Jargon Buster

See also the A-Z of Abbreviations,  the article on “Terminology for Special Schools“, the DfE Glossary for Special Educational Needs, and for finance matters, the FMSiS Glossary of terms and abbreviations G6 (NB: FMSiS has been replaced by SFVS,  but the content of this document is still of use for the Finance Committee


Absence and Attendance Codes – A list of codes used by the Department for Education (DfE), which schools that are on the School Census are required to use when recording attendance and absence.

Academies – Publicly state funded schools independent from the LA  established under Section 482 of the Education Act 1996.

Achievement – NB Ofsted’s definition of achievement was revised in September 2009. Achievement now takes into account the standards of attainment reached by pupils and the progress they have made to reach those standards.  Attainment: this is the standard of academic attainment, typically shown by test and examination results. Progress: this is the extent to which pupils have progressed in their learning given their starting points and capabilities.

Achievement and attainment tables (now known again as performance tables) – The DfE publishes tables that provide a reliable and easily accessible source of comparative information. The tables report achievements for primary school pupils at the end of Key Stage 2. The secondary (Key Stage 4) tables report the GCSE (and equivalent) achievements of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4.  The post-16 tables report A/AS level (and equivalent) achievements at Level 3 for schools and colleges.

ADP – AcademyDevelopment Plan - The ADP is a set of actions which the academy plans to achieve in a specific time in order to continue to raise or maintain standards.

AfL – Assessment for Learning - AfL involves using assessment in the classroom to raise pupils’ achievement. It is basedon the principal that pupils will improve most if they understand what they are learning and why, how well they are doing and what they need to do next to improve.

APP – Assessing Pupil Progress.This is a nationally developed and standardised framework within which teachers can make judgements about the standard of childrens’ work and plan future learning activities.

Authorised absence – Where the absence of a pupil has been agreed by the person authorised on their behalf by the proprietor of the school. 


Behaviour support plan – A statement that sets out local arrangements for schools and other service providers for the education of children with behavioural difficulties. 


CAMHS - Children and Adolescents Mental Health Services.

Catchment area – A defined geographical area from which a school takes its pupils.

Children and Young People’s Plan – An overarching strategic plan for children’s services published by LAs under Section 17 of the Children Act 2004.

Community school – A state school in England and Wales that is wholly owned and maintained by the LA.

Community special school – A state school in England and Wales that is wholly owned and maintained by the LA providing for pupils with special educational needs (SEN).

Core subjects – English, mathematics and science are the subjects that must be studied by all pupils at every key stage. Progress in Key Stage 1 is assessed through statutory tests and tasks which are used to inform teacher assessment. Progress in Key Stage 2 is assessed through national curriculum tests and teacher assessment. Progress in Key Stage 3 is assessed through teacher assessment.

CPD (often called Inset) – Continual Professional Development – training for staff development 


Deletion from the school roll – When a pupil’s name is removed from the admissions register.

Department for Education (DfE) formerly Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) – The central government department with responsibility for education.

Disapplication – The term used where parts or all of the national curriculum requirements are lifted or modified in relation to a pupil in specified cases or circumstances.

DRA – Dining Room Assistant - Adults who supervise the children eating their lunch and playing during the lunchtime period. 


EAL- English as an additional language.

English Baccalaureate -  This is not a qualification but a measure of achieving five good GCSEs.

EP – Educational Psychologist – They will help to assesses children’s learning difficulties and give advice to the school.

EWO - Education Welfare Officers – Also known as education social workers or attendance advisers, these officers are employed by LAs to resolve problems of children and young people regularly missing school.

Exclusion – Banning a pupil officially from school by the headteacher, either temporarily or permanently, on disciplinary grounds.

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.

EYFS – Early Years Foundation Stage – The regulatory and quality framework for the provision of learning, development and care for children between birth and the academic year in which they turn five (0–5). 


Foundation school – A type of state school introduced by the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, which has more freedom than community schools in how it is managed and with its admissions procedures. At foundation schools, the governing body is the employer and the admission authority. The school’s land and buildings are owned by either the governing body or a charitable foundation. Funding comes from the LA, which also pays for any building work.

Foundation special school – A type of state school which has more freedom than community schools in how it is managed. It differs from a foundation school, in that it caters for children with special educational needs (SEN). At foundation special schools the governing body is the employer and admission to the school is through a statement, except in cases of emergency placements, which are described in Chapter 8 of the SEN Code of Practice. The school’s land and buildings are either owned by the governing body or by a charitable foundation. Funding comes from the LA which also pays for any building work.

