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Academies are independent state-funded schools. These schools have more freedom over their finances, the curriculum they teach and teachers' pay and conditions. These schools are funded directly by central government rather than by the local authority. Some academies are sponsored and these sponsors can come from a range of backgrounds (businesses, other successful schools, universities, charities and faith bodies). Sponsors are held accountable for improving the performance of their schools. You can complete your induction year in an academy. Find out more on the DfE's Academies pages


Attention Deficit Disorder A condition whereby a child has a short concentration span and is unable to stay on task. See ADHD.


A condition whereby a child has difficullty in maintaining concentration and is unable to stay on task due to hyperactivity. See ADD. More information from the Mental Health Foundation.

Admission authority

The official body responsible for rules offering school places, it also decides which children will be offered a place. For most schools, this is the governing body, but for community and voluntary controlled schools this is the local authority. Read Directgov's information on school admissions

Admission criteria

These are rules agreed by the admission authority to decide who will get school places. Criteria are usually used where there are more applicants than places available. See Directgov's information on school admissions

Advanced Skills Teacher (AST)

An AST is a teacher who has passed a national assessment and been appointed to an AST post. ASTs concentrate on sharing their skills, through outreach work, with teachers in their own and other schools.

A-level points

Exam grades expressed as numbers to establish whether or not the requirements for a university place have been met. An A scores 120 points, B 100, C 80, D 60 and E 40. Use the UCAS points calculator.

A-levels & AS levels

Advanced Level qualifications - A-levels are made up of the AS level and the A2. Each part makes up 50 per cent of the overall A-level grade. The AS level can either be a free standing qualification or can be valued as the first half of the full A-level. In year two of a full A-level you take the A2 - this is not a separate qualification but the second half of the A-level. The A2 is designed to deepen the knowledge gained during the AS level. Read more on the Directgov site


The Association of Colleges. Represents and promotes the interests of colleges and provides members with professional support services.


Adults Other Than Teachers - ie people who do not hold a recognised teaching qualification but operate in schools with the permission of the headteacher usually for PE tasks.


Auditory Processing Disorder. A condition which impairs the way auditory information is processed by the brain. APD can exist in those with perfect hearing or with hearing loss and can co-exist with any other disability, condition or learning difficulty. It is not curable but can be helped by development of individual coping strategies. Find out more on the APDUK website


Assessing Pupils' Progress. APP is a structured approach to periodically assessing maths, science, reading, writing and speaking and listening skills. The government has decided that as part of its drive to reduce bureaucracy in schools that APP will continue as a voluntary approach to pupil tracking; it is for the school to decide if they want to use it or not.


Assessment and Qualifications Alliance. One of the English exam boards.


Association for Science Education. A professional association for teachers, technicians and other professionals supporting science education. ASE is the largest subject association in the UK.

Asperger syndrome

Asperger syndrome is an autistic spectrum disorder. The National Autistic Society says: "People with Asperger syndrome find it more difficult to read the signals that most of us take for granted. As a result they find it more difficult to communicate and relate to others."

Assessment for Learning

Perhaps the simplest definition of this was given by Black and William in 1998: Assessment for learning can be defined as "all those activities undertaken by teachers and/or by their students, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged". From September 2009, all UK schools were expected to implement an assessment for learning programme. Day-to-day assessments would include effective questioning; observations of children during teaching and while they are working; holding discussions with children; analysing work and reporting to children; conducting tests and giving quick feedback. Read more on AFL in the TES


Daily act of collective worship. All schools are supposed to do this. In practice, many secondary schools don't or can't. By law, it is meant to be of a broadly Christian nature. Get assembly ideas from TES Resources.


Attainment Target sets out expected standards of pupils' performance at the end of each key stage.


Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Trade union and professional association.


Autism is defined by the National Autistic Society as: “A lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to others in a meaningful way… people with autism can often have accompanying learning disabilities but everyone with the condition shares a difficulty in making sense of the world.” It mentions problems with social interaction, social communication and imagination.

Autistic spectrum

An autistic spectrum disorder is a complex lifelong developmental disability which affects the way a person communicates and relates to those around them.


