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The School Year

The school year runs from September to July and is 39 weeks long.
For many areas the year is divided into six terms:

  • September to October
  • October to December
  • January to February
  • February to March
  • April to May
  • June to July

(Some counties in England still follow the traditional three terms a year.)
The dates for school terms and holidays are decided by the local authority or the governing body of a school, or by the school itself for independent schools.

School holidays

The main school holidays are:

  • Christmas- 2 weeks
  • Spring - 2 weeks
  • Summer - 6 weeks

There are also one week holidays:

    • end of October
    • mid February
    • end of May



Academy (academy,academies,Academy,Academies): A new category of publicly funded independent school. Academies may not charge fees. They are located in areas of disadvantage and must cater for pupils of different abilities. They have sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups working with partners from the local community. They must provide a broad and balanced curriculum with anemphasis on a particular curriculum area or areas.

Access course (access courses): Offered largely by further education institutions, access courses aim to prepare students without academic qualifications for higher education. These courses are aimedmainly at mature students and are designed and taught to meet their needs. Some provide access to a particular institution of higher education, which may thus be involved in designing the course, butmost are designed to offer access to higher education in general or to a particular area of study.
General Certificate of Education Advanced-level (GCE A-levels,GCE A-level,General Certificate of  Education A-levels,General Certificate of Education Advanced-level examinations,A-level,GeneralCertificate of Education A-level,GCE,General

Certificate of Education Advanced-levels
): A single subject examination normally taken at age 18, usually following two years of study after the General Certificate of Secondary Education. Students normally attempt three subjects, but there are no formal requirements for a minimum or maximum number.

A-level in applied subjects (A-levels in applied subjects,A-levels in applied subjects): A-levels in applied subjects are aimed primarily at young people over compulsory school age who remain in fulltime education, although they are available to students of any age. A-levels in applied subjects emphasise knowledge, skills and understanding in broad vocational areas and are intended to offer acomprehensive preparation for employment, as well as a route to higher-level qualifications.

Areas of study (area of study):
Term used to describe the compulsory subjects prescribed by thestandard curriculum introduced for pupils in Northern Ireland under the provisions of the Education Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.

Articles of Government
: A legal document which sets out the powers and duties of governing bodies. Assembly sponsored Public Body (Assembly-Sponsored Public Bodies,Assembly-sponsored Public Body,ASPB,ASPBs,Assembly-sponsored public body): Particular to Wales. These bodies are set up,sometimes under statute, to carry out specific functions on behalf of government. However, although they are government funded, they are not government departments or part of governmentdepartments and their staff do not have civil servant status.

Attainment target (attainment targets):
Attainment targets define the expected standards of pupil performance in terms of level descriptions at end of key stage descriptions. They provide the basis for making judgements on pupils' attainment in particular aspects of a subject at the end of each key stage.

Awarding body (awarding bodies,awarding body's,awarding bodies'):
An organisation which awards qualifications such as GCSE and GCE A levels and NVQs. Awarding bodies include, for example, the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA). Professional bodies which award their own qualifications are also awarding bodies, as are Sector Skills Councils who award their own National Vocational Qualifications.

Bachelor of Arts (BA):
(BA). A first degree usually specialising in one area in the field of the arts or humanities, e.g. languages, geography, history, classics or a combination of these.

Bachelor of Science (BSc):
(BSc). A first degree usually specialising in one area in the field of science, e.g. chemistry, mathematics or combinations of these.

Baseline assessment (baseline assessment):
The statutory assessment of children on entry to primary school, at age four or five. Baseline assessment takes place within the first seven weeks of a pupil entering primary education in Wales. In Northern Ireland, although it is recommended that baseline assessment should take place in the September or October of a child's first year at school, it need, only, by law, take place before the end of the pupil's first year in primary education. Baseline assessment is no longer undertaken in England where it has been replaced by the ["foundation stage profile"].

block release course (block release courses,Block-release courses
): Courses for which employers release their employees for blocks of time for the purpose of training, usually in a further education institution.
Board of Governors (Boards of Governors): The legally required governing body of grant-aided schools in Northern Ireland, that is those which receive financial support from the Department of Education Eurybase - England, Wales and Northern Ireland - (2007/08)

www.eurydice.org 438(DE). The Board of Governors comprises elected parents and teachers and there is provision for members of the local and business community to be co-opted.

