Jargon Buster


We know in schools that lots of Jargon and Acronyms are used. We have compiled a list below to help you understand some of the most used ones around school.


AfL – Assessment for Learning

AfL involves using assessment in the classroom to raise pupils’ achievement. It is based on the idea that pupils will improve most if they understand the aim of their learning, where they are in relation to this aim and how they can achieve the aim (or close the gap in their knowledge).

Baseline Assessment

Small tasks or tests to determine what children can do before they enter Year One and begin to access the National Curriculum.

DFE – Department for Education

“The purpose of the DFE is to make this the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up. We want to make children and young people happy and healthy; keep them safe and sound; give them a top class education; help them stay on track.” (DfE website)

EAL – English as an Additional Language

Refers to children whose first language is not English and who may not yet be speaking English fluently, or even at all.

ELGs – Early Learning Goals

These set out the learning and development skills most children should have achieved by the end of the school Reception year.

EYFS – Early Years Foundation Stage

A framework for care and education of children from birth to five years of age.

Foundation Stage

Covers education provided from 3 years old through to the end of Reception Year.


Members of a school's Governing Body. In state schools they have responsibility for raising school standards through their three key roles of setting strategic direction, ensuring accountability and monitoring & evaluating school performance.

HLTA – Higher Level Teaching Assistant

An HLTA is further qualified to support the class teacher in undertaking specific roles such as teaching the whole class during PPA time or delivering whole class areas of learning such a Letters and Sounds.

PLP – Personal Learning Plan

A PLP identifies the special educational needs of a child and outlines targets and strategies to support their learning. Usually completed by teacher in consultation with the SENCo

KS - Key Stage

There are three Key Stages in a primary school: Foundation Stage (age 4-5), Key Stage One (age 5-7) and Key Stage Two (age 7-11).

LSA – Learning Support Assistant

A member of staff who assists and supports the class teacher in delivering daily lessons to small groups or individuals. LSAs may also deliver specific programmes of support

MFL – Modern Foreign Languages

From September 2010, children from the age of 7 will be entitled to learn a modern foreign language as part of the primary curriculum.

MDA – Mid Day Assistant

One of the many unsung heroes of a school who supervise the children eating and playing during the lunchtime period.

PPA – Planning, Preparation and Assessment

Teachers are entitled to ten per-cent of their weekly teaching time out of the classroom. During this time, teachers will plan future lessons, mark children’s work, undertake small assessment tasks or work alongside a colleague to target a specific area of learning.

SATs – Statutory Assessment Tasks (also referred to as National Tests)

Children are assessed in Maths, English and Science at the end of Key Stage One and English and maths at Key StageTwo and are awarded a level which indicates their ability, compared to the national average.

SEND – Special Educational Needs & Disability

Provision to support pupils who experience difficulties with their learning. In the majority of instances, these are undertaken in school under the guidance of the SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator). Outside agencies may become involved if the school and/or parents feel is will be of benefit to the child.

SDP – School Development Plan

The SDP is a projection of what a school hopes to achieve within a prescribed time limit. This includes all areas of school life from the curriculum to the school building and environment.

SIP – School Improvement Partner

The role of the SIP is to provide expert support to schools in their drive to raise standards

SMT – Senior Management Team

This consists of the Head Teacher, Deputy Head, Assistant Head and possibly other senior members of staff.

Supply Teacher

Staff who provide cover for teachers to attend courses or in the case of illness. Where possible, the school will try to use regular supply teachers who are familiar with the children and school routines.

SAFE - Schools and Families Engaged

Support service provided in school for children and families.