Age-Weighted Pupil Unit. The sum of money allocated to the school for each pupil according to age. This is the basic unit of funding for the school.


Behaviour Support Plan

A written plan detailing support arrangements for the education of children with behavioural difficulties.


British Education and Teaching Technology. Almost never spelt out but simply referred to as 'the BETT show'. An annual show of ICT hardware and software for schools, usually held in January in London (Olympia). Alongside are seminars and presentations.


British Sign Language. Is a language mainly used by deaf people. It uses handshapes, facial expressions, lip patterns and upper body and head movements.


Catchment Area

An area served by a school covering a number of roads or parts of roads. All houses in a borough and some outside the borough are in the catchment area of a school. However catchment areas can be changed if the number of pupils transferring to secondary school exceeds the limit of the local school. Living in a catchment area gives you higher priority for admission to the school but does not guarantee entry.


Creative Development/Knowledge and Understanding of the World.


Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance.

Challenging behaviour

Non-judgemental term which covers range of behaviour from severe mental or emotional problems through adolescent angst to naughtiness. Challenging Behaviour Foundation website.

Chartered Teachers

The Chartered Teacher programme was created for teachers in Scotland who want to develop their teaching skills but stay in the classroom - rather than work towards a management role.

Church school

Originally run by the church, their running costs are now met by local councils. Children of churchgoers may be given preference for places.

Circle time

Primary children sitting in a circle to discuss personal matters such as bullying and emotions. There are strict rules about how children may behave and the confidentiality of what is said. Helps develop children's listening skills. Download free circle time resources from TES

Cognitive Ability Tests

A set of tests for children between 7 and 15-years old. The tests include verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.

Common entrance

Entrance exam for many independent senior schools, which can be sat at 11, 12 or 13. The papers are set centrally, but marking is done by the school which the child is applying to attend. The papers for 11 and 12-year-olds are designed to be taken by state or prep school pupils. The 13-plus paper, intended for prep school pupils, includes compulsory English, maths, science, French, history, geography and RE. There are also four optional foreign language papers, although some schools require Latin.

Community school

Local authority-run county school, this is the standard type of maintained school. Also a type of school which opens its facilities to local people outside lesson times.

Comprehensive school

In its purest form, a secondary school which takes all children living locally regardless of talent or ability and educates them together. In practice, school intakes vary according to their popularity and parental popularity as well as location.

Contact time

The hours teachers actually spend with pupils. Staffrooms are full of complaints about the lack of non-contact time to prepare and mark work.

Contextual Value Added

Factors that relate to pupil progress - eg SEN, deprivation, etc.

Core subjects

Compulsory subject under the national curriculum in England and Wales. The core subjects are currently under review but at the moment children in state schools from ages 11-14 study; English, maths, science, D&T, ICT, history, geography, MFL, art and design, music, citizenship and PE. At KS4 the core subjects are maths, English and science. For more details on the compulsory subjects for each key stage visit the school curriculum page of the DfE site

Cover Supervisors

Suitably trained support staff who supervise pupils carrying out pre-prepared exercises when teaching staff are on short-term absence.


Child Poverty Action Group. Campaigning organisation.


Continuing professional development. CPD includes any activity that increases teachers' knowledge or understanding, and their effectiveness in schools. It can help raise teaching and learning standards and improve job satisfaction. CPD is for all teachers, at any stage of their career.


Common Pay Scale. Starting point for teachers' salary scales. Note academies and free schools can set their own pay scales.


Criminal Records Bureau. Set up in 2002 under the Police Act 1997 to check teachers and others working with children. All teachers working in school in England and Wales must obtain a CRB certificate.

Creative Curriculum

Creative Curriculum. A thematic approach to teaching and learning designed to support children's natural curiosity and stimulate their creativity. It offers children the opportunity to work in depth, giving them the time they need to reflect, consolidate and transfer their learning.


Daily act of collective worship

Assembly. All schools are supposed to do this. In practice, many secondary schools don't or can't. By law, it is meant to be of a broadly Christian nature. Get assembly ideas from TES Resources.


Deficits in attention, motor control and perception. Another name for dyspraxia or clumsy child syndrome.