City college for the technology of the arts (CCTAs,city colleges for the technology of the arts,CCTA):
Institution in England which offers secondary education and operates in the same way as a city technology college but provides a general education for pupils with an emphasis on the technology of the arts.

City technology college (CTCs,city technology colleges,CTC):
A secondary school which offers 7 years of full-time education for pupils aged 11 to 18. Admission is determined by each institution, but all institutions must admit pupils spanning the full range of ability. They provide general education with an emphasis on technology. As in maintained schools at secondary level, there are three main cycles; key stage 3 (age 11 to 14), key stage 4 (age 14 to 16) and post 16. All pupils follow a common core curriculum (statutory curriculum) up to the end of key stage 4 but with an emphasis on mathematics,science and technology. Pupils take general and/or vocational examinations at age 16 and at age 18. CTCs are classified as independent (private) schools and are managed by sponsors or promoters (e.g.private companies, charitable foundations), who operate under contract to the Department forEducation and Skills (DfES). The DfES provides an annual grant. These institutions are nondenominational and co-educational. No fees are payable.

Community school (Community schools,community school,community schools, community special schools):
A legal category of maintained school in England and Wales, which superseded the category of county school in 1999. The local authority owns the school’s land and buildings, employs the school staff, has primary responsibility for deciding the arrangements for admitting pupils and fully funds the school for both revenue and capital expenditure.

Comprehensive school (comprehensive schools):
A school providing secondary education which admits pupils of all academic abilities. Most secondary schools in England and all secondary schools in Wales are comprehensive schools.

Contributory subject (contributory subjects):
'Areas of study' in the curriculum in Northern Ireland comprise contributory subjects, some of which are compulsory.

Controlled integrated school (controlled integrated schools):
A legal category of grant-aided school in Northern Ireland which may be primary or post-primary (secondary) level. These schools are owned, managed and fully funded for revenue and capital expenditure by Education and Library Boards. This category of school is non-denominational and was introduced to provide integrated education for Catholic and Protestant pupils.

Controlled school (controlled schools):
A legal category of grant-aided school in Northern Ireland which may be pre-primary, primary or post-primary (secondary) level. These schools are owned, managed and fully funded by Education and Library Boards for both revenue and capital expenditure. They are non-denominational, but educate mainly Protestant pupils.

Core subject (core subjects):
A core subject is a compulsory subject under the National Curriculum in England and Wales. It is defined as one 'without which other learning cannot take place effectively'. In England, the three core subjects are English, mathematics and science, because competence in language, numeracy and scientific method is considered a necessary basis for the remainder of the curriculum and for all aspects of adult life. In Wales, Welsh is a core subject in Welsh-medium schools.

Cross-curricular theme (cross-curricular themes):
Strands of provision which run through the National Curriculum in England and Wales and may also extend into religious education and provision outside the basic curriculum. These include, at appropriate stages, such aspects as careers education, health education, political and international understanding. Cross-curricular themes are also a feature of the Northern Ireland Curriculum.

Day nursery (day nurseries):
A pre-school setting which provides day care for children under 5 years and may be public or private in England and Wales (private only, in Northern Ireland). Education is often provided for children from age 3. Private bodies may receive Government funding for the education of children for three terms prior to the child reaching statutory school age, but this is due to be extended. If receiving Government funding, pre-school settings are inspected by the relevanteducation inspection body. They must work towards the early learning goals or desirable learning outcomes for pre-primary children (or, in Northern Ireland, the curricular guidance for pre-primary education) which are centred on six main areas of learning. They are normally co-educational and nondenominational.

day-release course (day release course,day release):
Courses which students, who are usually in employment, attend typically one day per week.

release course (day-release course,day-release courses):
Course for which employees may be released by their employer for one or two days per week.

