Educational Jargon Buster

The education system is full of abbreviations, terms and phrases. Although we try not to use them with parents, some of this language has become second nature to us and so we are sometimes unaware we are even using jargon or that it is not easily understood by parents.

To help, the list below is just a few of things you might come across and what they mean.

Educational Jargon

A.D.D. – Attention Deficit Disorder
A.D.H.D. – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Admissions Authority – The body that decides the rules on how children will get a place at the school and who is offered a place.
Appeals – The Education Acts give parents rights of appeal against certain decisions relating to admission to schools, special educational provision and permanent exclusion from school.
Assessment – Ways of judging how well pupils are progressing.
Attainment – What pupils accomplish.
Attainment target – The knowledge, skills and understanding which pupils of different abilities and ages are expected to have by the end of each National Curriculum Key Stage.

Catchment area – A defined geographical area from which a school takes its pupils.
Children’s centres – These provide a one stop resource for young families, offering help and advice on everything from childcare to getting back to work.
Curriculum – All the courses and learning opportunities a school offers, or a course of study being followed by a child.
C.R.B. – A criminal record check required or anyone who teaches or supervises children.

Differentiation – The way in which the school’s curriculum and teaching methods are adapted to meet the needs of children.

Early Learning Goals – Early Learning Goals set out the learning and development skills most children should have achieved by the end of the Reception year.
Equal Opportunities – Chance for everyone to participate in school life/curriculum.
E.R.I.C. – Everyone Reading In Class.
E.Y.F.S. – Early Years Foundation Stage.
Exclusions – Headteachers may exclude pupils from school for serious breaches of discipline. Exclusions may be for a fixed period or permanent.

Foundation stage – The Foundation Stage is Nursery and Reception.

Gifted and Talented – According to the DfES, 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.

Governing Body– The governors, with the headteacher, have overall responsibility for the school. They work for the school unpaid.

H.L.T.A. – Higher Level Teaching Assistant.

I.C.T. – Information and Communication Technology ~ refers to the whole area of computers.
Inclusion – A process by which schools, local education authorities and others develop their cultures, policies and practices to include pupils.
Inset Day – In-Service Education and Training days. INSET days are set aside to allow teachers to update their skills and knowledge in order to raise pupil achievement.

Key Stage / KS – Your child’s progress through school is measured in Key Stages. Key Stage 1 or KS1 covers pupils from 5-7; Key Stage 2 or KS2 from 7-11; Key Stage 3 or KS3 from 11 to 14 and Key Stage 4 or KS4 from 14-16.
Local Authority – Local government with responsibility for education (formerly known as local education authority).
Learning Difficulty – If a child has a learning difficulty s/he finds it much harder to learn than most children of the same age do.
L.S.A. – Learning Support Assistant. A non-teaching member of staff who helps to meet the educational needs of children. In our school we do not use this term.

M.D.S. – Midday Supervisor

National Curriculum – The basic framework setting out what children aged 5 to 16 in state schools should learn.
Non-Contact time – Non teaching time when teachers prepare lesson plans etc. Also called PPA Time
Non-teaching or Support staff – Members of school staff employed by the governors to provide services in school other than teaching, such as cleaners, administrators.
N.Q.T. – Newly Qualified Teacher. A teacher in their first year of teaching after qualifying (when they get considerable additional support and supervision).
OFSTED. (Office For Standards in Education) – The body which inspects state funded schools. OFSTED inspectors produce education reports to help improve schools.
Performance Tables – Annually published results of a school or college’s performance based on national tests.
Phonics – 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 several letter sounds a week and shown a series of alliterative pictures and words starting with those sounds, such as mat, man and make.
P.S.H.E. – Personal, Social & Health Education. PSHE covers all everyday life skills such eating & drinking; hygeine; dressing; behaviour; through to interaction with your friends.
P.P.A. time – This is Planning, Preparation and Assessment time; all teachers are entitled to PPA time. It is used for marking, preparing lessons etc.
Q.T.S. – Qualified Teacher Status. The full teaching status that all Aston Clinton staff are required to have.
S.A.T.s – Standard Attainment Tests. SATs are the National Curriculum tests that happen at ages 7, 11 and 14
S.D.P. / S.I.P. – School Development Plan / School Improvement Plan. Different names for the same thing! The SIP / SDP is updated, from April each year, and plans how the school will develop over the next three years.
S.E.N. – Special Educational Needs. A legal definition, referring to children who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn or access education than most children of the same age.
S.E.N.C.O. – Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. The teacher in a school who is responsible for arranging the extra help for children with special educational needs. Our SENCO is Mrs Page
S.E.A.L. – Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning.
Statement – The ‘Statement’ is the legal document that determines the school and educational provision for a pupil with severe special educational needs.
Supply teacher – Staff who provide cover for absent teachers.
Targets – The individual goals set for a child. Targets are a way of checking the child’s progress.
T.A. – Teaching Assistant.