Department of Education in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland equivalent of the DfE.


The Department for Education is responsible for education and children's services in England


Differentiation is the term used to describe the way in which teaching methods and the curriculum are adapted to meet the individual learning needs of learners. Although the term differentiation is most frequently found in the context of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, differentiation applies to all teaching contexts where learners have different needs and abilities.


The Diploma is a qualification for 14-19 year-olds that combines academic and vocational learning. The Diploma has been developed with employers, universities, schools and colleges and is made up of sector-related learning, functional skills in maths, English and ICT and work experience.


Dyscalculia affects the abilty to acquire arithmetical skills. Sufferers may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts and often have problems learning number facts and procedures.


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


Dyspraxia is generally recognised as an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement. Associated with this may be problems of language, perception and thought.



English as an Additional Language. Refers to children whose first language(s) is/are not English and who may not yet be speaking English fluently or even at all. Find EAL resources for free download on TES


A new slimmed down Early Years Foundation Stage framework for children aged 0-5 years old was introduced in September 2012. The revised curriculum reduces the number of early years goals from 69 to 17. It also provides earlier intervention for children who need extra help with a progress check at age two. Read the new framework on the DfE website


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


Every Child Matters. This policy was introduced by the labour government in 2003 and outlined an approach to the wellbeing of children and young people from birth to age 19. The aim is for every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing. However the coalition government has shown every indication that they plan to dismantle this programme, with Gove calling the Every Child Matters agenda 'meddlesome'. Read more in this TES article


One of the UK's largest awarding body offering academic and vocational qualifications and testing to schools, colleges, employers and other places of learning.

Early Learning Goals

Early Learning Goals. These 17 early learning goals outline the expectations for children to reach by end of Foundation Stage. They provide the basis for planning throughout the EYFS. Read this article on the changes to the Early Learning Goals

English Baccalaureate

The English Baccalaureate is a performance measure introduced in the 2010 performance tables. It recognises the success of pupils who get GCSEs or IGCSEs at grades A*-C across a core of academic subjects - English , maths, history or geography, the sciences and a language.


Equal opportunities policy


Education Other Than At School eg home education


English for Speakers of Other Languages or English as a Second or Other Language. If English isn't your main language you can do a course to help you improve your English. These courses are called ESOL.


Education Welfare Officer. These people work with schools, pupils and families to find solutions to poor school attendance. They are also known as education social workers.

Excellent Teacher Scheme

The Excellent Teacher Scheme was launched in 2004 and offers teachers who do not want to take up the AST career option the opportunity to gain further recognition for their teaching skills once they have reached the top of the upper pay spine, without the need to move into a management role.

Exclusion, Permanent

Being expelled, usually for bad behaviour.

Exclusion, Temporary

Suspension for up to 45 days a year.

Extended School

Schools offering services such as breakfast clubs or after school clubs or other services to help meet the needs of local families.


Failing School

One ruled by an Ofsted inspection team to be failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education.

Faith Schools

Schools which are mainly run in the same way as other state schools, however their faith status may be reflected in their religious education curriculum, admissions criteria and staffing policies. Read more on the DfE site

Federation Schools

A hard federation is an arrangement under sections 24, 25 of the Education Act 2002 by which two of more schools share a single governing body. Federations can involve a mix of primary and secondary schools. Within the federation each school retains its separate legal identity in respect of its budget, admissions and performance tables, and each is subject to a separate inspection by Ofsted.

Feeder Schools

Some admission authorities give priority to children from certain primary schools


The Fischer Family Trust is an educational charity. It's perhaps best known for providing analyses and data which help LEAs and schools use pupil performance data more effectively.

Foundation Learning

National suite of learning for 14 to 19 year old learners working predominantly at entry level or level 1. In practice many providers see Foundation Learning as sitting alongside GCSEs, Foundation Diplomas and components of Higher Diplomas. Young people on Foundation Learning follow personalised programmes tailored to their needs, interests and career aspirations.

Foundation School

Generally, former grant-maintained schools. They retain powers over admissions, hiring and firing staff and own the land and buildings. Funding, however, comes from the local education authority which also pays for any building work.