Foundation Stage – The curriculum for children from 3 years old to the end of Upper Foundation (Reception).

Free School – A new state-funded school which is to be set up by (for example)  a charity, business, community, group of teachers or parents, and which has the same legal structure as an academy. 


Governor - Members of the academy's Governing Body. They have responsibility forraising school standards through their three key roles of setting strategic direction,ensuring accountability and monitoring & evaluating school performance.

Grant-maintained school – A primary or secondary school previously financed through the Funding Agency for Schools (FAS) after parents had voted to opt out of LA control.

G & T – Gifted and Talented – children who are working at a higher than expected academic level (more than 2 years) and children with specific talents. 


HLTA – Higher Level Teaching Assistant. - An HLTA is further qualified to support the class teacher in undertaking specific roles such as teaching the whole class during PPA time or delivering whole class areas of learning.

HMCI - Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector – Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is the head of Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills).

HMI - Her Majesty’s Inspectors – These are appointed by the Chief Inspector to support him or her in his or her statutory duties. 


IBP – Individual Behaviour plan. These are put in place to support children in improving their behaviour.

ICT-  information and communication technology.

IEP – Individual Education Plan - An IEP identifies the special educational needs of a child and outlines targets andstrategies to support their learning. These are completed by the teacher in consultation with the SENCo.

Inclusion statement – A statutory statement in the national curriculum to provide effective learning opportunities for all pupils through the school curriculum. Teachers can modify (as necessary) the national curriculum programmes of study to set suitable learning challenges, respond to pupils’ diverse learning needs, and address potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.

Independent school – Any school that provides full-time education for five or more pupils of compulsory school age, which is not maintained by an LA and is not a non-maintained special school. As these are schools that are not funded by the state, they obtain most of their finances from fees paid by parents and income from investments. Some of the larger independent schools are known as public schools, while most boarding schools are independent. Further information is available from the Independent Schools Council information Service (ISCiS).

Inset days - training days for staff in the school or academy.

In-service Education and Training (INSET) – The professional training and development of teachers working in schools, generally taken as short courses or day conferences. 


Key stages – The four stages of pupils’ progress in acquiring knowledge and skills as set out in the national curriculum. Key Stage 1, where the majority of pupils are aged 5 to 7; Key Stage 2, where the majority of pupils are aged 7 to 11; Key Stage 3, where the majority of children are aged 11 to 14; and Key Stage 4, where the majority of pupils are aged 14 to 16. 


LA – Local Authority (formerly Local Education Authority).

LAC Looked-after child – A child who, as defined in Section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989, is cared for by the LA or is provided with accommodation by an LA for more than 24 hours under a voluntary agreement with his or her parents, or who is the subject of a care order. 


Maintained school – A school for which an LA has financial and administrative responsibility.

Maintained special school – A special school that caters wholly or mainly for children with statutory statements of SEN, for which an LA has financial and administrative responsibility.

MFL – Modern Foreign Languages- Modern foreign language which is taught as part of the primary curriculum. 


National curriculum – The national curriculum provides a broad and balanced education for all children, covering 12 subjects overall, and is divided into four key stages according to age. It includes statutory assessments, consisting of tests and teacher assessments, at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2 and teacher assessments at the end of Key Stage 3.

National curriculum tests (commonly referred to as SATs) – Statutory national tasks or tests set by the National Assessment Agency (NAA) and taken by pupils at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2.

Non-teaching staff – Members of school staff employed by the governors to provide services in a school other than teaching, such as classroom assistants, cleaners and school secretaries.

NQT – A newly qualified teacher. 


Ofqual – Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator, the organisation responsible for regulating qualifications, examinations and national curriculum tests in England.

Ofsted – Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. It brings together the regulation and inspection of day care and children’s social care and the inspection of LA children’s services, schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning, adult education and more. 


Parent – Any person having parental responsibility for a child or who has care of a child, including an LA. Therefore, depending on the circumstances, a “parent” may include not only the child’s natural parents but also others such as step-parents, relatives, co-habitees of either natural parent and foster parents.

Parent governor – A parent elected by other parents of children at a school to serve on the governing body.

Peripatetic teacher – One who gives specialist instruction in a number of schools, for example, in music.

