A-Z of common expressions used in the world of education
PUBLISHED: 17:55 22 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:52 20 February 2013
When it comes to using jargon, schools are in a league of their own. Here, we unravel some of the common expressions used in the world of education...
Advanced level qualifications for 16 to 18-year-olds, anA-level consists of modules allowing continuous assessment and a coursework element. An AS-level equals roughly half an A-level.
Beacon schools were intended to be centres of excellence that would share the secrets of their success with others to raise standards in areas such as literacy, disaffection or overall performance. The scheme was replaced in 2005 by the specialist schools programme for secondary schools, which included the Leading Edge Partnership programme. At primary school level, Primary Strategy Learning Networks (PSLNs) encourage co-operation between schools.
The entrance exam for many independent senior schools that can be taken at 11, 12 or 13. The papers are set centrally, but marking is done by the school that the child is applying to attend.
A learning difficulty of which the chief manifestation is a difficulty with reading and spelling.
E ssential skills (or basic skills)
The Basic Skills Agency defined essential skills as: skills for life; literacy and numeracy; and reading, writing and arithmetic (the three Rs).
A term used to describe schools that Ofsted has placed in special measures or has given formal notices to improve. In other words, schools that an inspection team has deemed to be failing to give their pupils an acceptable standard of education.
GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)
Academic examination of basic secondary education generally taken by 16-year-olds.
HSE (Human Scale Education)
An educational charity promoting small schools and small class sizes because of the many educational benefits it believes this can bring.
Mostly known in the UK as a sixth form course that students can opt to take instead of A-levels. They have to study six subjects, including English, maths and a foreign language, three at standard level and three at advanced level.
The Joint Advisory Committee for Qualifications Approval. Its role is to advise the Secretary of State on which qualifications should be eligible for public funding in England.
The curriculum for eachage group. Key Stage 1 = infants
Key Stage 2 = juniors
Key Stage 3 = lower secondary school
Key Stage 4 = GCSE
Learning support assistant (LSA)
Also known as a learning support practitioner or teaching assistant, this is a widely used job title for those providing in-school support for pupils.
State schools that take pupils usually aged from nine to 13-years-old, or otherwise eight to 12 (infant schools take four to eight-year-olds and junior schools eight to 11-year-olds). However, many of these have now been replaced by primary (four to 11-year-olds) and secondary schools (11 to 18-year-olds).
Originally intended by Margaret Thatcher to ensure every child was taught the basics, with regular national tests to monitor progress, it grew into a 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, though academies are exempt. A review is expected in the autumn.
Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education)
Intended to raise standards in British schools, most can expect an Ofsted inspection roughly every six years. Each inspection concentrates on four things: the quality of education in the school, educational standards provided, how finances are managed and the spiritual, moral and cultural development of pupils.
Annually published results of a school or colleges performance based on national tests.
The QCDA (Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency) leads developments in the curriculum and in assessments.
First class in a primary school for children aged between four and five.
Standard Attainment Tests (previously Standard Assessment Tasks) are also known as National Curriculum Tests. Children are tested in maths, English and science at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2, and are awarded a level that indicates their ability, compared to the national average.
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)
A qualification that enables the holder to teach English in language schools in the UK or other countries. You can train to teach TEFL without being a trained teacher.
UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service)
UCAS is the organisation that handles most UK university applications.
Very Able Children (previously known as Gifted and Talented).
This 1978 report byMary Warnock was a landmark in special education. It recommended that more children with special education needs should be able to attend mainstream schools and that parents preference and knowledge of their childrens needs be given more weight.
X Project X
A reading programme, published by Oxford University Press, aimed at encouraging boys to read. Books are illustrated with computer generated images and accompanied by teaching resources.
Schools start with Reception Year for four to five-year-olds and then go from Year 1-11, with Years 12 and 13 as the optional lower and upper sixth form.
The ZPD (zone of proximal development) is the gap between what the learner already knows and what they could learn with more help and guidance. Developed by the soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky, the concept of ZPD presumes that by following an adults example, a child will gradually develop their ability to do certain tasks.
Definitions taken from the TES (Times Education Supplement) website. For loads more helpful jargon beating, visit the tes.co.uk