Education jargon

Educational jargon, abbreviations and acronyms

In all fields of work jargon and acronyms are used that are known and understood by employees, but not necessarily by everyone else. We know that school staff use terminology and abbreviations that may be unfamiliar and we certainly don’t want to confuse anyone. So this page contains a glossary that is dedicated to clarifying exactly what is meant. The page was updated in November 2016 (as jargon changes!).


Assembly It is statutory for every state school to offer a daily act of collective worship that is broadly Christian in content. Assembly is a time when a large number of children come together for a short period to: listen to a moral story; listen to a religious story from the Christian faith or another major faith group; hear about the life of a famous person who is a role modelor find out more about good conduct, ethics, appropriate protocol and how to be a good citizen. It is compulsory to say a short prayer. At our school all prayers are general ones that are non-denominational and relevant for all.
Booster classes Additional classes offered, free of charge, by teachers to Year 5 or Year 6 pupils at the school to support lower performing pupils to improve at a faster rate and reach higher standards.
Conferencing Each term teachers meet with pupils, one-to-one, to discuss their progress towards their targets and any other key issues related to their learning. These tutorials are called conferences.
Developing  This is one of our assessment descriptors. It refers to a pupil performing slightly below the nationally expected standard for their age at the time of the assessment. In broad terms pupils performing at Developing are performing between 6-9 months below the nationally expected standard for their age.
DfE The Department for Education. This is the government ministry responsible for education in this country.
Disadvantaged pupils A pupil is considered to be disadvantaged if (s)he falls into one of the following three categories:

  • Eligible for Free Schools Meals (FSM) in the last six years
  • Looked after continuously for 1 day or more
  • Adopted from care.
EAL English as an Additional Language. The performance of EAL pupils needs to be tracked closely, especially in the early stages of learning English, as these children face an additional educational challenge.
Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Previously referred to as an educational statement (though there is a difference). This is a legally binding document that prescribes clearly the nature of a child’s learning difficulties and the objectives that need to be met in order to ensure that the child concerned makes strong progress. Pupils with an EHCP receive some additional support from a learning support assistant. The amount of support the child receives is in proportion to their level of need. All pupils with a statement have a special Annual Review of the progress hey have made. Parents, teachers and other professionals that have worked with the child attend that meeting.
Emerging This is one of our assessment descriptors. It refers to a pupil whose performance is currently well below the nationally expected standard for their age. There are two sub-divisions within this categorisation: Emerging A: a pupil who is currently performing well below the nationally expected performance for this age (broadly 12 months, or slightly more, behind); Emerging B, the lower of the two: a pupil who is currently performing significantly below the nationally expected performance (broadly 18 months, or more, behind)
Enrichment Additional provision offered at our school to challenge those pupils who are performing at the very highest standards. Extra classes are offered to pupils in Years 3, 4 5 and 6.
EYFS The Early Years Foundation Stage. In simple terms: nursery and reception. This is one of the defined stages in children’s education.
Early Learning Goals Pupils in nursery and reception are assessed according to a different set of criteria. Their progress in each area of learning is measured in scale points. Pupils work towards the Early Learning Goals (scale point 9). These are seen as the goals to aim at for every child. It is hard to reach the Early Learning Goals, though a small number of pupils do.
HLTA Higher Level Teaching Assistant. This refers to a teaching assistant who has received some additional training and is able to take on a greater level of responsibility.
IEP Individual Education Plan. All pupils with an Education, Health and care Plan (EHCP) must have an individual Education Plan every term. Parents should get a copy of these plans and the progress a pupil has made should be reviewed at the end of each term. This information should be used to set a new IEP.
KS 1 Key Stage 1. In simple terms: Year 1 and Year 2. This is anotherdefined stage in children’s education.
KS 2 Key Stage 2. In simple terms: Years 3, 4, 5 and 6. This is the third and final defined stage in children’s primary education.
Learning mentor At Barnes we employ a learning mentor who works with pupils on any emotional or social issues that may be having a negative impact on their learning. Our Learning mentor, Polly Kelynack, works at barns three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday)
Learning themes At Barnes we have made a decision to combine together four subject areas within a thematic learning unit. These subjects are: art; design technology; geography and history. We took this decision in 2007 because we felt that children would get a richer and deeper curriculum experience. We were concerned about the significant time limitations for each of these subjects if we taught them separately. Teachers are continually refining our learning themes.
Looked after child A child who is not living with either of their parents and is in the care of the local authority. The child concerned may be short-term, or longer-term, fostered.
LSA Learning Support Assistant. Learning support assistants work closely with pupils who have an educational statement (see below)
Mastery  This is one of our assessment descriptors. It refers to a pupil whose performance displays an outstanding grasp of what has been taught. There are two sub-divisions within this categorisation: Mastery B: a pupil performing well above the nationally expected standard for their age; Mastery A: an outstanding grasp of all the year group objectives, with the ability to apply them with flair and creativity in a wide range of different contexts.
MFL Modern Foreign Languages. It is now compulsory for all pupils in Key Stage 2 to study a modern foreign language, such as French.
National performance expectation This is an average performance target set by the government. By the end of every year an average pupil who is making steady progress with their learning should have reached a defined level. So, for example, a Year 2 child should have reached a Level 2B; a Year 6 child should have reached a Level 4B.
Pay Pal An electronic, computerised payment system, used for school meals and other payments to the school.
PSCHE Personal, social, citizenship, health and emotional education
Pupil improvement target Each term teachers will set targets for pupil improvement. Pupils should know exactly what their personal targets are and they should be given the chance to evaluate their progress against these targets. Their teacher should make a point of giving them precise and helpful feedback on the progress they are making towards reaching these targets.
Pupil performance target Early in the academic year all teachers set performance targets for every child in their class for reading, writing and mathematics. These targets are aspirational: expected progress, plus bonus. These targets are numerical.
Pupil Premium A grant that each school receives to directly support disadvantaged pupils (see disadvantaged pupils).
P.E. Physical Education
R.E. Religious Education
SATs Standard Assessment Tests that are produced by the Department of Education. Pupils in Year 2 and Year 6 sit these tests. The outcomes are seen as a key school performance indicator. The results of these tests are published and available to all.
School journey A special, extended school trip that involves staying overnight. Our school offers a one week school journey to Year 6 pupils early in the school year.
Secure  This is one of our assessment descriptors. It refers to a pupil whose performance is in line with the nationally expected standard for their age. A pupil performing in the secure category is doing well because s(he) is meeting all the requirements that would be expected for that age group.
SEF School evaluation form. Originally a mandatory document required by the school’s inspection service, Ofsted, prior to a school inspection. At Barnes our SEF is updated cyclically and reviewed once a year by the school’s governing body.
SEN Special Educational Needs. A pupil is deemed to have a special Educational Need if they are finding it harder than other pupils to make progress. It is important to point out that a pupil may have a special educational need for a relatively short period of time. SEN are classified into three categories depending on the severity of the learning difficulty:School Action: a mild needSchool Action Plus: a more significant need

