structuring of groups and classes - Is it possible to divide a "form group"?

Hello, I just restarted evaluating / using Gibbon and I am at the phase of arranging and importing my data.
I managed to import all necessary user and family data. The demo data, the import via csv file function and the posts here were really a great help for beginning to understand the system.

Our school has one class, I suppose this would be the form group, in one year, which would be the year group.
The students in one form group take part in all the courses for the year, but in some of the courses they are divided into groups.
I suppose the correct way is to use one course for a subject for each year and one class in the course for most of them. The courses in which the form group would be divided gets three classes.
Is my best option to build this structure and use “sync course enrolment” to populate most of the course - classes and import the students for all the other courses via csv or is there a possibility in the webinterface to create subgroups for the form group?

Another option would be to use three form groups per year and multiple “sync course enrolement” rules.
But I suppose there are form group specific reports so that this could cause problems, even if they are more or less cosmetic, down the road.

I already tried enrolling students to multiple form groups (so that there would be
form group 1 (whole class)
form group 1-1 and
form group 1-2
which did not work as I hoped it would. It seems one student is only allowed to be added to one form group.

I also have multiple other questions but I am not sure if it is considered OK to post them all here or if I should start a different thread or a github issue. For the start I continue here and please tell me if it is OK.

  1. In “Manage Form Groups”, when editing a Form Group the field “Next Form Group” is not populated. When I populate it in the csv file, it is read, checked if it is a short name for a rollgroup but also not populated. I also found it mentioned in thist post: Is this a bug or are we doing something wrong? I guess it will be a problem when the first rollover occurs.
  2. I could not find a place in the web interface to enrol students in form groups. I managed to do it via the cvs import. The getting started document does not elaborate on where to do it, it just states that you have to do it.
  3. I think it is the same for the staff registration. It is mentioned, that you have to do it, but I added the staff, gave them the roles, but they don’t show up ie. when editing a from group to be selected as tutor.
  4. Is there a way to contribute to the documentation?
  5. Is there a nice ERM available to get the data structure behind the web interface?

Gibbon seems great so far. With the awesome flexibility comes the complexity, I get that.
It would be great if you would enable me to continue my journey into gibbon.

best regards,


Hi Paul,

It sounds like you are on the right lines, and either approach that you describe (one form group, or three form groups) should work. The advantage of three form groups is that auto enrol will be simpler to use, I believe, as you can channel all students in one form group into the class for that form group.

In terms of the other questions, please can you post them each in a separate form thread? That makes things more searchable, and allows answers to be disentangled from each other.

You are not wrong about flexibility leading to complexity.!



Hello Ross,

thank you for the quick answer and the clarification of how to post my questions!

So concerning this topic:
I’m trying to weight the additional administrative work of using one form group against a maybe easier workflow for the teachers. Since a teacher instructs all three classes of the course, he has to teach the whole year group.

This is the point where I am not sure. Are there some reports, input forms or any part of the design of gibbon, where the teacher would get a view of the students in one form group, which would make it easier or faster for the teacher to fill in the grades or similar, or is everything based on classes?
Well writing it I think it makes sense, that every input is based on classes and my teachers should understand that.

Maybe my question burns down to:
Is there an overview / table view of the every student with every class they took and the grades they got per year group, per form group or just per student?

If there is an overview per form group I may be going with the “one form group” approach to give the main tutor of the form group a better overall view of his / her students.

So it’s about the teacher acceptance factor to prevent whining down the way.



Hi Paul,

No worries at all! Grade input and lesson planning all happens via classes, and so the form groups become, in that sense irrelevant. For us, the form groups are more about pastoral care and oversight of students across all of their courses.

For the overview you are asking about, the closest at current is to view their individual view of the Markbook, which will show all courses, classes and grades.

We often use Query Builder to bring together such information that the system does not do in quiet the way a school wants, as you can define a query much more easily than coding an interface. However, if we find that there is a hole in the way Gibbon works that would impact a lot of schools, then we try and build that interface.

Keeping teachers happy is, in my experience, key!


Hi Paul,

There are different ways to record grades in the system, given it’s flexibility, so there isn’t necessarily one answer to your question.

  • The Markbook is a place where you can see all grades for a student or for a class, per year. Marks are stored in the markbook per class.
  • The Formal Assessment module also lets you store grades for students by class. These are generally intended more for fixed, recurring assessments (eg: IB, GCSE, CAT, etc).
  • The Reports module is flexible and allows criteria by Year Group, Form Group or Class. This just depends on how you setup the reporting cycle.

Form groups do tend to be logical subdivisions of year groups, so having one year group and multiple form groups is the norm. I guess it comes down to figuring out what works best for your use case. You do not necessarily need to sync form groups to classes, you can also enrol students manually.

Hello again!

I just wanted to report back how I managed the sync course enrolment in my specific situation.

I finally created four form groups per year group, one for the whole class and three for the subgroups.
In sync course enrolment I created the mappings for all the courses of the year group.
Then I used the import option for student enrolment to add the students to the subgroups for practical training.
After running sync course enrolment for each year group I modified the import file to enrol the students to the form group that will mostly be used, reimported it and ran sync course enrolment again.

At a first glance all courses / classes should be populated as intended and attendance can be taken in the whole form group.

Once again - the import system is really great!!