Jargon Busting

Some of the terms and abbreviations used in school can be confusing when you first see or hear them. This jargon busting section tries to explain what some of the more frequently used terms mean, listed from A-Z.

Action Plan -

A school's response to the report of its inspection by the Office for Standards in Education (OfSTED), which must be produced within 40 days.


Additional Literacy Support - Extra support for pupils in Years 3 and 4, who have insecure literacy skills - DfES Literacy site

AT -

Attainment Target - Sets out expected standards of pupils' performance at end of each key stage, assessed at ages 7, 11, 14 and 16.

Autism -

Autism (Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)) affects over 500,000 people. People who are autistic have a disability that affects the way they communicate and relate to people around them. The three main characteristics of autism are problems with: social interaction, social communication and imagination. There is an autistic spectrum - from those that have the severist form and never learn to speak, to those with Asperger syndrome. Further information

Baseline Assesment -

An assessment of a child's skills and abilities usually made by a teacher within the first seven weeks of starting primary school. It shows teachers what a child can do when starting school and helps them to plan lessons and measure progress. Areas covered include Language and Literacy, Maths and Personal and Social Development.


Computer-aided Learning

Clerk to the Governing Body -

A person appointed to carry out administrative duties for the governing body, such as preparing an agenda, minuting meetings and dealing with correspondence, and to advise on legal and procedural matters.


Continuing Professional Development - a balance of personal, professional development, attendance at nationally accredited courses and small-scale school-based activities for teaching and non-teaching staff.


Criminal Records Bureau

DES, DFE, DfEE and DfES -

Department for Education and Employment - The name of the Department of Education and Science (DES) changed to the Department for Education (DFE) on 6 July 1992, then to the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) on 4 July 1995 and to the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in June 2001. Previous names are retained in references to printed material issued before the inception of the DfES and in other contexts as necessary.

DLOs -

Desirable Learning Outcomes

Dyslexia -

A learning difficulty of which the chief manifestation is a particular difficulty with reading and spelling. For more information go to:

Dyspraxia -

Generally recognised as an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement. Associated with this may be problems of language, perception and thought - further information from the Dyspraxia Foundation.


English as an Additional Language - Pupils whose first language is not English may receive extra support.

Early Years phase of education -

Early Years settings include private and voluntary day nurseries, pre-schools, playgroups, childminding networks, portage services and Local Authority day nurseries.


Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties - Children who display these problems may be placed on the Special Needs Register and given extra support.

ELCs -

The Government has set aside substantial funds for schools to spend on multimedia resources in the form of eLCs (Electronic Learning Credits). The money is distributed from central Government via LEAs to individual schools, which decide locally how to spend it.  Further information can be found on the Curriculume Online site.


Education Welfare Officer - Person employed by an LEA to help parents and LEAs meet their statutory obligations in relation to school attendance.

Exclusion -

The suspension or expulsion of a pupil from school for disciplinary reasons.

Extended School- A school that provides a range of services and activities often beyond the school day to help meet the needs of its pupils, their families and the wider community.  Schools offering extended activities and services have already seen major benefits for pupils and schools, families and the community. 

FAQ - Frequently Asked Question

Fast Track - An opportunity for those seen as highly talented teachers to progress rapidly in their careers.

GCSE - General Certificate of Secondary Education - Academic examination of basic secondary education generally taken by 16-year-olds.

GNVQ - General National Vocational Qualification - Vocational qualifications related to particular industries to be taken in a school or college, taken mainly by pupils age 16 and in full-time education. GNVQs can be taken at levels equivalent to GCSE and A Level.

Healthy Schools Initiative - Government scheme to help improve the health of both pupils and teachers. The initiative includes a Wired for Health website, a Healthy Teacher focus to address occupational health issues for staff and cooks' academies in schools to improve knowledge about nutrition.

HMI - Her Majesty's Inspector OFSTED inspectors produce education reports which are meant to improve standards of achievement and quality of education, provide public reporting and informed independent advice.

Home-School Agreements - All state schools are required to have written home-school agreements, drawn up in consultation in parents. They are non-binding statements explaining the school's aims and values, the responsibilities of both school and parents, and what the school expects of its pupils. Parents will be invited to sign a parental declaration, indicating that they understand and accept the contents of the agreement.

HT - Headteacher

ICT - Information and Communications Technology

IEP - Individual Education Plan - Programmes which are drawn up by the class teacher and/or special needs co-ordinator within a school to provide individual support for children deemed to have needs over and above that of other children in the class. This could be either due to learning difficulties or because they are considered to be exceptionally bright or gifted children.

Inclusion Statement - Schools have a responsibility to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils. The National Curriculum is the starting point for planning a school curriculum that meets the specific needs of individuals and groups of pupils. This statutory inclusion statement on providing effective learning opportunities for all pupils outlines how teachers can modify, as necessary, the National Curriculum programmes of study to provide all pupils with relevant and appropriately challenging work at each key stage.

INSET - In-Service Education and Training All teachers have access to INSET in schools, helping them to refine their teaching and management skills.

Investors in People - Is a national Standard that can be used by any organisation to enhance the development of its people. The Standard provides a coherent framework for whole school staff development that links with, and supports, other developments within the school.

IT - Information Technology

Key Stage - A child's progress through school is measured in Key Stages. Each Key Stage covers a number of school years. Starting at Key Stage 1 and finishing at Key Stage 4.