Educational statement: a significant need. A pupil with a statement requires substantial additional support.

SEN Register In order to track the progress of pupils with SEN the school keeps a register. This is updated termly. At that time some children come off the register, because they have made good progress, whilst others join it, as there is a current concern about their rate of progress.
SENCo The Special Educational Needs Coordinator. This is the person responsible for coordinating provision and support for all pupil on the SEN Register.
Statutory assessment This is a process of gathering information from everyone who has been involved with a child with significant special educational needs. The purpose is to establish what should be written on the Education, Health and Care Plan and how much support the child should receive.
TA Teaching assistant. A person who supports pupils’ learning but is not attached to any particular child (as an LSA is). At Barnes we refer to teaching assistants working in the Early Years Foundation Stage as Leaders of Learning.
Teacher assessment Teachers are continually assessing pupils’ performance. Any assessments they make come under the umbrella heading of: teacher assessment. Each term teachers submit their assessments of every pupil’s performance to the Headteacher. At the end of the year they complete a final, summary teacher assessment. This represents their professional view, based on all the evidence (in workbooks, in tests, in day-to-day interaction) of exactly what performance tier a pupil is performing at.
Theme week A special week where the normal school timetable changes and there is a concerted focus on one area of learning. At Barnes we traditionally organise three theme weeks every year: On Camera; Arts Week and Solve a Problem Week. We don’t specifically teach any English and maths that week, though pupils are expected to apply the skills they have learnt in previous lessons. In addition, classteachers are also asked to plan three learning theme focus weeks every academic year (one in each term). By having theme weeks we ensure that a broad, wide ranging curriculum offer is made to the pupils.
Unit of learning A series of lessons focusing on a topic. For example, teachers might plan a three week unit of learning in English around a high quality text. Similarly, they might plan a series of science lessons around the topic of light.
Year-on-year tests These are the annual tests that pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5 take during the Summer Term. Alongside teacher assessments these summary tests are used to ascertain how much progress pupils are making and what standards they have reached.