Designated institution (designated institutions):
Voluntary-aided sixth-form colleges and other institutions in England and Wales which have been designated as further education institutions under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 as amended by the Learning and Skills Act 2000. These institutions are funded by the Learning and Skills Council in England and the National Council for Education and Training for Wales (National Council - ELWa) respectively.

Desirable learning outcomes (desirable learning outcomes):
This term is used, in Wales, for the official goals for learning for children by the time they reach compulsory school age. They are equivalent to the early learning goals in England.

directed duties:
In England and Wales, full-time classroom teachers in schools and sixth-form colleges must perform duties as directed by the headteacher (or employer) for 1265 hours in any school year. The headteacher may also specify the times and places the duties must be performed, provided they are allocated reasonably throughout those days (195) in the school year on which the teacher is required to work. Any additional time (beyond the 1265 hours) required for a teacher to effectivelydischarge his professional duties, such as the marking of pupils’ work, the writing of pupils’ reports and the preparation of lessons, teaching material and teaching programmes is dependent on the work needed to discharge the teacher’s duties and cannot be defined by the employer .

Doctorate (Doctorates):
Higher degree normally awarded to students after 3 years of full-time individual research, on the basis of a thesis, which must be based on original research and thought, clearly presented and “add to mankind’s pool of knowledge”.

Early learning goals (early learning goals):
Early learning goals, introduced in September 2000, set out what children are expected to achieve by the end of the reception year (not when children reach statutory school age) in England. This guidance is an integral part of the Foundation stage and it includes goals which are inline with the national strategies for numeracy and literacy. The equivalent in Wales are desirable learning outcomes.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS):
England: the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) will be introduced from September 2008. The EYFS will establish a single framework covering care, learing and development from birth to the August after their fifth birthday.

Education and Library Board (ELB,ELBs,Education and Library Boards,Education and Library Board,):
The regional bodies in Northern Ireland which are currently responsible for the local administration of primary and secondary education. Following a major review of public administration in Northern Ireland, a single education autthority will be created by 2008.

Education welfare officer (education welfare officers,EWO,EWOs):
Also sometimes known as 'social workers in education', education welfare officers are employed by the local education authority to monitor school attendance and combat persistent pupil absence.

Foundation degree (foundation degrees):
New employment-related higher education qualifications introduced in September 2001. Foundation degrees are designed to prepare people for work in particular sectors of business or industry by ensuring that they have the mix of knowledge and skills employers in those sectors need. They can be studied full time over 2 years or pro-rata part time.

foundation governor (foundation governors):
Governors who represent the interest of the founding body on the school governing body. Foundation governors are appointed to make sure that the character of the school is preserved and developed.

Foundation phase (foundation phase,Foundation phase,):
A new foundation phase of education for three- to seven-year-olds will be introduced in Wales from September 2008. The foundation phase will provide a more informal system of learning, based on well-structured play, practical activity and investigation that will replace the formal learning which children aged five to seven (in key stage 1 of primary education) currently experience. It is intended that the foundation phase will be fully introduced by the end of the 2010/11 school year.

Foundation schools (Foundation school,foundation schools,foundation school):
A legal category of maintained school in England and Wales, which in 1999 superseded the category of grant-maintained school (originally introduced in 1988). The governing body employs the school staff and has primary responsibility for admission arrangements. The school’s land and buildings are owned by trustees or by a charitable foundation. Foundation schools are fully funded by local education authorities for both revenue and capital expenditure.

Foundation stage (foundation stage,Foundation Stage):
England: The foundation stage of education caters for children from age three to the end of the reception class (usually aged five). It was introduced in September 2000 and formally established under the Education Act 2002. Many children attend some form of pre-school or nursery education, either full or part-time during the foundation stage; some attend a number of different settings. A few children remain at home during the foundation stage, only attending school at the beginning of year 1 (aged 5+).

Northern Ireland
: A foundation stage of education for Years 1 and 2 of primary school (pupils aged four to six) was introduced in September 2007. As a result, key stage 1 now covers Years 3 and 4 (pupils aged six to eight) of primary school, rather than Years 1 to 4 (pupils aged four to eight), as was previously the case. The foundation stage aims to build on a range of diverse previous learning experiences that children have had by providing them with an appropriate developmental learning programme.

