Education Acronyms Explained

The NGA has produced this guide to help governors and others navigate the specialist terms and abbreviations of the education world. 


Academies are publicly funded independent schools. They are all ability schools established by sponsors from business faith or voluntary groups. Academies have different governance arrangements to other schools. An academy's Funding Agreement sets out the details of the governance arrangements for each school. 

Admissions (Code of Practice) 

All state schools are required to have admission procedures which meet the School Admissions Code. Where more pupils apply to be admitted to a school than the school has room for, its over- subscription criteria will be applied. In community and voluntary controlled schools the Local Authority is responsible for admissions. In foundation and voluntary aided schools the governing body is responsible. 

Articles of Association 

The Articles of Association set out regulations for Academies, including the composition of the governing body. 


Association of School and College Leaders 

Associate members 

Individuals appointed by the governing body of a LA maintained school. They are not part of the governing body, but are allowed to attend meetings and sit on committees and can be given voting powers. They are appointed for 1-4 years, with the opportunity for re-appointment. An associate member could be a pupil, member of staff, or someone with expertise in a particular area. Academies Articles of Association allow them to appoint non-governors to committees and give them voting rights. 


Advanced Skills Teacher 


Association of Teachers and Lecturers 

Attainment targets 

These establish what children of differing ability should be expected to know and be able to do by the end of each Key Stage of the Curriculum- each target is graded into eight levels through which pupils advance as they learn more. 


Age-Weighted Pupil Unit - the sum of money allocated to the school for each pupil according to age. This is the basic unit of funding for the school. 

Baseline assessment 

Assessment of pupils' attainment on entry to Year 1- it is not statutory, but many local authorities encourage schools to carry it out. 


The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Created in 2009 its responsibilities encompass the development, funding and performance management of higher education (both teaching and research) and further education. While most information relevant to governors will come from the DfE there will be some crossover in relation to post-16 pupils. 


Building Schools for the Future. A 1~ 15 year programme for the rebuilding or refurbishing of secondary schools. (This programme has now been abolished.) 


A school's administration or business manager. The exact role of a bursar will vary from school to school but their duties will almost always include financial and administrative management and many are involved in strategic planning and risk management. There is specific training for Bursars co-ordinated by the NCSl 

Capital expenditure 

Spending on projects, improvements, and extensions to the school 


Cognitive Ability Tests 

Chair's action 

The Chair is allowed to take decisions without asking the governing body if a delay will be detrimental to the school, a member of staff, a pupil or a parent. 

Children's Trust 

There will be a Children's Trust in every local authority-these are local partnerships, which bring together those bodies (e.g. local authority, primary care trusts, police authorities and Connexions partnerships), which provide services to children, young people and families. Some bodies have a legal requirement to be part of the Children's Trust. The Government has announced significant changes to the requirements to create Children's Trusts. 


Children and Young People's Plan. The Government has announced that it intends to abolish the requirement to develop CYPPs. 


An agreement between two or more schools to work together on one particular issue. They keep their individual governing bodies, but may set up a joint committee to which they can delegate powers. 

Community schools 

LA maintained schools at which the LA is the employer, owns the land and buildings and sets the admission criteria 

Community special schools 

LA maintained schools which make special educational provision for pupils with statements of special educational needs (SEN), whose needs cannot be fully met from within mainstream provision. The LA is the employer, owns the land and buildings and sets the admission criteria. 

Competitive tendering 

Obtaining quotes or tenders from alternative suppliers before awarding contracts 

Community governor 

A governor representing community and local businesses chosen by members of a governing body who have themselves been elected or appointed 


Continuous Professional Development for school staff 


Department for Children, Schools and Families (renamed in May 2010 and now the Department for Education) 


Disability Discrimination Act 

Delegated budget 

Money provided to schools, which governors can manage at their discretion (see also Devolved funds) 

Delegated powers 

Authority given to a committee, an individual governor or the headteacher/principal to take action on behalf of the governing body 

Designated person 

Liaises with other services on behalf of young people in care and has a responsibility for promoting their educational achievement 


Department for Education -.the government department responsible for schools and children (formerly DCSF) 

Directed time 

Time when a teacher must be available to carry out duties, including attending staff and parent meetings, under the direction of the headteacher/principal- a maximum of 1265 hours in a school year 


A term used where National Curriculum requirements may not apply to a pupil 


Dedicated School Grant 


English as an Additional Language 


Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties 


An organisation who have worked with NGA to produce First Certificatein Governance; an online training programme for governors, based on Welcome to Governance 

Education Forum 

Established by the Government as a consultative group including the NGA, the LGA and all the teaching and headteaching unions. 


