A level year at the grammar school

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MaryamSeresht

Senior Member
Persian
Hello,

Would you please tell if A level year at the grammar school(in Britain) is the last level of high school, when you will be graduated?

It must have been his A-level year at the grammar school. He was dressed head to foot in black and his hair almost tipped his shoulders.
Many thanks.

It's part of "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry"by Rachel Joyce, British writer.
 
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  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    In fact A-levels usually take two years of study, so it is slightly odd to have it singular like that. I'd say he must have been in AN A-level year.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    In fact A-levels usually take two years of study, so it is slightly odd to have it singular like that. I'd say he must have been in AN A-level year.
    Yes it is a bit odd. I was assuming it meant he was 'in the year he actually took his A levels', i.e. aged 17-18:)
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    In fact A-levels usually take two years of study, so it is slightly odd to have it singular like that. I'd say he must have been in AN A-level year.
    I think what the writer may mean is that he's taking his A-Levels that year, i.e he's in his last year (which was called the Upper Sixth in my day).;)

    Crossed with ewie, sorry!
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It is the final year of secondary education (we don't normally use the term high school in Britain) during which students sit their A (= Advanced) level examinations. A levels provide the qualifications necessary to get into universities ( = tertiary education)

    Cross-posted whilst I was looking for a relevant thread. I immediately understood it to mean the examination year = Upper VIth when I was a lad.

    See also Educational system in Britain
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    (we don't normally use the term high school in Britain) during which students sit their A (= Advanced) level examinations.
    Well I went to a High School in Britain many years ago. I have just checked to see if High Schools in my home city still exist and are still call High School. The 2 I looked at are still called High Schools.

    GF..

    A level is normally a 2 year course in grammar schools, although I know someone who did an A level in 1 year. Now that was some 40 odd years ago
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    In fact A-levels usually take two years of study, so it is slightly odd to have it singular like that. I'd say he must have been in AN A-level year.
    I didn't find it odd, because I immediately took the context "his A-level year" to mean the year in which he took his A-levels (meaning the actual exams). That was precisely because I knew that if the author had intended to refer to one of the two when he was studying for his A-levels (typically the two years after O-levels) then the sentence would have used "one of his A-level years".
    I explain this mainly so that Maryam will understand the comments and the original sentence, by seeing that "A-level" can refer to the (typically 2-year) course or the exam.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Yes, I see that you can assume this refers to the year in which he took his A2 exams, but I was focusing on the other bit of context, his clothes. In some schools A- level students are allowed to turn up on their own clothes rather than on the school uniform, which is a concession over both years. Without the whole paragraph in front of us we cannot be sure what the author's focus was on.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Yes, I see that you can assume this refers to the year in which he took his A2 exams, but I was focusing on the other bit of context, his clothes. In some schools A- level students are allowed to turn up on their own clothes rather than on the school uniform, which is a concession over both years. Without the whole paragraph in front of us we cannot be sure what the author's focus was on.
    Thanks for the additional context:D A development since I left the UK - and "the thing I learnt today:D". Who knows what else lurks in the rest of the paragraph? I still think the reference to a single year suggests the exam year.

    (Did you mean "turn up in their own clothes" or is that another development since I left?)
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Just to give Maryam a broader picture:

    - There's no standard naming of schools in the UK: there are some secondary schools called High Schools, and there have been for many years, but there are many that aren't called that. Although it's found as part of some schools' names, e.g. Clifton High School, it isn't used as a generic term in BrE: we don't usually say "When I was at high school".

    - I agree with suzi that the reference to his long hair and dress style suggests that uniforms were worn at his school except in the "A-level year(s)" — but note that not all UK schools have uniforms: neither of my last two schools did, so I was accustomed to seeing 'non-standard' clothes from age 10 to 18, and I probably wouldn't have immediately seen the cause-and-effect connection betwen the two sentences in that Rachel Joyce extract.

    Ws:)
     
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