Foundation stage profile (foundation stage profile,Foundation Stage Profile):
The foundation stage profile is a national assessment scheme in England which begins when children enter the foundation stage (from age three) and is completed when children reach the end of the reception class (usually at age five). It became statutory under the Education Act 2002. Early years practitioners make informal observations of each child's development in relation to the prescribed curriculum. The foundation stage profile provides a way of summing up these observations at the end of the foundation stage.

Foundation subject (foundation subjects):
In England and Wales, compulsory National Curriculum subjects which are not designated as core subjects. Foundation subjects are not necessarily obligatory throughout the compulsory stages of education.

Further education college (further education colleges,further education institution,further education institutions,FE colleges,FE colleges,)
: Establishments providing full- or part-time education and training for students over compulsory school leaving age (16 years) and outside the university sector. Traditionally, further education colleges offered vocational courses. They now tend to offer a combination of academic and vocational courses, but some remain specialised, as e.g. colleges of agriculture and horticulture, technical colleges, colleges of art and of commerce. See also, tertiary colleges and sixth form colleges.

Further education corporation (further education corporations,FE corporation,FE corporations):
This term describes the autonomous status granted under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 to further education colleges, tertiary colleges and sixth form colleges under local education authority control in England and Wales, which have at least 15 per cent of their students attending full-time.

Further education institution (further education institution,FEI,further education institutions,Further education institutions,):
Institutions which provide full- and part-time education, outside the higher education sector, largely for persons over compulsory school age(16 years), including vocational, academic, social, physical and recreational courses. They include further education colleges and, in England and Wales only, sixthform colleges and tertiary colleges. They are funded by the Learning and Skills Council in England and the National Council for Education and Training for Wales (ELWa). They are publicly funded autonomous bodies. Fees are not payable for full-time participants under age19 and for other participants in receipt of certain state benefits.

General Certificate of Education Advanced Subsidiary qualification (GCE AS qualification,GCE Advanced Subsidiary qualification,GCE AS Qualifications,GCE AS Qualification,GCE AS qualifications,GCE Advanced Subsidiary qualifications,General Certificate of Education Advanced Subsidiary Qualifications,GCE AS Qualification):
GCE Advanced Subsidiary qualifications replaced GCE Advanced Supplementary examinations in September 2000. GCE AS qualifications, introducedwith the aim of broadening the subjects studied by pupils in the first year of a GCE A-level course, arethree-unit qualifications covering half the content of a full (six-unit) GCE A-level.

General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE,GCSEs,General Certificates of Secondary Education):
Replaced both General Certificate of Education Ordinary-level Certificate and the Certificate of Secondary Education in 1988. A single-subject examination normally taken at age 16, and intended to be the main method of assessment at this age, under the National Curriculum assessment arrangements. Students take a range of subjects (normally between five and eight). From Spetember 2002, vocational GCSEs replaced Foundation, Intermediate and Part One GNVQs.

General National Vocational Qualification (General National Vocational Qualifications,GNVQ,GNVQs):
General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) were broad vocational qualifications related to a particular industry or sector of the economy. GNVQs were available as Part One GNVQ qualifications (primarily aimed at pupils in key stage 4 of compulsory education, aged 14-16), and as Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced level which were aimed primarily at students aged 16+ in full-time education (although they could be taken by pupils of any age). The GCSE in vocational subjects and the A-level in applied subjects have largely replaced the GNVQ which has virtually been phased out.

Grammar school (grammar schools):
Secondary schools which select their pupils by ability are commonly known as grammar schools. These exist in most areas of Northern Ireland and in some areas in England.

aided school (grant-aided schools,grant-aided school,aided school,aided schools,Grant-aided schools,grant-aided):
In Northern Ireland, publicly funded primary or secondary schools which include: controlled schools, controlled integrated schools, grant-maintained integrated schools, maintained schools and voluntary grammar schools. The equivalent term in England and Wales is maintained school.