Foundation Stage

Foundation Stage covers education provided from 3-years-old through to the end of Reception Year.

Free schools

Free schools are independent state-funded schools which can be run by parents, teachers or other organizations or groups of people. These schools would also have the flexibility to teach a different curriculum and to implement their own teacher pay and conditions.


Free school meals


Full-Time Equivalent. This takes account of part-time students' attendance - a full-time student will count as 1.0 FTE.

Functional Skills

Functional Skills are qualifications designed to help learners aged 14 and above build practical skills for work, education and everyday life. The skills cover English, maths and ICT.



General Certificate of Education. Academic examination of basic secondary education generally taken by 14-16 year olds but are available to anyone who would like to study a subject that interests them. GCSEs are available in a wide range of academic and work-related subjects. The government is currently in the process of revamping the GCSEs.

Gifted and Talented

The gifted are those with high ability in one or more academic subject and the talented are those with a high ability in sport, music, visual arts and/or performing arts. Schools are encouraged to identify the top 5-10 per cent of each year group as gifted or talented, regardless of the general level of ability within the school.

Golden Hellos

The golden hello is a one-off taxable bonus to encourage graduates to enter the teaching profession and teach priority secondary subjects in maintained schools. There are two golden hello rates - £2,500 and £5,000. However the DfE has closed the Golden Hello scheme for all trainees starting their initial teacher training in the academic year 2011/12 and beyond. Trainees who started their postgraduate ITT course before 1 August 2011 will continue to be able to make their application for the scheme under the current terms and conditions. Find out more about the application criteria. There are other teacher training bursaries which you could be eligible for.

Graduate Teacher Programme

The GTP is an employment based training programme where schools can benefit from grant payments to cover the salary costs of their trainees. Schools can take on additional unqualified teachers and train them on the job. However the government has closed the GTP and will replace it from September 2012 with a school-led training programme called School Direct [see School Direct for more information].

Grammar Schools

Maintained schools which select or all or most of their pupils by academic ability.


The General Teaching Council for Scotland is the professional body for the teaching profession in Scotland.



Hearing Impaired

High School

A school for pupils aged from approximately 12 years.


Higher Level Teaching Assistant. The HLTA role was introduced in 2003 to raise standards and tackle workload in the classroom. HLTA status is awarded to support staff who meet the national HLTA standards. An HLTA does all the things a regular teaching assistant does but they have a greater level of responsibility. For example, HLTAs teach classes on their own, cover planned absences and allow teachers time to plan and mark. Read more on the HLTA role


Her Majesty's Chief Inspector is statutorily responsible for Ofsted's inspection and regulatory work. Currently it is Sir Michael Wilshaw.


Her Majesty's Inspectorate. Permanent inspection staff of Ofsted.


Head of Department

Home School Agreement

Home School Agreement Contract given to pupils and parents, outlining the aims and values of a school.


Head of Year.



Integrated Assessment Framework. Part of the Scottish Getting it right for every child agenda. These will be applicable to all children and young people and will be used to assess children where multi-agency approach is need in health, education and social work.


Information, Advice and Guidance (see CEIAG).


Indicated Admission Number – a mathematical calculation based on the net capacity of the school. It is the overall number divided by the number of teaching year groups to give a school an indication when setting the Published Admission Number (see also PAN).


Independent Association of Prep Schools. The professional association for heads and deputy heads of the leading independent prep schools in the UK and worldwide.


Information and Communication Technology - Computer technology.


Individual Education Plan Identifies the special educational needs of a child and outlines targets and strategies to support their learning. Usually completed by teacher in consultation with SEN co-ordinator.


Institute for Learning. Professional body for FE teachers and trainers


The International Certificate of Secondary Education is an internationally recognised qualification for students typically aged 14-16.

ILA or W

Inner London Allowance or Weighting. Because London is an expensive place in which to live teachers are given additional money depending on whether you work in central or outer London. Salary checker


Intended Learning Outcomes. These describe what the students should be able to do or demonstrate, in terms of particular knowledge, skills and attitudes, by the end of a lesson.


Individualised Learner Record. A collection of data about learners and their learning that is requested from learning providers in the Further Education system by the information authority. The details include personal data and the qualifications being studied.