KS1 - Key Stage 1 (3-7 years) - infants

KS2 - Key Stage 2 (7-11 years) - juniors

KS3 - Key Stage 3 (12-13 years) - lower secondary school

KS4 - Key Stage 4 (14-16 years) - GCSE years

LD - Level Description - Basis for making judgements about pupils' performance at the end of key stages 1, 2 and 3.

LEA - Local Education Authority The term 'local education authority' (or LEA) describes a type of council which has responsibility for providing education to pupils of school age in its area. Their overall education remit also includes early years, the youth service and adult education. An LEA is responsible for promoting high standards of education. It is responsible for contributing to the spiritual, moral, mental and physical development of the community by ensuring that efficient primary and secondary education is provided and ensuring that there are enough primary and secondary places with adequate facilities to meet the needs of pupils living in the area.

League Tables - See Performance Tables

Link Governors - The terms Link, Curricular or Specific Subject Governor are often used for governors who are given responsibility for specific subjects eg. ICT, Numeracy, Literacy, RE, SEN etc. It is not a statutory requirement for subjects to have governors assigned to them, but it is considered good practice. Link governors can also be the term used for govenors who are the link between the LEA and the school.

Literacy Hour - An hour of learning to read and write in school, broken down into various activities.

LSA - Learning Support Assistant - job title for an assistant providing in-school support for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

MFL - Modern Foreign Languages

National Numeracy Strategy - A government initiative which aims to raise standards of numeracy for all children in infant, primary and junior schools.

NC - National Curriculum - Covers what pupils should be taught in state maintained schools. The National Curriculum provides a balanced education for a child covering 11 subjects overall, and is divided into four Key Stages according to age.

NGfL - National Grid for Learning - Government funded project to connect schools to the Internet and to provide learning materials for them via the world wide web - responsible for information and communications technology (ICT) in schools.

NOF - New Opportunities Fund A lottery distributor created to award grants to education, health and environment projects throughout the UK.

NQT - Newly Qualified Teachers

OfSTED - Office for Standards in Education - Ofsted is a non-ministerial government department established under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for the inspection of all schools in England.  Its role also includes the inspection of local education authorities, teacher training institutions and youth work. During 2001, Ofsted became responsible for inspecting all 16-19 education and for the regulation of early years childcare, including childminders.  Ofsted inspectors produce education reports which are meant to improve standards of achievement and quality of education, provide public reporting and informed independent advice.

PANDA - Performance and Assessment Data from OfSTED Produced by the Office For Standards in Education (OFSTED) and issued annually to schools. The contents of each PANDA report are confidential between OFSTED, the school, and the Local Education Authority, although schools are free to disseminate the information as they see fit.  Provides comparative data for schools to use for self-assessment and target setting.

Performance Tables - The Department for Education and Skills publishes comparative secondary and 16-18 performance tables each year. The tables report achievements in public examinations and vocational qualifications in secondary schools and Further Education sector colleges. Primary school performance tables are published by local education authorities and report the achievements of pupils at the end of Key Stage 2.

PI - Performance Indicators

PPA - Planning, Preparation and Assessment time. Teachers spend 10% of their teaching time as PPA time.

PSHE - Personal, Social and Health Education

Pupils with statements of Special Education Needs (SEN) - These statements describe any learning difficulties which pupils have, and specify the extra help or equipment they need. Around 3% of school pupils nationally have statements. Some pupils with special educational needs are academically able. But schools face challenges in achieving Level 4 at Key Stage 2 for many pupils with SEN. The information on the numbers of pupils with SEN in each school helps you take this into account when looking at the school's results.

Pupils without Statements - These are other pupils registered as having special educational needs but whose schools meet the pupils' needs without statements.

QCA - Qualifications and Curriculum Authority -

SATs - Standard Assessment Tasks

School Profile - The school profile will be designed to give parents and students up to date and relevant information about a school.  Performance data will be coupled with information provided by the school on its priorities and performance and their vision / ethos.  It will be a short, accessible document.

SDP - School Development Plan - A projection of what a school hopes to achieve within a prescribed time limit.

SEN - Special Educational Needs. Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.Children have a learning difficulty if they:

a) have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age; or

(b) have a disability which prevents or hinders the child  from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the area of the local education authority

(c) are under compulsory school age and fall within the definition at (a) or (b) above or would so do if special educational provision was not made for them

Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught. 

Special educational provision means:

(a) for children of two or over, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children of their age in schools maintained by the LEA, other than special schools, in the area

(b) for children under two, educational provision of any kind

See Section 312, Education Act 1996 for further information.

SENCO - Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator - Teacher responsible for ensuring that children with learning difficulties and emotional/behavioural problems receive appropriate support, overseeing the completion of IEPs and liaising with external agencies.

Standards Fund - A collection of specific grants which enables schools and LEAs to achieve improvement in education standards set out in agreed targets, particularly for literacy, numeracy, social inclusion and GCSE. Standards Fund Website:

Statement - Pupils who are issued with a statement, have a serious SEN requirement and will receive extra  assistance with their learning.

Years 1 to 13 - Reception year = 4-5 year olds
Year 1 = 5-6 year olds
Year 2 = 6-7 year olds
Year 3 = 7-8 year-olds
Year 4 = 8-9 year-olds
Year 5 = 9-10 year-olds
Year 6 = 10-11-year-olds
Year 7 = 11-12 year-olds
Year 8 = 12-13-year-olds
Year 9 = 13-14 year-olds
Year 10 = 14-15 year-olds
Year 11 = 15-16 year olds
Year 12 = 16-17 year-olds
Year 13 = 17-18 year-olds


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