Jargon Buster

School Jargon Buster

Language and Acronyms used in school can be very confusing.

Here is a breakdown of the terms most commonly used.


Academies - Academies are independent state-funded schools. These schools have more freedom over their finances, the curriculum they teach and teachers’ pay and conditions. These schools are funded directly by central government rather than by the local authority. Some academies are sponsored and these sponsors can come from a range of backgrounds (businesses, other successful schools, universities, charities and faith bodies). Sponsors are held accountable for improving the performance of their schools.


AfL - Assessment for Learning - From September 2009, all UK schools were expected to implement an assessment for learning program. Day-to-day assessments would include effective questioning; observations of children during teaching and while they are working; holding discussions with children; analysing work and reporting to children; conducting tests and giving quick feedback.

DfE - The Department for Education - They responsible for education and children's services in England.

EAL - English as an Additional Language - Refers to children whose first language(s) is/are not English and who may not yet be speaking English fluently or even at all. 

EAL - English as an Additional Language - describing those whose first language is not English

EWO - Education Welfare Officer - Person employed by the Local Authority to help parents and the LA meet their statutory obligations in relation to school attendance.

EYFS - Early Years Foundation Stage - A framework for care and education of children from birth to five years of age.

FSM - Free School Meals

 G & T - Gifted and Talented

 HLTA - Higher Level Teaching Assistant

 ICT - Information and Communication Technology

 INSET - In-Service Education and Training - Training for teachers which takes place during the school year.

 ITT - Initial Teacher Training

 KS1 - Key Stage 1 - 5-7 years old

 KS2 - Key Stage 2 - 7-11 years old

 LA - Local Authority

 LSA - Learning Support Assistant

NQT - Newly Qualified Teacher 

Ofsted - The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills is an independent organisation, which reports directly to Parliament. Ofsted inspects and regulates services, which care for children and young people and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages. Ofsted sets out to raise standards in British schools through regular inspections.

PE - Physical Education

PPA - Planning, Preparation and Assessment Time

PSHE - Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

QTS - Qualified Teacher Status

RE - Religious Education

SATs - Standard Attainment Tests/Tasks - National Curriculum Tests and Tasks which take place at the end of Key Stage 1 and at the end of Key Stage 2. 

SEN - Special Educational Needs Provision - Support for pupils with learning difficulties.

SENDCO - Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator

SLT - Senior Leadership Team

SMSC- Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

TA- Teaching Assistant