Information Learning Technology


Inclusion recognises the importance of catering for diverse needs. Inclusive principles highlight the importance of meeting children's individual needs.

Independent Learning

Learning that enables pupils to think for themselves and to plan and manage their own learning, ie where a learner acquires knowledge by his or her own efforts and develops the ability for enquiry and critical evaluation.

Independent School

A school that is independent in its finances and governance – ie it is not dependent on national or local government for financing its operations and is instead funded by a combination of tuition charges, gifts and in some cases the investment yield of an endowment.

Induction year

The first year on the job for newly-qualified teachers, this is intended to be a continuation of training. A three term period of assessment usually completed in a single school year, providing NQTs with the tools they need to be successful teachers. NQTs can only begin induction when they have gained qualified teacher status (QTS).


In-service education and training. Training for teachers which takes place during the school year


Educating children with special educational needs together with children without special educational needs in mainstream schools. See inclusion which encompasses broader principles.

International Baccalaureate

The IB originated back in 1924, when civil servants who were working for the League of Nations opened the International school of Geneva. They proposed a curriculum intended to promote critical thinking and exposure to a variety of points of view. Nowadays the IB is a sixth-form course that students can opt to take instead of A-levels. They have to study six subjects, three at standard level and three at advanced level. All students must study English, maths and a foreign language alongside three subjects of their own choosing.


Independent Schools Council. Represents UK's accredited independent schools.


Individual School Range of pay scales. The range is set by the governing body. Used in relation to pay scales and it's the head teachers' pay range.


The Independent Schools Teacher Induction panel is the statutory body for induction for independent schools.


Initial Teacher Training. Most people need to take an ITT course in order to gain qualified teacher status (QTS). For more information visit the Teaching Agency pages on the DfE website.


Junior School

For 7-11 year olds.


Key Stages

The National Curriculum is organized into blocks of years called key stages. There are four key stages as well as an Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

key stage 1 = infants –5 -7 years old

key stage 2 = juniors – 7 – 11 years old

key stage 3 = lower secondary school – 11 – 14 years old

key stage 4 = GCSE – 14 – 16 years old



Looked After Children - children who are in care or looked after by foster parents

Lay Inspector

Every school inspection team must have one. Lay inspectors must have no paid experience of teaching or managing a school, but are fully trained to take part in inspections.


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


Learning difficulties and disabilities


Local Education Authority was the part of the local council that was responsible for education. The phrase is now obsolete in official use and has been replaced by the Children Services Authority or commonly known as local authority


Also known as Learning Support Practitioner or teaching assistant. Widely used job title for an assistant providing in-school support for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

List 99

List 99 - list of teachers whose employment is barred or restricted on either misconduct or medical grounds. The list is held by local authorities, FE corporations and associations representing independent schools.

Local authority

Local government with responsibilty for education (formerly known as local education authority).


Maintained schools

A publicly-funded school usually includes community schools, foundation schools, voluntary aided and controlled schools.

Masters in Teaching and Learning

A professional qualification for teachers which aims to further improve teacher quality. There is no longer central Government funding for this postgraduate programme.


Modern Foreign Languages.

Middle School

State schools taking pupils aged 8-12 or 9-13.


Moderate Learning Difficulties - A pupil with MLD will receive extra assistance under SEN provision. Pupils with MLD will have attainments well below expected levels in all or most areas of the curriculum. Their needs will not be able to be met by normal differentiation and the flexibilities of the National Curriculum.


Main Professional Grade – salary level for teachers.



National Association for Gifted Children - Advice and support for gifted children.


National Association of Head Teachers - Professional association for school leaders.


National Association for Primary Education - Campaigning organisation.


National Association for Special Educational Needs - The leading organisation in the UK working in special educational needs.


National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers. Professional association for any teacher.


National Association of Social Workers in Education.


National Association for the Teaching of English. Professional subject association for anyone working within English education.

National Curriculum

Originally intended by Margaret Thatcher to ensure every child was taught the basics, with regular national tests to monitor progress. Grew into ten-subject curriculum and complicated testing regime. Now, the national curriculum outlines what children should be taught from their first days in school to the onset of GCSE courses.