Grant-maintained integrated school (GMI schools,grant-maintained integrated schools):
The category of grant-maintained integrated schools (GMI schools) was established by the Education Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 to provide education for Roman Catholic and Protestant children together. Recurrent and capital expenditure is wholly met by the Department of Education (DE). New integrated schools may receive public funding when they first open. Existing schools may seek integrated status if a majority of pupils' parents at a non-integrated school vote by secret ballot to doso. The provision for GMI status is exclusive to Northern Ireland.

Higher degree (Higher degrees,higher degree,higher degrees,higher degree):
A degree, which follows a first degree, e.g. a master's degree or a doctorate.

HMCI (HMCI,Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools):

 In England: Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England and the Head of OFSTED, the Office of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England.
 In Wales: Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales and Head of Estyn, Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales.

HMI (HMI,HMIs): In England: Her Majesty's Inspector(s) of Schools in England.
 In Wales: Her Majesty's Inspector(s) of Education and Training in Wales. HMI are on the staff of OFSTED or Estyn. They monitor the work of the indpendent school inspection teams, working under contract to OFSTED or Estyn, follow up the progress of school identified as causing concern, and provide the advice necessary to regulate and monitor the school insection system, evaulate the effects of educational policy and follow up on issues and concerns.

Independent school (independent school,independent schools):
A private or independent school is any school at which full-time education is provided for five or more pupils of compulsory school age (whether or not such education is already provided for pupils over or under that age). The term does not include a school maintained by a local (LA), a self-governing foundation school or a special school not maintained by an LA.

Instrument of Government (Instruments of Government):
A legal document which sets out the composition of governing bodies and their working rules.

Key stage (Key stages,key stage,key stages):
The periods in each pupil's education to which the elements of the National Curriculum apply. There are four key stages, normally related to the age of the majority of the pupils in a teaching group. In England and Wales these are:
beginning of compulsory education (age 5) to 7, 7-11, 11-14 and 14 to the end of compulsory education at 16.

In Northern Ireland they are
: the beginning of compulsory education (age 4) to 8, 8-11, 11-14 and 14 to the end of compulsory education at 16.

Level description (level descriptions,level,levels):
Level descriptions in the National Curriculum are the basis for judging children's levels of attainment at the end of key stages 1, 2 and 3. Level descriptions indicate the type and range of performance which children working at a particular level should characteristically demonstrate.There are eight level descriptors in the scale, with children at the end of the key stage 1 typically expected to reach level two, and those at the end of key stage 2, level four.

By the end of key stage 3, pupils are expected to be performing within the range three-seven (typically at level 5), with level eight being for very able pupils. (A description above level eight is provided to differentiate exceptional performance.)

Local authority (Local education authorities,LEA,local education authorities,LEAs,local education authority,local authority,local authorities,LAs,LA,):
The'local authority' referred to in this database is the tier of local government with responsibility for education. Until recently, the function of the local  authority in respect of education was universally described by the term 'local education authority' (LEA). Although the term 'LEA' is still in common usage, and still features in education legislation, it is now Government policy that it should no longer be used. This reflects the Government's key agenda to improve outcomes for children by promoting greater cooperation between agencies delivering children's services and the requirement introduced by the Children Act 2004 for local authorities in England to appoint a Director for Children's Services (DCS). It is anticipated that legislative referencesto the ‘local education authority’ will be converted to ‘local authority’ in due course.

Local management of schools (LMS): The Education Reform Act 1988 in England and Wales established that individual schools, with a few exceptions, should assume more responsibility for their own management. As a result of this policy of local management of schools, responsibility for the financial and general management of the school, including many of the responsibilities relating to the recruitment, deployment and remuneration of teaching and non-teaching staff were delegated from the local authorities (LAs) to school governing bodies. A similar system operates in Northern Ireland. Thefunding schemes were formerly known as local management of schools (LMS) schemes, under whichLAs delegated funding to schools and have been known as 'fair funding' schemes.

Maintained school (maintained school,maintained schools,maintained): A term used to define a publicly-funded primary school or secondary school in England and Wales. It includes: community schools, foundation schools, voluntary aided schools and voluntary controlled schools. These schools are funded by local authorities. In Northern Ireland this term describes a legal category of grant-aided school which are mostly owned by trustees, usually representatives of Roman Catholic churches and fully funded by the Education and Library Boards for revenue expenditure and mainly funded by the Department of Education (Northern Ireland) for capital expenditure. These institutions are normally coeducational,but can be single sex. No fees are payable.