Education Fu nding Agency - will replace the YPLA in April 2012. It will be responsible for all revenue and capital funding for schools. 


Education Maintenance Allowance 


Education Supervision Order, which LAs may apply for to deal with cases of poor attendance at school 


Excellent Teacher Scheme 


Education Welfare Officer - a professional worker who visits pupils' homes and deals with attendance problems and other welfare matters in co-operation with the school. 


The temporary or permanent removal of a pupil from school for serious breaches of the school's behaviour and discipline policy 

Ex officio 

Able to attend meetings by virtue of holding a particular office 

Extended schools/services 

Schools that provide a range of services and activities often beyond the school day, to help meet the needs of the pupils, their families and the wider community. 


Two or more schools governed by one governing body


Financial Management Standard in Schools (now abolished) 

Form of entry 

The number of classes that a school admits each year 

Foundation governor 

A governor appointed by the foundation body of a voluntary school 

Foundation schools 

LA maintained schools in which the governing body is the employer, owns the land and buildings and sets the admission criteria 

Foundation special schools 

LA maintained special schools, which have the same freedoms as foundation schools (see above) 

Foundation stage 

Curriculum followed by children below statutory school age, in schools and nursery/pre-school provision 

Free School 

A type of Academy, either a new school set up in response to parental demand or a fee-paying school joining the state education system 


Free School Meals 


General Certificate of Secondary Education 


General National Vocational Qualification 


Free telephone helpline for school governors - 08000 722 181 


General Teaching Council (due to be abolished) 


Higher Level Teaching Assistant 


Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools 


Her Majesty's Inspector 


Health and Safety Executive 


Information and Communications Technology  


Individual Education Plan for pupils with special educational needs 

International GCSE 


Investors in People 


In-Service Education and Training - courses for practising teachers 

Instrument of Government 

A legal document setting out the name of the school and the constitution of the governing body. 


Information for School and College Governors 

Key Stages (KSl-4) 

For curriculum purposes, pupils are divided into age groups, called Key Stages. Different subjects will
be taught at different Key Stages and at the end of each Key Stage pupils will be formally assessed through Standard Attainment Tests. The key stages are KS1 (age 5-7), KS2 (age 7-11), KS3 (age 11- 14), KS4 (age 14-16). 

Learning and Skills Council (LSC) 

The LSC is responsible for planning and funding education provision for adults and young people over the age of 16 (not in schools) in England. 

Local Authority (LA) 

Local authorities (LAs) are part of local councils, i.e. borough, county, metropolitan and city. Within local councils, LAs are accountable for early years education, schools, adult education and youth services. Community, foundation and voluntary schools are funded directly by their LA. 


Local Government Association 

Local Authority Central Spend Equivalent Grant - LACSEG 

The funding Academies receive to meet  their additional responsibilities 


Learning and Skills Council- now abolished 

Minor authority 

A district council or parish council 

Mixed ability 

A teaching group in which children of all abilities are taught together 


National Association of Head Teachers 


National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers 

National Curriculum 

This was established by the 1988 Education Reform Act to ensure that all pupils receive a broad and balanced education, which is relevant to their needs. 

National College 

National College for School Leadership - the organisation responsible for national training programmes for school leaders, aspiring school leaders and the development of leaders of Children's Services. In particular, it is responsible for the National Professional Qualification for Headship. 


National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations (now PTA UK) 


National Foundation for Educational Research  

National Governors' Association (NGA) 

The national membership organisation for school governors 


National Grid for Learning 


National Nursery Examination Board 

Non-teaching (Support) Staff 

Members of the school staff employed by the governors to provide services in a school, such as teaching assistants, cleaners and office staff 


National Professional Qualification for Headship 


Newly Qualified Teacher 


National Union of Teachers 


Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Register - the regulator of examinations and qualifications. 


Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills - the body which inspects education and training for learners of all ages and inspects and regulates care for children and young people 

Over subscribed

A school that has more applications from parents than paces available.  See Admissions (Code of Practice). 


Published Admissions Number - the number of children the lA (or governing body of a foundation or aided school or Academy Trust) determines must be admitted to anyone year group in the school 

Partnership Governors 

Are appointed at foundation schools where the school has no foundation body. 

Peripatetic Teacher 

A teacher who teaches in a number of schools to give specialist instruction 

Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) 

One of the routes into teaching. A PGCE can be studied full-time or part-time following the completion of a first degree. 

Private Finance Initiative (PFI) 

PFI is a way of funding public building through leasing arrangements with private firms. Private firms design, build and often manage new building programmes. The building is leased back to the public body, usually over a period of 20-30 years. 


