You might come across a few words, terms or expressions on which appear in some videos from the United Kingdom. These are acronyms or phrases based on the UK education system. We've compiled a list of some of the terms you might want translated. This list has been compiled with kind help from TeachersTV UK.

Foundation Stages & Key Stages

The most commonly referred terms in UK videos relate to Foundation Stages and Key Stages. For your convenience, we have provided full descriptions.

Foundation Stage 1 and 2 Part-time or Full-time childcare and pre-school between ages 3 to 4

Reception Full-time Pre-school equivalent for children ages 4 to 5. This is the last phase of Foundation.

Key Stage 1 Full-time Infant School / Primary School years which includes:

  • Year 1, ages 5 to 6 (Equivalent to Australian Kindergarten)
  • Year 2, ages 6 to 7

Key Stage 2 Full-time core Junior School / Primary School years which includes:

  • Year 3, ages 7 to 8
  • Year 4, ages 8 to 9
  • Year 5, ages 9 to 10
  • Year 6, ages 10 to 11

Key Stage 3 Full-time High School years which includes:

  • Year 7, ages 11 to 12
  • Year 8, ages 12 to 13
  • Year 9, ages 13 to 14


Key Stage 4 Full-time High School years which includes:

  • Year 10, ages 14 to 15
  • Year 11, ages 15 to 16 (This is the equivalent of the School Certificate In Australia)

Additional: Continued High School Education equivalent to Senior High School in Australia which includes.

  • Year 12, ages 16 to 17
  • Year 13, ages 17 to 18 (This is when A-Levels are completed, the equivalent of the Higher School Certificate or Matriculation qualifications in Australia.

Types of Schools

There are 4 main types of maintained school in England, although, all are funded somewhat by the Local Education Authority. These are:

Community – funded by the Local Education Authority
Foundation – controlled by governing body, eg. By grants.
Voluntary Aided – linked to organisation, such as a church, or London Livery Companies.
Voluntary Controlled – most often church schools.


A-LEVEL - Advanced Level This is the British equivalent of the Australian High School qualification which includes the New South Wales HSC, South Australian Matriculation, Queensland Senior Certificate, Victoria Certificate of Education and Western Australia Year 12.

ACE - Advisory Centre for Education

AfL - Assessment for Learning

ALS - Additional Literacy Support

AOTS - Adults Other Than Teachers

AQA - Assessment and Qualifications Alliance

AREIAC - Association for Religious Education Inspectors, Advisors and Consultants

AS - Advanced Subsidiary Examination

ASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

AST - Advanced Skills Teacher

ASW - Approved Social Worker

ATL - Association of Teachers and Lecturers

BED - Bachelor of Education

BESA - British Education Studies Association

BESA - British Educational Suppliers Association

BESD - Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulties

BETT - British Education and Training Technology

BME - Black and Minority Ethnic

BSF - Building Schools for the Future

BTEC - Business & Technician Education Council Relates to Vocational Studies and trade subjects.

CAD - Computer-Aided Design

CAM - Computer-Aided Manufacturing

CDT - Craft, Design and Technology

CE – Church Of England

CEO - Chief Education Officer

CET - Continuing Education and Training

CFE - College of Further Education

CHIPS - ChildLine in Partnership with Schools

CILT - National Centre for Languages

CLEAPSS - Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services

CLPE - Centre for Literacy in Primary Education

CLPE - Centre for Literacy in Primary Education

CPD - Continuing Professional Development

CSBM - Certificate in School Business Management

D&T - Design and Technology

DCMS - Department for Culture Media and Sport

DCSF - Department for Children, Schools and Families

DfES - Department for Education and Skills This has now been succeeded by the DCSF, the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

EAL - English as an Additional Language

EBD - Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

EBP - Education Business Partnership

EBSD - Emotional Behavioural and Social Difficulties

ECM - Every Child Matters

ELSA - Emotional Literacy Support Assistant

EMAG - Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant

EO - Education Officer

ESW - Educational Social Worker

ET - Excellent Teacher

ETS - Excellent Teacher Status

EY - Early Years

EYFS - Early Years Foundation Stage Foundation Stages related to pre-school education and are explained in full below.