Master's degree (Master's degrees,Master's degree,master's degree,master's degrees):
A master's degree is a higher degree that normally requires one or two years' full-time study, or the part-time equivalent. They may be taught degrees or research degrees but both usually require the student to undertake a supervised project or dissertation.
Middle school (middle school,middle schools): In some areas of England, where a three-tier system is in operation, pupils progress from a first/primary school to a middle school at the age of 8 or 9 from which they transfer to a secondary school at the age of 12/13. A middle school is legally a primary school or a secondary school depending on the age of the majority of its pupils.

National Curriculum
: Requirements for the curriculum for all pupils of compulsory school age (5-16) in England and Wales were introduced under the Education Reform Act 1988, and are now governed by the Education Act 1996. Pupils are required to follow a basic curriculum comprising the National Curriculum subjects and religious education. The National Curriculum and religious education do not, however, constitute the whole curriculum for schools.

Non-departmental public body (non-departmental public bodies,Non-departmental public bodies,nondepartmental public body,NDPB,NDPBs):
These bodies are set up, sometimes under statute, to carry out specific functions on behalf of government. However, although they are government funded, they are not government departments or part of government departments and their staff do not have civil servant status.

National Vocational Qualification (National Vocational Qualifications,NVQ,NVQs):
NVQs are jobspecific vocational qualifications aimed largely at people who have already left full-time education.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Parliamentary Under-Secretaries,Parliamentary Under- Secretary,parliamentary under secretary,Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State):
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries are Members of Parliament who support and assist the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, for Wales or for Northern Ireland and, where applicable, their Ministers of State.

Pastoral care (pastoral care):
The guidance given to pupils by school staff relating to their academic, personal and social development, attendance and behaviour.

Permanent Secretary:
The chief civil servant in a government department who is responsible directly to the Secretary of State.

Postgraduate (Postgraduates,postgraduate,postgraduates):
A postgraduate programme is one which normally requires a bachelor's degree as a condition of entry. Postgraduate programmes include not only programmes leading to a higher degree such as a masters degree or a doctorate, but also advanced short courses which often form parts of continuing professional development programmes and which lead to a postgraduate certificate or postgraduate diploma.

Post primary (Post-primary,post primary):
The collective term used in Northern Ireland to describe secondary schools and secondary level education.

Pre school setting (Pre-school setting,pre-school setting,Pre-school settings,pre-school settings):
Preschool setting is the collective term used to describe the range of public, private and voluntary provision of pre-primary education, for children aged two and a half or three years to five years. They include pre-school groups or playgroups, day nurseries, nursery centres and nursery schools.

Privy Council (Privy Councils):
In the United Kingdom, the Privy Council is a body of advisors to the Sovereign. The chief officer of the Privy Council is normally the leader of either the House of Lords or the House of Commons. The Sovereign exercises executive authority by making Orders-in-Council upon the advice of the Privy Council. Orders-in-Council, which are drafted by the Government rather than by the Sovereign, are used to make simple government regulations and to make government appointments. The Privy Council deals with a wide variety of matters, including coinage, university statutes, the dates of Bank Holidays and the appointment of government ministers.

Programme of study (programme of study,programmes of study):
The knowledge, skills and processes which must be taught to pupils in each subject area during each key stage of the National Curriculum, in order for them to meet the objectives set out in 'Attainment Targets'.Pupil referral unit (PRUs,pupil referral units,Pupil Referral Units): Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) are legally a type of school established and maintained by a local authority to provide education for children of compulsory school age who may otherwise not receive suitable education. Pupils attending the units may include, teenage mothers, pupils excluded from school, school phobics and pupils in the assessment phase of a statement.

Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS):
'Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills' (QTLS) is an award for teachers in the learning and skills sector. It covers both taught and practical skills, and is the equivalent of 'Qualified Teacher Status' in schools. There are two stages to the QTLS qualification. The first stage is an initial 'passport to teaching' module. The second stage is full teacher training, which would typically take up to five years to complete. QTLS will be introduced in full from September 2007.