Parent Governor Representative - elected to serve on a local authority committee discharging the education functions of the LA 


Performance Indicators 


Pupil Level Annual School Census 


Planning, Preparation and Assessment - 10% guaranteed non-contact time for teachers 


Public and Private Partnership 


Performance Related Pay 


Pupil Referral Unit 


Pastoral Support Programme for pupils at serious risk of permanent exclusion 


Parent Teacher Association – or PSA (Parent Staff Association)


Pupil/Teacher Ratio - this is calculated by dividing the number of pupils in a school by the number of full-time equivalent teachers 


National membership organisation for parent teacher associations - formerly NCPTA  

Pupil Premium 

This money will go with eligible pupils to the school they attend, and will be distributed in addition to the underlying schools budget from 2011-12. The funding is allocated to pupils eligible for FSM, or who have parents in the armed forces. 

Pupil profile 

Broad evaluation of a pupil's personality, interests and capabilities - this forms part of the pupil's Record of Achievement 


Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (formerly QCA) ( now defunct) 


Qualified Teacher Status  


The minimum number of members present at a meeting before decisions can be made 


Reporting and Analysis for Improvement through School Self-Evaluation is the web-based system to disseminate school performance data to schools 


A formal decision which has been proposed, seconded and agreed - not necessarily by a vote - at a meeting 


Registered Inspector, who is authorised to lead an inspection team (colloquially, a 'Reggie') 


Record of Achievement 


Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education +local statutory body which advises on religious education and collective worship 


Standard Assessment Tasks used for Curriculum Assessment 


The release of staff on a temporary basis for work elsewhere 

Schools Forum 

A Schools Forum has been established in each LA area to advise on the allocation of the funding for schools - the majority of places on this body should be filled by governors and headteacher/ principals, preferably in equal numbers. 

School Profile

Annual on-line report for parents, which schools must produce to inform on how the school has performed (abolished by the Education Act 2011) 


Self-Evaluation Form – previously a standard template produced by Ofsted


Special Educational Needs – learning difficulties for which special educational provision has to be made


SEN Co-ordinator - the teacher responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision in the school 


Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal  


A system of organising pupils into ability groups for particular subjects 


Schools Financial Value Standard - a means for the governing body to assess its financial processes, capabilities and skills. 


Schools Information and Management System - a computer package to assist schools in managing information on pupils, staff and resources 

Special school 

Schools that make provision for pupils with statements of special educational needs (SEN), whose needs cannot be fully met from within mainstream provision 

Special Unit (or Resourced Provision) 

A unit attached to a mainstream school to cater for children with specific special needs 


Specialist Schools and Academies Trust now renamed the Schools Network 


School Standards and Framework Act 1998 


School Support Staff Negotiating Body - makes recommendations to the Secretary of State on the pay, terms and conditions of school support staff. Abolished by the Education Act 2011. 


School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document 


School Teachers' Review Body - makes recommendations to the Secretary of State on teachers' pay  


The procedure by which a child is formally assessed under the 1996 Education Act as having significant special educational needs 


A system of organising pupils into classes according to their ability across a range of subjects. Setting and streaming are not the same thing. 


Teaching Assistants 


Training and Development Agency for Schools 


Teaching and Learning Responsibilities 

Trust Deed 

The deed by which a Voluntary aided or a Voluntary controlled school has been established 

Trust Schools 

Foundation schools with a foundation body established under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 - the foundation body may appoint either a minority or a majority of the governing body 


Union of Public Employees 

Value Added (VA) 

The progress schools help pupils make relative to their individual starting points - rather than looking at raw results VA also takes into account the prior attainment, thus enabling a judgement to be made about the effect of the school on pupils' current attainment. 

Vertical grouping 

Classes formed (in primary schools) with children of different age groups 


The agreed transfer of money from the budget heading to which it has been allocated to another budget heading 


A teaching union, formerly the Professional Association of Teachers 

VA Voluntary Aided 

A school set up and owned by a voluntary body, usually a church body, largely financed by the LA. The governing body employs the staff and controls pupil admissions and religious education. The school's buildings and land (apart from playing fields) will normally be owned by a charitable foundation. 

VC Voluntary Controlled

Usually a denominational school wholly LA maintained by the LA but with certain residual rights regarding religious worship.


Workforce Agreement Monitoring Group – now abolished

Work experience 

A planned programme as part of careers education, which enables pupils in school time to sample experience of a working environment of their choice 


Young People's Learning Agency - the body set up by central government to manage the oversight and funding of Academies. It is also responsible for funding for 16-18 education. It will be replaced by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) in April 2012 


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