:56 
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The ages of sixth formers in the series are definitely not reliable!

I did a quick check, and we don't ever see a student in the sixth form who is nineteen. There is the occasional fifteen year old, but basically all the sixth formers (lower and upper) are in the 16-18 year old age range. Given that we regularly see students in Inter V who are fifteen and sometimes even sixteen, and it's very common for girls who aren't performing well to be held back a year or more, that requires some creative math.

As an example, the Dawbarn twins are twelve in Bride Leads and 16 in Challenge, almost 8 years later.

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 21 Oct 2017, 02:49 
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jennifer wrote:
I did a quick check, and we don't ever see a student in the sixth form who is nineteen. There is the occasional fifteen year old, but basically all the sixth formers (lower and upper) are in the 16-18 year old age range. Given that we regularly see students in Inter V who are fifteen and sometimes even sixteen, and it's very common for girls who aren't performing well to be held back a year or more, that requires some creative math.

As an example, the Dawbarn twins are twelve in Bride Leads and 16 in Challenge, almost 8 years later.


You may well be referring to later books, but we do see Amy Stevens in the sixth form when she's either 19 or 20 depending on how you date the series at that point.

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 Post subject: Re: School Year Cut-Off Ages
PostPosted: 23 Oct 2017, 08:58 
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KB wrote:
jennifer wrote:
I did a quick check, and we don't ever see a student in the sixth form who is nineteen. There is the occasional fifteen year old, but basically all the sixth formers (lower and upper) are in the 16-18 year old age range. Given that we regularly see students in Inter V who are fifteen and sometimes even sixteen, and it's very common for girls who aren't performing well to be held back a year or more, that requires some creative math.

As an example, the Dawbarn twins are twelve in Bride Leads and 16 in Challenge, almost 8 years later.


You may well be referring to later books, but we do see Amy Stevens in the sixth form when she's either 19 or 20 depending on how you date the series at that point.


She *should* almost twenty-one but in Lavender she's described as being eighteen, nearly nineteen, and being the school's oldest pupil. In Gay, she appears, but with no mention of an age.

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