Glossary of Terms

Throughout Education, there are a number of terms and abbreviations that are used on a daily basis. Some are well known, others not so much. We have listed a few below to help.

A degree is any of a wide range of status levels conferred by institutions of higher education, such as universities, normally as the result of successfully completing a program of study.

Academies are all ability independent schools established by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups working in highly innovative partnerships with central Government and local education partners. Sponsors and the DfE provide the capital costs for the Academy. Running costs are met in full by the DfE. They provide free education to secondary age pupils of all abilities, including provision for children with special educational needs and have state of the art facilities, through which they offer a broad and balanced curriculum including a Specialism.

A process whereby learners are actively engaged in the learning process, rather than “passively” absorbing lessons. Active learning involves reading, writing, discussion, and engagement in solving problems, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Attention Deficit Disorder.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Children who require some additional support to remove barriers to learning in any respect are deemed to have Additional Support Needs. This definition abolished the previously used term Special Educational Needs and was set out in the 2004 Additional Support for Learning Act.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Pupils who may find it difficult to understand and use non-verbal and verbal communication.

Pupils on the autism spectrum, higher functioning.

The process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs.

Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulty. Pupils whose behaviour or social needs present a barrier to learning.

Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulty. Pupils whose behaviour or social needs present a barrier to learning.

A term used by many teachers to describe the process of ensuring lessons run smoothly without disruptive behaviour by students. It is possibly the most difficult aspect of teaching for many teachers. It is closely linked to issues of motivation, discipline and respect.

Cystic Fibrosis.

An umbrella term for a variety of approaches in education that involve joint intellectual effort by students or students and teachers. Groups of students work together in searching for understanding, meaning or solutions or in creating a product. Collaborative learning activities can include collaborative writing, group projects, and other activities.

The Local Authority (LA) employs the school’s staff, owns the school’s land and buildings and is the admissions authority (it has primary responsibility for deciding the arrangements for admitting pupils).

The set of courses and their contents offered by an institution such as a school or university. In some cases, a curriculum may be partially or entirely determined by an external body (e.g. National Curriculum).

Pupils having difficulty in acquiring mathematical skills.

Pupils having a marked and persistent difficulty in learning to read, write and spell, despite progress in other areas.

Pupils with impairment of gross and fine motor skills.

A diocese is the area to which a Bishop’s jurisdiction extends and is only applicable to Catholic and Church of England schools.

Said to be a neurological disorder with biochemical and genetic markers. Dyslexia was originally defined as a difficulty with reading and writing that could not be explained by general intelligence. One diagnostic approach is to compare their ability in areas such as reading and writing to that which would be predicted by his or her general level of intelligence, but some would say that it is not certain that intelligence should be a predictor of reading or writing ability; and also that the causes, effects and treatments of reading disabilities may be similar for all levels of intelligence.

English as an additional Language

Phase of Education. Early Years settings include private and voluntary day nurseries, pre-schools, playgroups, child minding networks, portage services and Local Authority day nurseries.

A social science that encompasses teaching and learning specific knowledge, beliefs, and skills. Licensed and practicing teachers in the field use a variety of methods and materials in order to impart a curriculum.

The study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational treatments, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Educational psychology is concerned with the processes of educational attainment among the general population and sub-populations such as gifted children and those subject to specific disabilities.

An approach to facilitate and enhance learning through, and based on, both computer and communications technology.

Is a legal document which sets out a description of a child’s needs and what needs to be done to meet those needs by education, health and social care.

Activities performed by students that fall outside the realm of the normal curriculum of school. Extracurricular activities exist at all levels of education, from high school and college to university education.

Number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals who have full time attendance and are aged 15 or under, or who have part time attendance and are aged between 5 and 15.

Free Schools are non-profit making, independent, state-funded schools. There is not a ’one-size-fits-all’ approach. They are not defined by size or location: there is not a single type of Free School or a single reason for setting them up. They can be set up by a wide range of proposers – including charities, universities, businesses, educational groups, teachers or parents.

Gifted students are those whose potential is distinctly above average in one or more of the following domains of human ability: intellectual, creative, social and physical. Talented students are those whose skills are distinctly above average in one or more areas of human performance.

Hearing Impaired

School provides flexible curriculum and increased capacity to meet needs of all pupils.

The provision of sufficient supports to promote learning when concepts and skills are being first introduced to students.

Where a child fits into existing school provision and curriculum.

A teaching and learning style in which learning takes place by the student actually carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening or merely watching a demonstration. Building dioramas, physical models or participating in role-playing or historical reenactment are some examples.

The National Curriculum sets out targets to be achieved in various subject areas at each of the Key Stages. Primary = Key Stages 1 & 2. Secondary = Key Stage 3 -5.

Information of which someone is aware. Knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject, potentially with the ability to use it for a specific purpose.

Local Authority / Local Education Authority

The term may refer to course aims (intended learning outcomes) or may be roughly synonymous with educational objectives (observed learning outcomes).

Student support, typically supporting children with additional needs. Working 1:1 in and out of class.

A teacher‘s detailed description of the course of instruction for an individual lesson. While there is no one way to construct a correct lesson plan, most lesson plans contain similar elements.

A developmental relationship between a more experienced mentor and a less experienced partner referred to as a mentee or protégé.

Moderate Learning Difficulties. Pupils whose attainments are significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum.

Performance descriptors. A common basis for measuring the progress of pupils working up to level 1 in all subjects of the National Curriculum.

The art or science of teaching.

Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. Pupils with complex learning needs and other significant physical difficulties.

A Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) is established and maintained by a local authority which is specially organised to provide education for children who are excluded, sick or otherwise unable to attend mainstream school and is not a special or other type of school.

Resourced provisions are where places are reserved at a mainstream school for pupils with a specific type of SEN, taught mainly within mainstream classes, but requiring a base and some specialist facilities around the school. Resourced provisions: receive additional funding from the LA (especially for the purpose of the provision); cater for a specific type or types of SEN (e.g. specific learning difficulties); are usually for pupils with statements of SEN (but could include pupils at School Action Plus).

Speech and Language Therapist.

Is a school which provides secondary education, between the ages of 11 and 16 or 11 and 19, after primary school and before higher education.

Special Educational Needs.

Practical guidance to LEAs and the governing bodies of all maintained schools.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator.

SEN Units are special provisions within a mainstream school where the children are taught mainly within separate classes. Units: receive additional funding from the LA specifically for the purpose of the provision; cater for a specific type or types of SEN (e.g. autistic spectrum disorders); are usually for pupils with statements of SEN (but may also provide support for pupils at School Action Plus).

Speech, Language and Communication Needs. Pupils may have difficulty in understanding and / or making others understand information conveyed through spoken language.

Specific Learning Difficulties. A descriptor covering Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia.

Describes an educational alternative that focuses on the teaching of students with academic, behaviorial, health, or physical needs that cannot sufficiently be met using traditional educational programs or techniques.

Is where a school is judged by OFSTED to be failing, or likely to fail, to provide an acceptable standard of education.

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are collectively considered core technological underpinnings of an advanced society.

A document with an outline and summary of topics to be covered in a course.

Student support. Typically in class, in a general capacity.

A software system designed to facilitate teachers in the management of educational courses for their students, especially by helping teachers and learners with course administration. The system can often track the learners’ progress, which can be monitored by both teachers and learners. While often thought of as primarily tools for distance education, they are most often used to supplement the face-to-face classroom

Visually Impaired

In a Voluntary Aided (VA) School the governing body is the employer and the admissions authority. The school’s land and buildings (apart from playing fields which are normally owned by the LA) will normally be owned by a charitable foundation.