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Easy as ABC (or CPD) – a beginner's guide to education acronyms

Easy as ABC (or CPD) – a beginner's guide to education acronyms

Education is awash with acronyms. ITT is tricky at the best of times, but it can be even harder if you don't know your SLT from your HOYs, HODs or HOFs – or your LOs from your LOs (yes, there are two kinds). Here's our brief guide to the acronyms you are most likely to come across regularly (we would rival War and Peace if we included them all).


ACS – Average class size

Afl – Assessment for learning

ALIS – Advanced Level Indicator System (a personalised monitoring system for older students)

ALPS – Advanced Level Performance System (a programme, based on a national database, that provides reports for schools to help them benchmark and analyse post- 16 performance) AOT – Adult other than teacher

ASD – Autistic spectrum disorder

ASCL – Association of School and College Leaders

AT – Attainment target

ATL – Association of Teachers and Lecturers (a teaching union, which joined with NUT in September 2017 to become the NEU, see below) 


BIP – Behaviour improvement plan

BSP – Behaviour support plan

BTEC – Business and Technology Education Council qualification 


CAF – Common assessment framework (a tool that agencies use to assess if children and families need extra support)

CAMHS – Child and Adult Mental Health Services (an NHS service that assesses and treats young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties)

CCT – Chartered College of Teaching

CIF – Common inspection framework (sets out how Ofsted will inspect schools)

CoP – Code of practice

CP – Child protection

CPD – Continuous professional development

CPDL – Continuous professional development and learning (the same as above) 


DCPO – Designated child protection officer

DfE – Department for Education 


EAL – English as an additional language

Ebacc – English Baccalaureate

EBSD – Emotional, behavioural and social difficulties

EFL – English as a foreign language

EHCP – Education Health and Care Plan (These recently replaced statements of SEND – they document a child's health, educational and social needs, and the adjustments required to support them)

EIP – Early intervention programme

EWO – Education Welfare Officer (usually employed by councils, they work with schools and families to encourage regular attendance)

EY – Early years

EYFS – Early years foundation stage 


FFT – Fischer Family Trust (a charity that supports education research in the UK. It has a number of subsidiaries – FFT Education Limited provides lots of data and analysis to schools about pupil performance, and the trust also set up Education Datalab, a centre for education research)

FSM – Free school meals

FTE – Fixed-term exclusion (or it could be full-time equivalent) 


GB – Governing board

GCSE – General Certificate of Secondary Education

GNVQ – General National Vocational Qualification

GSA – Girls' School Association (represents the heads of some independent and boarding schools)

G&T – Gifted and talented

GTC – General Teaching Council (used to regulate teachers and advise government but was scrapped) 


HLTA – Higher level teaching assistant

HMC – Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (a professional association for leaders of top independent schools)

HMCI – Her Majesty's Chief Inspector (the head of Ofsted, currently Amanda Spielman)

HMI – Her Majesty's Inspector (an Ofsted Inspector)

HOD – Head of department

HOF – Head of faculty

HOY – Head of year

HT – Headteacher

HTB – Headteacher board (a group of academy and local school leaders who support and challenge regional schools commissioners) 


IB – International Baccalaureate

IBP – Individual behaviour plan

IEP – Individual education plan/programme

ILR – Individualised Learner Record (FE's main data collection of the year. All publicly funded FE providers have to submit information that is used to monitor the sector.)

INSET – In-service education and training

ISA – Independent Schools Association (a representative body for heads and staff in independent schools)

ISB – Individual schools budget

ISC – Independent Schools Council (a service organisation that supports and speaks for independent schools and a range of associations in the independent sector)

ISI – Independent Schools Inspectorate (like Ofsted for independent schools that are members of the ISC)

ITE – Initial teacher education

ITT – Initial teacher training

IWB – Interactive whiteboard 


JAR – Joint Area Review (a report into local services for young people)


KS – Key stage (so KS1 would be key stage one – five- to seven-year-olds)


LA – Local authority

LAC – Looked after children (any child cared for by the local authority, for example, in foster care or at home but monitored by social services)

LEA – Local education authority

LO – Learning objective

LO – Lesson observation

LSA – Learning support assistant 


MAT – Multi-academy trust

MFL – Modern foreign languages

MLD – Moderate learning difficulties 


NAHT – National Association of Head Teachers

NASBM – The National Association of School Business Management (a trade association for school business managers)

NASUWT – National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers

NCTL – National College for Teaching and Leadership (in charge of developing the teaching workforce, including allocating teacher training places, developing teaching schools and dishing out prohibition orders for disciplinary hearings)

NEU – National Education Union (an amalgamation of the NUT – see below – and ATL – see above – teaching unions that started in September 2017 with full amalgamation in 2019) NPQ – National professional qualification

NtG – Narrowing the gap

NUT – National Union of Teachers

NQT – Newly-qualified teacher 


Ofsted – Office for Standards in Education

Ofqual – Office for Qualifications and Examinations Regulator 


PCGE – Postgraduate Certificate of Education

PP – Pupil premium (additional funding that is specifically to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils)

PPA – Planning, preparation and assessment

PRP – Performance-related pay

PRU – Pupil referral unit

PSHE – Personal, social and health education (if you see a C near the end, it also includes citizenship)

PTA – Parent teacher association

PTR – Pupil teacher ratio


QTS – Qualified teacher status


RAISEonline – Reporting and Analysis for Improvement through School Self Evaluation (online)

RoA – Record of achievement

RSC – Regional schools commissioner (these support and manage academies and free schools in their areas) 


SATs – Statutory Assessment Tasks

Scitt – School-centred initial teacher training

SCR – Single central record

SDP – School development plan

SEF – Self evaluation form

SEN – Special educational needs

SENCo – Special educational needs coordinator

SEND – Special educational needs and disability

SIMS – School Information Management System (a data tool that many schools use)

SIP – School improvement plan

SLD – Severe learning difficulties

SLE – Specialist leader in education (experienced middle and senior leaders who support colleagues in other schools with leadership)

SLT – Senior leadership team

SMT – Senior management team

SoW – Scheme of work

SPaG – Spelling punctuation and grammar

STRB – School Teachers Review Body (an advisory body that makes recommendations to government about salaries, duties and working hours, among other things) 


TA – Teaching assistant

TES – Times Educational Supplement

TGIF – Thank God it's Friday (a feeling every student teacher will know well) 


UPS – Upper pay scale

UCAS – University and College Admissions Service 


VLE – virtual learning environment (online platforms where teachers can deliver learning, share materials and communicate with students)

This article is taken from the EdCentral Alternative Student Teacher Manual, which is available to download for free. 

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Comments 1

Guest - International Foundation Group (website) on Thursday, 10 October 2019 07:56

This is the Great Content I ever read on teacher top tips. it's written well with detail. Thanks for sharing.

This is the Great Content I ever read on teacher top tips. it's written well with detail. Thanks for sharing.
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