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UK Teaching Lingo and Acronyms

British education is full of acronyms which can be confusing for new teachers, or teachers moving to the UK. there is nothing more frustrating and worrying than when your co-workers seem to be talking in code, and you have no idea what they mean. We have all been there.

We have pulled together some common British Education acronyms so you will feel like you know what is going on, as soon as you arrive.

If you are ever in doubt just ask! Other staff members are always happy to support overseas teachers.

 AfL Assessment for Learning – a programme of teaching and learning activities which are designed to provide information to be used as feedback to modify the learning activities. Examples of AfL activities are: effective questioning, observations of students during teaching and learning activities, class discussions, analysing work and providing feedback to students.

A-Levels & AS levels – advanced qualifications for students 16-19 years. A-Levels are achieved following two years of advanced study.

APP – Assessing Pupils’ Progress – a structured approach to periodically assessing maths, science, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. APP is not mandatory and schools may decide whether or not to use it.

BTECs – work-related qualifications offered by an increasing number of schools and colleges. They can be taken both as an alternative to or in conjunction with A Levels or GCSEs. BTEC courses are vocational courses but they also cover the theoretical aspects of the subject.

CATs – Cognitive Ability Tests – a set of tests for children 7-15 years, which include verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. Similar to the Midyis test.

CPD – Continued Professional Development – any activity that increases teachers’ knowledge or understanding, or effectiveness in schools.

DfE – The Department for Education

EAL – English as an Additional Language

EBD – Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties – Children who display these problems may be placed on the Special Needs Register and given extra support.

EHCP – Education Health and Care Plan – Students with an EHCP have serious special educational needs, and will receive extra assistance in their learning. Plans outline the child’s needs and required support, and are reviewed annually.

EYFS – Early Years Foundation Stage. Nursery and Reception (ages 3 to 4)

FSM – Free School Meals – Students on FSM will have access to extra funding to support their learning activities inside and outside of the classroom

PP – Pupil Premium – Additional funding for pupils identified by the school and government.

GCSE – General Certificate of Secondary Education – academic examination of basic secondary education, generally taken by 14-16 year old but available to anyone who would like to study a subject that interests them. GCSEs are available in a wide range of academic and work related subjects.

HLTA – Higher Level Teaching Assistant – a HLTA does all the things a regular teaching assistant does but they have a greater level of responsibility, such as being able to teach classes on their own, cover planned absences and allow teachers time for planning and marking.

HOD – Head of Department

HOY – Head of Year

IEP – Individual Education Plan – identifies the special educational needs of a child and outlines target and strategies to support their learning.

LA / LEA – Local Authority / Local Education Authority – local government with responsibility for education

LSA or LSTA – Learning Support or Teaching Assistants – this is a widely used job title for assistants who provide in-school support for students with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

KS1 – Key Stage 1. Years 1 and 2 (Ages 5 to 7)

KS2 – Key Stage 2. Years 3 to 6 (Ages 8 to 11)

KS3 – Key Stage 3. Years 7 to 9 (Ages 12 to 14)

KS4 – Key Stage 4. Years 10 and 11 (Ages 15 to 16)

MLD – Moderate Learning Difficulties – Students with MLDs receive extra assistance under the SEN provision. Students with MLD have attainments well below expected levels in all or most areas of the curriculum. Their needs will not be met by normal differentiation and the flexibility of the National Curriculum.

NQT – Newly Qualified Teacher

Ofsted – The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills – the regulatory and inspection body for education and children’s care service providers.

OTT – Overseas Trained Teacher

PPA – Planning, Preparation and Assessment time – 10% of teachers time is allocated to PPA.

PPF – Pupil Premium Funding – additional funding allocated to schools per student receiving fee school meals.

PRU – Pupil Referral Unit – established and maintained by an LA to provide education for pupils who would not otherwise receive a suitable education due to exclusion or other reasons.

QTS – Qualified Teacher Status – the accreditation that allows you to teach in state-maintained and special schools in England and Wales.

SATs – Standard Attainment Tests. Students will sit these tests in both Year 2 and 6.

SEN – Special Educational Needs – provision to support pupils with learning disabilities. This may be provided through mainstream or more specialised education.

SENco – Special Education Needs coordinator – teacher responsible for ensuring that students with learning difficulties, emotional problems and behavioural problems receive appropriate support, overseeing the completion of IEPs and liaising with external agencies.

SMT / SLT – Senior Management / Leadership Team – consisting of Headteacher, Deputy Head and Assistant Headteachers

STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. Sometimes called STEAM, with the addition of Arts into the mix.