The not-too-modern-looking-beautiful-old building in the background is Hills Road Sixth Form College. It’s next door to my Department at the University. Most Form 6 students in the UK apparently go to school in whatever clothing they like (within reason of course, I suppose), but for the secondary school years prior to that, they wear uniforms just like we do in T&T. Sixth form colleges puzzled me to some extent when I came across them, because in England they have Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11…. and then Form 6; whereas, in Trinidad and Tobago we have Forms 1,2,3,4,5 and then Form 6…. which made sense to me. So, I asked David, ‘Why do they have a class called ‘Year 11’, and then jump to ‘Form 6′?’ He didn’t know why, and I suggested that perhaps in the past they had Forms 1 to 6, just like Trini does. Since the T&T education system is based to some extent on the English system, it would make sense that we got Forms 1 to 6 from England, but then England did away with it. This question stayed on my mind, and so, when I met David’s dad, I asked him why England has Years 7 to 11 followed by ‘Sixth form’. He told me that in the past the year groups were called Forms 1 to 6, and they changed the system, but ‘Sixth form’ is just a holdover from the past for advanced secondary school. (‘Sixth form’ can also be called ‘Years 12 and 13’, but I think ’Sixth form’ is the popular way to refer to it in the UK).
Another thing that puzzled me when I came here was ‘mince pies’. In England, ‘mince pies’ are a thing people eat for Christmas, and I assumed that perhaps it was called ‘mince pies’ because it had minced meat in it. It doesn’t…it’s a pastry with spiced fruity stuff inside. When I told an English person that I thought it was a minced meat pie, I think the person thought it kind of funny that I thought that the pie might have meat in it. HOWEVER, about two days ago I was watching TV and there was a Christmas cooking show on where they detailed the history of mince pies, and they explained that the reason it’s called ‘mince pie’ is because once upon a time it did have meat in it, specifically, minced ox tongue meat! Anyhow, now I know why some things are the way they are.