FE - Further Education

FLS - Further Literacy Support

FSW - Family Social Worker

G&T - Gifted and Talented

GCSE - General Certificate of Secondary Education This is the equivalent of Australian School Certificate and Higher School Certificate or Matriculation in Australia. This was traditionally split into O-Level (Ordinary Level) and A-Level (Advanced Level) but is now referred to as GCSE in Britain and outside Britain in places such as Malta or Hong Kong that have adopted the system.


GM - Grant Maintained

GNVQ - General National Vocational Qualification

GTC - General Teaching Council

HAS - Home School Agreement

HE - Higher Education

Headteacher - Principal

HLTA - Higher Level Teaching Assistant

HMCI - Her Majesty`s Chief Inspector of Schools

HMI - Her Majesty's Inspector

ICT - Information Communications Technology

IEP - Individual Education Plan

INSET - In-Service Education and Training

ISW - Inclusion Support Worker

IT - Information Technology

KS - Key Stage Key Stages and Foundation Stages describe school years and ages. A full description is shown above for each Key Stage.

LA - Local Authority

LAC - Looked-After Children

LEA - Local Education Authority

LP - Learning Partnership

LSA - Learning Support Assistant

LSC - Learning and Skills Council

LST - Learning Support Teacher

LSU - Learning Support Unit

MFL - Modern Foreign Languages

NACELL - National Advisory Centre on Early Language Learning

NAHT - National Association of Head Teachers

NASG - National Association of School Governors

NASUWT - National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers

NC - National Curriculum

NCMA - National Childminding Association

NCSL - National College for School Leadership

NESTA - National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts

NFER - National Foundation for Educational Research

NGA - National Governors' Association

NGfL - National Grid for Learning

NLS - National Literacy Strategy

NPQ - National Professional Qualification

NQF - National Vocational Qualification

NQT - Newly Qualified Teacher

NRT - National Remodelling Team

NRwS - New Relationship with Schools

NUT - National Union of Teachers

NVQ - National Vocational Qualification

Ofcom - Office of Communication

OFSTED - Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills

OOSH - Out Of School Hours

OOSHL - Out of School Hours Learning

O-Level - Ordinary Level Now part of the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualification. It is the equivalent to Year 10 School Certificate taken by 14-16 year olds in Australia.

P4C - Philosophy for Children

PAF - Performance Assessment Framework

PANDA - Performance and Assessment

PE - Physical Education

PESS - PE and School Sport

PESSCL - Physical Education School Sports Club Links

PFI - Private Finance Initiative

PfS - Partnerships for Schools

PGCE - Postgraduate Certificate in Education

PNS - Primary National Strategy

PPA - Pre-school Playgroups Association

PRU - Pupil Referral Unit

PSA - Public Service Agreement

PSHE - Personal, Social and Health Education

PTA - Parent Teacher Association

QCA - Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

QCA - Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

QT - Qualified Teacher

QTS - Qualified Teacher Status

RC - Roman Catholics

RE - Religious Education

SALT - Speech and Language Therapy

SAT - Standard Assessment Test

SEAL - Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning

SEBD pupils - Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

Secondary Heads: Principal

SEF - Self Evaluation Form

SEN - Special Educational Needs

SENCO - Special Educational Needs Coordinator

SHA - Secondary Heads Association

SIP - School Improvement Plan (or School Improvement Partner)

SRE - Sex and Relationship Education

TA - Teaching Assistant

TDA - Training and Development Agency for Schools

TES - Times Educational Supplement

VLE - Virtual Learning Environment

WBC - Work-Based Learning

YTS - Youth Training Scheme


Some Teachers TV Australian Terms:

KLA - Key Learning Areas. In each Australian state the curriculum is broken in to KLA or key subjects. In NSW there are 6 these are English, Maths, Science, HSIE, PDHPE, Creative and Performing Arts.

Each of these areas has to be taught separately but as the students develop they become integrated through project work etc.

Still unsure?

For more information, see the UK Education
list of acronyms, or the haven of knowledge, Wikipedia.

If you find an acronym we haven’t listed, contact us, so we can add it to our glossary!

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