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS):
In England and Wales, all teachers who teach in maintained schools for pupils of compulsory school age (5-16) and those appointed since 1st September 1989 to teach in nursery schools (2-5) are required to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Qualified Teacher Status is awarded by the Secretary of State on satisfactory completion of an approved course of initial teacher education.

Reception class (reception classes
): In England and Wales, a primary school class catering for 4 to 5- year olds is known as the reception class. In many schools, children are admitted to reception in the September following their 4th birthday. This can be up to a year before they reach compulsory school age. In other schools, admission is phased throughout the year as children reach or approach compulsory school age. In Northern Ireland, where compulsory education begins earlier (the September following the 4th birthday if this date falls on or before 1 July), some schools provide reception places for children who have reached their 4th birthday but are below compulsory school age.

Reporting Inspector (reporting inspector, RI):
Reporting Inspector (NI) (Northern Ireland). Leads the inspection team and is responsible for drawing together the main findings in a report sandwich course (sandwich courses): A sandwich course is a course which combines academic study with a clearly defined work placement, which is approved by the institution providing the course.

School governing body (school governors,school governing bodies,School governing bodies,school governing body's,school's governing body,school's governing bodies,school’s governing body,governing bodies,governing body):
All maintained schools in England and Wales must have a school governing body, comprising representatives of the local authority, representatives of the foundation body (foundation schools), the community, parents and the staff (teaching and nonteaching) of the school. The body is responsible for making decisions on the general direction of the school and its curriculum, and are all now subject to the requirements of the National Curriculum and other legal requirments. In Northern Ireland the equivalent body is known as the 'Board of Governors'.

School organisation committee (SOCs,school organisation committees):
A school organisation committee is a body established under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 to plan and organise school places in local areas. The committee comprises representatives of local authorities, the Church of England, Roman Catholic dioceses, school governors and the Learning and Skills Council (National Council for Education and Training in Wales).

Secretary of State (Secretaries of State,Secretary of State's,):
A government Minister (appointed by the Prime Minister) who is responsible for a government department. The Secretary of State is a member of the Cabinet and is assisted by the Ministers of State and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries. The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is accountable to Parliament for giving direction to and controlling the public education system in England. In Wales similar duties are carried out by the Assembly Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning and, in Northern Ireland by the Excutive'sMinister for Education and the Minister for Employment and Learning.

Sixth form college (Sixth-form college,sixth-form college,sixth-form colleges,sixth form college,sixth form colleges):
A type of further education institution, in England and Wales, which offers full-time, largely general education courses, for students aged 16 to 18. Until 1992, these institutions were part of the school sector and were governed by schools regulations. These are funded by the Learning and Skills Council in England, and in Wales by the National Council for Education and Training for Wales (ELWa).

Sixth form (sixth form,sixth-form,sixth forms,sixth-forms):
Where students follow courses of postcompulsory upper secondary education in schools, the sixth form is the term used to describe this school phase. Students are usually in Years 12 and 13 of school education and aged 16+ to 18 years.

Special educational needs (special educational needs,SEN,special educational need,):
Term used to describe the requirements of children with difficulties in one of the following areas: learning, behaviour or emotional, social or physical development, which either affect their educational progress or require provision other than that normally made. In England and Wales, if a child is considered to need additional provision to that which is made generally available, the local education authority is obliged to consider the issue of a formal statement of the child's identified needs with proposals to meet them.The child is described as 'statemented'.

Special school (special schools,special school):
Special schools provide education for children whose 'special educational needs' cannot be met in an ordinary school. Special schools are generally much smaller than mainstream schools and have a lower pupil/teacher ratio.

Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE,SACREs,Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education,Standing advisory council for religious education):
Under the Education Act 1996, every local authority in England and Wales must establish a Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE). Its function is to regulate religious education in the authority's schools.