National Association of Teachers of Travellers. Run by teachers working with Travelling Children.


National Children's Bureau. Campaigns for children's rights.


The National College for School Leadership is designed to support and train school leaders.


National Curriculum Tests, previously known and still mainly referred to as Sats (Standard Assessment Tests), these are tests taken by children at the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 to test pupils' ability in maths and English.


National Foundation for Educational Research Provides research-based information on education and training.


National Literacy Trust. Promotes literacy initiatives, including the National Reading Campaign.


Number on Roll. The number of pupils registered at named school.


National Professional Qualification for Headship. The mandatory qualification for headship. For details on what's involved check out the National College for Leadership of Schools website.


Newly Qualified Teacher. A teacher in their first year of qualified teaching.


National Union of Teachers – the largest teachers' union.


National Vocational Qualification. A competence based qualification; which means students learn practical, work-related tasks designed to help them develop the skills and knowledge to do a job effectively.



Oxford Cambridge and RSA. Examining body incorporating previous Oxford Cambridge and RSA qualifications.


Ofqual regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. Ofqual also regulates Sats, GCSEs, A-levels, the Diploma and NVQs.


The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills is an independent organisation which reports directly to Parliament. Ofsted inspects and regulates services which care for children and young people and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages. Ofsted sets out to raise standards in British schools through regular inspections. Ofsted also regulates childminders, adoption and fostering agencies, pupil referral units, further education, initial teacher training and learning in prisons.


Overseas Trained Teachers. Find more details on the Overseas Trained Teacher Programme which outlines what you need to do to be able to teach in England.

Oversubscriptions Criteria

Rules applied by admission authorities when there are more applications than places for schools.


P Scales

Performance Scales (or levels) are a set of descriptions for recording the achievement of pupils with special educational needs who are working towards the first level of the National Curriculum. The scales are designed for pupils who are well below the level of their peers. The P scales are split into eight different levels with P1 being the lowest and P8 the highest. P1 to P3 are not subject specific as they describe early learning and conceptual development.


Planned Admissions Number. The number of children the LEA (or governing body of an Aided School) determines can be admitted to the school. Parents decide whether to appeal to any school to which they have applied and not been offered a place.

Pastoral Support

Pastoral Support Programme - a school-based intervention to help individual pupils manage their behaviour. It's particularly necessary for those whose behaviour is deteriorating rapidly and who are in danger of permanent exclusion. The PSP should identify precise and realistic targets for the pupil to work towards. A nominated member of staff will oversee the PSP.


Physical Education. Taught as part of National Curriculum - includes competitive games.


The art of teaching.

Performance Tables

Performance Tables are published annually and list the results of a school or college's performance based on national tests.

Personalised Learning

The official definition of personalised learning is "putting the learner at the heart of the education system." The major components of personalised learning include: paying attention to every child's individual learning styles, motivations and needs; a rigorous use of pupil target setting linked to high quality assessment; well-paced and enjoyable lessons; and pupils are supported by partnership with others well beyond the classroom."


Phonics is a system of breaking down words into smaller components of sounds. Synthetic phonics involves breaking words down, then teaching children to blend these sounds together to form words. Sometimes referred to as "all-through-the-letter" teaching. "Street" for example, is broken down into five components: "s-t-r-e-e-t." Analytic phonics also involves breaking down words, but not necessarily into the smallest units. "Street" is broken down into "str-eet." Children are typically taught one letter sound a week and shown a series of alliterative pictures and words starting with that sound, such as mat, man and make.

Phonics Screening Check

Introduced in June 2012 the check will allow teachers to know which of their pupils have met the expected standard in phonics.


A part of a lesson where the teacher reviews what's been learnt, usually through questioning the pupils. Download free plenaries from TES Resources.


Primary Link Teacher. A teacher who acts as a liaison between primary and secondary schools


Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties Likely to require total care from others and attendance will be at a special school. See SEN. PMLD Network


Programme of Study Sets out what should be taught in each subject at each key stage.


Planning, Preparation and Assessment time. From 1 September 2005 a minimum of 10 per cent of all teachers time will be allocated to planning, preparation and assessment.