Personal Education Plan (PEP) – A record of what needs to happen so that looked-after children can fulfil their potential, reflecting any existing educational plans. The PEP should reflect the importance of a personalised approach to learning which secures good basic skills, stretches aspirations and builds life chances.

POS – Programmes of Study – The curriculum the children are covering in different subjects.

PPA – Planning, Preparation and Assessment.Teachers are entitled to ten per-cent of their weekly teaching time out of the classroom.During this time, teachers plan future lessons, mark children’s work, undertake smallassessment tasks or work alongside a colleague to target a specific area of learning.

Protection of Children Act List – A list maintained by the Department for Children, Schools and Families of those people who are barred from working with children across the children’s workforce.

Pupil referral unit (PRU) – An establishment maintained by an LA which is specially organised to provide education for children who are excluded, sick or otherwise able to attend mainstream school, and is not a community or special school.

Pupils on roll – Pupils registered at a school. 


Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA– Maintains and develops the national curriculum and associated assessments, tests and examinations.

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) – The professional status required to teach in state-maintained schools in England and Wales. QTS is normally awarded after successful completion of an Initial Teacher Training course.

Quorum – The number of governors who must be present to validate the proceedings of a governors’ meeting. 


RAISEonline - Reporting and Analysis for Improvement through School Self-Evaluation.- This web-based system is an interactive tool produced by Ofsted and the Department for Education. It provides comparison information to schools and academies to support their self-evaluation. 


SATs – Standard Assessment Tasks (also referred to as National Tests) Children are tested in Maths and English at the end of Key Stages One and Two and are awarded a level which indicates their ability, compared to the national average.

School curriculum – All learning and other experiences that schools provide for pupils. For maintained schools this must include the national curriculum, religious education, collective worship, sex and relationship education and careers education.

SEF- Self Evaluation Forms –The academy’s evaluation of strengths, areas for development and overall effectiveness.

SEN – Special Educational Needs. Provision to support pupils who experience difficulties with their learning. In the majorityof instances, these are undertaken in school under the guidance of the SENCo (SpecialEducational Needs Coordinator). Outside agencies may become involved if the school and/or parents feel will be of benefit to the child.

SENCO – Special Educational Needs co-ordinator

SNSS – Special Needs Support Service.They will help to assesses children’s learning difficulties and give advice to the school.

SLT – Senior Leadership Team, This consists of the Principal, Deputy Principal, and other senior members of staff.

Special measures – A school that requires special measures is one that is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and whose leadership, management or governance does not demonstrate the capacity to secure the necessary improvement. Schools will receive termly monitoring visits commencing about five to six months after the date of inspection.

Staff governors – The headteacher and/or people working at the school who are elected as a governor by people who are paid to work at the school.

Statement of special educational needs – A written statement of a child’s special educational needs and all the extra help that he or she should receive. The arrangements are made by the LA.

Supply Teacher - Staff who provide cover for teachers to attend courses or in the case of illness. Where possible, the school will try to use regular supply teachers who are familiar with the children and school routines.

Suspension – A process where a member of staff is told to stop working at the school temporarily, usually while a problem involving him or her is being investigated. 


TA – Teaching Assistant. A trained member of staff who supports the class teacher in delivering daily lessons to the whole class, small groups or individuals. TAs may also deliver specific programmes of support.

Trust – A charitable organisation that supports one or more schools by holding land on trust and appointing governors. It must be an incorporated organisation, either a charitable company or a body incorporated by Royal Charter. 


Unauthorised absence – This occurs when the school has not given permission for the absence of a pupil. Where the reason for it cannot be established at registration, the absence shall be recorded as unauthorised. Any subsequent correction to the register recording absence as authorized shall be made in such a manner that the original entry and the correction are both clearly distinguishable. 


VA- Value Added. If the results of assessments show that children have achieved better than the prior attainment indicates children nationally achieve on average, then the school has added value.

Voluntary aided school – A school set up and owned by a voluntary body, usually a church body, largely financed by an LA. The governing body employs the staff and controls pupil admissions and religious education. The school’s land and buildings (apart from playing fields, which are normally vested in the LA) will normally be owned by a charitable foundation.

Voluntary controlled school – A school set up by a voluntary body, often a church body (generally Church of England). These schools are totally funded by an LA, which employs the staff. Normally the school’s land and buildings (apart from the playing fields, which are normally vested in the LA) will be owned by a charitable foundation.