Statement of special educational needs (statement of special educational needs,statements of special educational needs,Statements of special education needs):
A statement of special educational needs is a formal statement which a local (LA) may issue to identify the specific educational needs of a child. The document also lists the special educational provision required and various other proposals to meet these needs.

Statutory Instrument (Statutory Instruments):
Acts of Parliament often give government ministers or other authorities the power to regulate administrative details by means of 'delegated' or secondary legislation. This mostly takes the form of Orders and Regulations made by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in England and, in Wales, the Ministry for Education and Lifelong Learning. These are collectively known as statutory instruments.

Supply teacher (supply teacher,supply teachers,Supply teachers):
Staff who provide temporary cover for absent teachers. Supply teachers may be self-employed or recruited by a supply teacher agency.
Tertiary college (tertiary colleges): A type of further education institution, in England and Wales, which combines the functions of a further education college and a sixth-form college, and which offers the full range of courses, including basic education and general and vocational education and training, largely to students over compulsory school age (16) including adults.

Undergraduate (undergraduate,Undergraduates,undergraduate):
An undergraduate programme is one which leads to a bachelor's degree, foundation degree, higher education certificate or diploma or equivalent.

Voluntary aided schools (voluntary aided school,Voluntary aided schools,Voluntary aided school):
A legal category of a maintained school at primary and secondary education level in England and Wales. They were established by voluntary bodies (mainly the Catholic church and the Church of England) and the school’s land and buildings are normally owned by trustees or a charitable foundation. They receive their revenue funding from the local authority, and the majority of their capital funding from central government but must contribute 15% to capital costs. The school governing body employs the school staff and has primary responsibility for admission arrangements.

Voluntary controlled school (Voluntary controlled schools,voluntary controlled schools,voluntary controlled school,voluntary controlled school,voluntary controlled schools):
A legal category of maintained school at primary and secondary education level in England and Wales. They were established by voluntary bodies (mainly the Church of England) and the school’s land and buildings are normally owned by trustees or a charitable foundation. They are fully funded for both revenue and capital costs by local authorities. The LA employs the school staff and has primary responsibility for admission arrangements.

Voluntary grammar school (Voluntary grammar schools,voluntary grammar school):
A legal category of secondary school in Northern Ireland. Owned by trustees and fully funded for revenue costs by the Department of Education, although some may contribute an element towards capital costs depending on their agreement with the Department of Education. Minimal (capital) fees may be charged in some schools. These institutions are selective, may be single-sex or co-educational and may be denominational or non-denominational.

Dormitory:
A large bedroom shared by boarders (often called a ‘dorm’ or a bedroom). Younger pupils may share with up to six friends; older boarders are more likely to be in smaller rooms.

Exeat: A weekend when boarders are usually not in school, but will go to guardians in the UK. In some schools, international boarders may stay at school for exeats.

Extracurricular activities: Activities taking place outside the formal curriculum, which are designed to encourage non-academic skills and experiences.

Headmaster/mistress: The person in charge of the school, often called the ‘Head’.

Houseparent (also known as housemaster/mistress): The person responsible for the care and supervision of boarders in a boarding house. They are usually assisted by other members of staff such as matrons or tutors. Many houseparents also teach during the day.

Independent Schools Council (ISC): The unified organisation promoting the common interests of member schools in the political arena.

Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI):
ISI is responsible for inspecting the standards of education in independent schools. Inspections are held every six years.
Matron: Often a member of staff with pastoral or domestic responsibilities for boarders, not necessarily medically qualified. Anyone known as a school nurse must be qualified. National Minimum Standards: The 52 standards of care for boarders against which schools are judged for their performance in boarding. Gradings will, in future, go from 1 for Outstanding to 4 for Inadequate (a change from the previous gradings, in which 4 was the highest score, and 1 meant the particular standard had not been met). Inspections are held every three years.

Ofsted: The body that regulates and inspects schools’ boarding provision. Inspectors consider the welfare, health and safety of boarders, and talking to boarders themselves is an important part of the inspection process.

Prep: The term commonly used to mean homework. (Also used as an abbreviation of ‘preparatory’.)

Sixth form: The final two years at school, in which pupils aged 16–18 study for AS- and A-levels or equivalent qualifications.