Preparatory School

Independent schools for young children usually aged between five and 11 and 13 dedicated to preparing students for entry to independent, fee-paying secondary schools.

Professional Skills Tests

These are the tests that initial teacher training candidates need to pass before they can be recommended for qualified teacher status. Applicants starting ITT course from September 2013 need to pass the tests before starting their course.


Personal, Social and Health and Economic Education. There is currently a review of PSHE education


Pupil Teacher Ratio


Pupil Referral Unit - established and maintained by an LA to provide education for pupils who would not otherwise receive suitable education because of exclusion or other reasons.


Primary years programme…as in the International Baccalaureate's primary years programme. This is based on a pupil profile of characteristics that schools wish to develop in children. It aims to make them enquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk-takers, knowledgeable about themes of global importance, principled, caring, open-minded, well-balanced and reflective. Find out more at

Pupil Premium

Additional funding allocated to schools per free school meals pupil. Schools are able to decide how the Pupil Premium is spent. Read more in this article from the TES.



Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills is a teacher qualification in the learning and skills sector. It is equivalent to QTS.


A newly qualified teacher has Qualified Teacher Status. This is the accreditation that allows you to teach in state-maintained and special schools in England and Wales. To achieve QTS you have to completed a period of Initial Teacher Training (ITT).



Reporting and Analysis for Improvement through School self-Evaluation. Provides interactive analysis of school and pupil performance data. It replaces th Ofsted Performance and Assessment (PANDA) and DCSF's Pupil Achievement Tracker (PAT).

Rarely cover

The National Agreement on Raising Standards and Tackling Workload signed in January 2003 agreed that schools should create time for teachers to focus more on their teaching. One of the objectives was that teachers should only rarely cover.

Reception class

First class in a primary school or Year 1 for children aged between 4 and 5.


The number of pupils at the school.



Standard Attainment Tests (previously Standard Assessment Tasks) are now known as National Curriculum Tests. During Key Stages 1-3 progress in most National Curriculum subjects is assessed against eight levels. At KS1 the level will be based on teachers' assessment. At KS2 the level will reflect the teacher's assessment and the national test results. The KS2 tests cover English, maths and science. At KS3 the level will be based on the teacher's assessment.


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


Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning.

Secondary Transfer

The move from primary to secondary school.


Self-Evaluation Form. The online self-evaluation form introduced alongside the Framework or the Inspection of schools helps schools to evaluate their own performance. The SEF is used by inspectors before the inspection to help identify where they might need to focus their efforts.


Special Educational Needs. Provision to support pupils with learning disabilities - may be provided through mainstream or more specialised education.


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.

School Direct

School Direct replaces the Graduate Teacher Programme and allows schools to train graduates as teachers in the subjects and phases they need and in the way they want them trained. Schools will also be able to choose which accredited provider - such as universities or Teaching School Partnerships - they want to work with. In return for this additional control the schools will be expected to find a job for the trainee once they finish training.

Sixth form

Used to describe the final two years spent in secondary school. Students usually take A-levels, but increasingly are also being offered more vocational qualifications such as GNVQs. There are also sixth form colleges, not tied to schools, which are much larger and offer a wider range of courses.


Severe Learning Difficulties. Pupils with SLD will receive extra support under SEN provision, often attending a special school. See SEN.

Skills funding agency

Set up in 2010 to fund and regulate further education and skills training in England


This cryptic acronym stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development in schools. Try the SMSC Online site for lesson advice and ideas.


Senior Management Team. This consists of Headteacher, Deputy Head and possibly other senior teachers.


Standard National Scale. Payscale for classroom teachers.

Special Measures

According to the Schools Inspections Act of 1996 a school requiring special measures is one that's "failing or likely to fail to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education".

Special school

Provides education for children whose needs cannot be met in an ordinary school.


Science, technology, engineering and maths.


School Sport Co-ordinators- responsible for implementing School Sport Partnership plans for the feeder primary schools in their cluster. They support colleagues in the delivery of high quality PE and school sport and have a remit to increase sporting opportunities for pupils out of school hours.


