Educational Terms & Acronyms

Glossary of key terms & acronyms you should be familiar with

  • Academy
    Academies receive funding directly from the government and are usually run by an academy trust.
    • They have more control over how they do things than community/state schools.
    • Academies do not charge fees.
    • Academies are inspected by Ofsted.
    • They must follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools and students sit the same exams.
    • Academies have more control over how they do things; for example, they do not have to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times.
    • Some schools choose to become academies. If a school funded by the local authority is judged as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, then it must become an academy.
  • Academic year
    Generally runs from September to July in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and August to June in Scotland
    NB: Some schools start back before September now, and independent schools often finish two or three weeks earlier. The half terms and Easter breaks often vary between schools and regions too – don’t assume – it’s worth looking at the school’s holiday dates so it’s not a shock when you start.
  • Assistant Headteacher
    A senior member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), below the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher. There are usually several Assistant Headteachers.
  • Deputy Headteacher
    Just below the Headteacher. Will be asked to deputise for the Head when they are unavailable. Is a member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT).
  • DfE – Department for Education
    The UK government department responsible for schools and 14–19 education (where this has not been affected by devolution to Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales).
  • EFL – English as a Foreign Language
    Some schools have many EFL students, either because of the local demographic or because it’s an independent school with international students staying in the UK for school.
  • Faith School / Faith Academy
    Faith schools must follow the national curriculum, but they can choose what they teach in religious studies.
    Faith schools may have different admissions criteria and staffing policies to state schools, although anyone can apply for a place.
    Faith academies do not have to teach the national curriculum and have their own admissions processes.
  • FE – Further Education
    Further education. Non-compulsory education taken after school-leaving age (16–18 years). Usually used to describe education between school and higher education (HE) (university).
  • Free Schools
    Free schools are funded by the government but are not run by the local authority. They have more control over how they do things.
    They’re ‘all-ability’ schools, so they cannot use academic selection processes like a grammar school.
    Free schools can:
    • set their own pay and conditions for staff
    • change the length of school terms and the school day
    • They do not have to follow the national curriculum.
  • GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation
    Directly relevant to the role of IT Support in education. Have a look here for some education-specific information
  • ISI – Independent Schools Inspectorate
    ISI is appointed by the Department for Education to inspect association independent schools in England.
  • KCSIE – Keeping Children Safe in Education
    Statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment.
  • KS1 / KS2 / KS3 / KS4 – KS = Key Stage
    In the UK (except Scotland) any of the four fixed stages into which the national curriculum is divided, each having its own prescribed course of study. At the end of each stage, pupils are required to complete standard assessment tasks.
  • LEA – Local Educational Authority
    Local educational authority. Part of local government in the UK that administers education up to college level in a particular district.
    LEAs do not govern independent schools and universities.
  • MIS (Management Information System)
    A system to store staff and student data and information.
    SIMS has been the most popular for a considerable time, so is often used in passing.
  • National Curriculum
    The national curriculum sets out the programmes of study and attainment targets for all subjects at all 4 key stages.
  • Ofsted
    The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages.
    They also inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people.
  • Online Safety (sometimes still referred to as e-safety)
    Schools have a dual responsibility when it comes to e-safety: to ensure the school’s online procedures keep children and young people safe, and to teach them about online safety, in and outside of school.
  • Private/Independent School
    Private schools (also known as ‘independent schools’) charge fees to attend instead of being funded by the government. Pupils do not have to follow the national curriculum.
    All private schools must be registered with the government and are inspected regularly.
  • Pupil Premium
    Pupil premium (often abbreviated to PP) is funding to improve education outcomes for disadvantaged pupils in schools in England.
    Evidence shows that disadvantaged children generally face additional challenges in reaching their potential at school and often do not perform as well as other pupils.
  • Safeguarding
    All staff must undergo safeguarding training to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.
  • SEND – Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities
    Every school is required to have a SENCO (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities Coordinator) on the SLT with responsibility for everything SEND related at the school.
  • SLT (Senior Leadership Team)
    The SLT is a team of school leaders at different levels that involve themselves in the daily management and running of the school to help it reach its business objectives. Usually comprises of Headteacher, Business Manager and Deputy and Assistant Headteachers. But may also include the IT Lead.