Glossary of Educational Terms

Both teachers and students use a lot of specialised words when talking about education. It is easy for parents and guardians to feel out of touch. 

Here is our 'jargon-busting' breakdown of some common terms and phrases.

Term Meaning
A and AS levels

A (Advanced) level qualifications and AS (Advanced Subsidiary) levels.

Assessment Ways of judging how well pupils are progressing.
Attainment What pupils accomplish.
BTECs Are vocational qualifications that teach the skills that are needed for working life. Each qualification is made up of units. Both the units and the overall BTEC qualifications are given pass, merit or distinction grades.
CH Chapter House.
Creative thinking Generating new ways of looking at a situation.
Critical thinking The ability to analyse information.
Curriculum The National Curriculum sets out the stages and core subjects your child will be taught during his/her time at school.
Differentiation  The way in which the school’s curriculum and teaching methods are adapted to meet the needs of children.
EAL English as an Additional Language. Refers to children whose first language(s) is/are not English.
E Safety A term which means not only the internet but other ways in which young people communicate using electronic media, e.g. mobile phones.  E Safety ensures that children and young people are protected from harm and supported to achieve the maximum benefit from new and developing technologies without risk to themselves or others. Find out more about E Safety at Queen Ethelburga’s.
Equal Opportunities

Chance for everyone to participate in school life/curriculum.

Evaluation How well did it work?

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

G.C.S.E. General Certificate of Secondary Education, which are generally taken over two years by pupils aged 15-16 years old.
Hill Standard

“To be the best that I can with the gifts that I have.", this standard lies at the heart of everything that we try to achieve at QE. Our belief is that there are many ways to be successful in life and our aim is to help each individual find the way that will work best for them.


Head of Department.

HOY  Head of Year.

The abbreviation for International General Certificate of Secondary education.

Independent Learning Learning that enables pupils to think for themselves and to plan and manage their own learning, i.e where a learner acquires knowledge by his or her own efforts and develops the ability for inquiry and critical evaluation.
ISI The Independent Schools Inspectorate is the body responsible for the inspection of schools in membership of the Associations that make up the Independent Schools Council.
Key Stage Your child’s progress through school is measured in Key Stages. Key Stage 1 covers pupils from 5-7, Key Stage 2 from 7-11, Key Stage 3 from 11 to 14 and Key Stage 4  from 14-16.
KM  King’s Magna.
LEARN Listen, Engage, Attend, Respect and Never Give Up.
MFL  Modern Foreign Languages.
SEND  Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
SMSC Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development.
SPaG Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.
TA  Teaching Assistant.
Phonics  Phonics is a system of breaking down words into smaller components of sounds.
Plenary  A part of a lesson where the teacher reviews what’s been learnt, usually through questioning the pupils.
Prior knowledge The knowledge a learner already has about a topic or subject. It is the past knowledge a learner brings to a new learning situation.
Progress  Continuous proven improvement.
QE  Queen Ethelburga’s.
QECV  Queen Ethelburga’s Community Values.
Targets The individual goals set for a child. Targets are a way of checking a child’s progress.
VIVOs Vivos are the points-based reward system that allows students to accumulate points based on their work and behaviour. All staff are allocated Vivos to distribute using the online website or via Vivo stickers in the student planner. Students can then use their points to spend in an online shop. Find out more about Vivos.