Pupils who are issued with a statement, have a serious SEN requirement and will receive extra assistance with their learning The statement sets out the child's needs and the help they should have. It is reviewed annually. See SEN.


School Teachers' Review Body, established under the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1991 to report to the Government on the statutory pay and conditions of school teachers in England and Wales.

Subject Associations

Subject Associations are normally membership groups whose mission it is to further the teaching and learning of a specific subject in schools, colleges and universities. For more information visit the Council for Subject Associations website

Supply teacher

Staff who provide cover for absent teachers.



Teaching Assistants. The role of a teaching assistant is varied but will include some or all of the following: working with one-to-one or with small groups of pupils; supporting pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities; preparing the classroom for lessons; tidying and keeping the classroom in order; creating displays and helping on school outings or events. Read more in our guide to becoming a teaching assistant

Teaching Agency

The Teaching Agency has the responsibility to ensure the supply of high-quality teachers and training and for teacher regulation.

Teaching Schools

Teaching Schools are a national network of schools which will play a leading role in the training and development of teachers from initial teacher training through to headship.


Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The sort of teaching of English that happens in language schools. You can train to teach TEFL without being a trained 'teacher'. TEFL is not a qualification for teaching in mainstream schools.

Teach First

A charity which places and supports exceptional graduates teaching in challenging schools.

Three Rs

Jargon which means Reading, 'Riting and 'Rithmetic. Schools and government ministers prefer literacy and numeracy.


Performance Threshold. Crossing the threshold gives teachers access to the pay scale for post-threshold teachers (this is often called the upper pay scale). Individual applications are judged against a set of national performance standards set down by the DfE.


Teaching and Learning Responsibilities. Classroom teachers who take on extra responsibility could be awarded a Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) payment. To get a TLR2 payment teachers have to show they have a specific responsibility which focuses on teaching and learning and needs professional skills and judgement. This responsibility must be one that exceeds that of the standard classroom teacher and it should be clearly defined in your job description. In order to qualify for a TLR1 payment you must meet all the criteria for TLR2 and be a line manager for a significant number of people. They will be allocated for 'significant additional teaching and learning responsibilities, which are beyond a teacher's own assigned pupils, are crucial to the effective leadership and management of teaching and learning and are a substantial part of the school's staffing structure.'


Teachers' Pension Scheme. The scheme has been recently reformed by the Coalition Government. Read the details of the teachers' pension reform

Trust Schools

Trust schools are state-funded foundation schools which receive extra support from a charitable trust made up of partners working together for the benefit of the school. Trust schools hold the school's assets on trust for the school. To acquire trust status: Existing foundation schools can set up a charitable trust Community schools can take on foundation status and set up a trust within a single process. Trust schools remain local authority maintained schools.



Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru (National Association of the Teachers of Wales) Trade union and professional association.


UCAS is the organisation that handles university applications

Universities and college union

Trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK.


University Technical Colleges are academies for 14-19 year olds which focus on providing technical vocational education. They offer technical courses and work-related learning, combined with academic studies. For more information visit the DfE UTC pages.



Very Able Children (aka Gifted and Talented)


Visually Impaired


Virtual Learning Environment - a virtual classroom that allows teachers and students to communicate with each other online.

Voluntary Aided Schools

Voluntary Aided Schools are mainly religious or faith schools, although anyone can apply for a place. The governing body employs the staff and sets the admissions criteria. Schools buildings and land are normally owned by a charitable foundation, often a religious organization. The governing body contributes to building and maintenance costs.

Voluntary Controlled Schools

Local authority maintained and they usually have a charitable religious foundation. The local authority is the admissions authority.


Volunteer Reading Help is a literacy charity operating in primary schools in many areas of the country. Its volunteers work with individual children to increase their confidence and reading skills.


The union for education professionals including teaching, childcare, support staff and students.


Year One to Thirteen

Reception year = 4-5 year olds

Year Age
1 5 - 6
2 6 - 7
3 7 - 8
4 8 - 9
5 9 - 10
6 10 - 11
7 11 - 12
8 12 - 13
9 13 - 14
10 14 - 15
11 15 - 16
12 16 - 17
13 17 - 18