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A - Z & Glossary

Terms for 'A'

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  • A Level

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    The advanced-level general certificate of education usually taken after GCSEs in the last two years of secondary school, at a sixth-form college or  at a college of further education. 

    Also see  AS Levels and A2

  • A2

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    The second part of an A Level, usually consisting of three modules that are assessed at the end of the second year. When taken together with the AS units, it makes up a full A Level.

    Also see  A Level  and AS Levels

  • Absence on medical grounds

    Related areas

    When pupils are absent from school on medical grounds, it is important they are able to keep up with their studies as far as their condition allows. Schools should have a policy and name a person responsible for ensuring these pupils receive the educational support they require.

  • Academy

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    A publicly funded independent school that can benefit from freedoms, including freedom from LA control, the ability to set their own pay and conditions for staff, freedoms around the delivery of the curriculum, and the ability to change the lengths of terms and school days.

  • Achievement and attainment table

    Pupil performance information published every year by the Department, including tables that list National Curriculum test results for primary schools and exam results for secondary schools. These show how different schools compare within their area and in England as a whole.

  • AD(H)D

    Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder: A range of conditions affecting mainly children, which is characterised by difficulty in concentrating, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.

    Also see  Behaviour and SEN

  • Admissions authority

    The body responsible for school admissions policy. This is the local authority for community schools or voluntary-controlled schools, and the school's governing body for voluntary-aided schools.

  • AfL

    Assessment for Learning: The practice of using classroom assessment to improve learning. It involves seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go, and how to get there.

  • AHT

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    • None

    Assistant headteacher. AHTs have roles similar to deputy headteachers but have more restricted areas of whole-school responsibility.

  • Alternative provision

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    Education in an institution other than a mainstream school. This should be based on the needs of the child and may be provided through a variety of routes, including pupil referral units (PRUs).

    Also see  Inclusion and PRU

  • AMP

    Related areas

    • None

    Asset management plan. Sets out the information needed, and the criteria used, to make decisions about spending on school premises as efficiently and effectively as possible in order to raise educational standards.

    Also see  BSF

  • Anti-bullying policy

    An official, agreed way of preventing and dealing with all forms of bullying. Headteachers must, by law, implement an anti-bullying policy.

    Also see  Cyberbullying

  • AOTT

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    Adults other than teachers. AOTTs take on many roles in schools including dinnertime supervisors, classroom assistants, peripatetic teachers and education welfare officers.

  • Applied GCSE

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    A GCSE that is related to an area of work, such as engineering or tourism. Many are available as double awards (worth two traditional GCSEs).

    Also see  GCSE and VQs

  • Apprenticeship

    A way for young people to learn, and gain qualifications, while doing a job and getting a weekly wage.

  • APS

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    Average point score. The APS for a school provides a fuller picture of the Key Stage 2 achievements of pupils of all abilities. It is calculated by using the following formula: (total points for English + total points for maths + total points for science) / (total number of eligible pupils for each subject) = APS.

    Also see  Key stage and GCSE

  • Arm's-length body

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    An organisation that carries out processes of government but is not a Government department or part of one. It operates at arm's length from ministers.

  • AS Levels

    Related areas

    An AS (Advanced Subsidiary) Level usually consists of three modules that are assessed at the end of the first year of post-16 study. It can be taken as a standalone qualification or as the first part of a full A Level.

    Also see  A Level  and A2

  • ASBO

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    Anti-Social Behaviour Order. These are statutory measures that aim to protect the public from behaviour that causes (or is likely to cause) harassment, alarm or distress. ASBOs restrict behaviour, e.g. by prohibiting a return to a certain area. Violating an ASBO can incur up to five years’ imprisonment.

    Also see  Child protection

  • Assessment of a child

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    Generally, an assessment can be defined as any systematic process of assessing the needs, circumstances or progress of a child (or family) against defined norms, an established scale or standardised benchmarks, with the intention of understanding the child's needs (and the family's needs), circumstances or progress, in order to decide on appropriate further action (or to confirm that no additional help is required).

  • Assisted places scheme

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    A scheme through which the Government paid some or all the cost of fees at independent schools on a means-tested basis. It was abolished in 1997.

  • AST

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    Advanced Skills Teacher: A teacher who has passed a national assessment and been appointed to an AST post. The AST grade is designed to reward excellent teachers who wish to remain in the classroom and spend the equivalent of one day per week supporting other teachers in developing their skills.

    Also see   and Learning mentors

  • ASW

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    • None

    Approved social worker: a qualified social worker who has undergone additional training and been approved by the local authority to carry out a range of statutory duties under the Mental Health Act (1983). These include assessing whether a person needs to be detained in hospital compulsorily.

  • At risk

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    Since the Children Act, 1989, came into force, the term 'at risk' has been used to describe a child believed to be at risk of 'significant harm' and therefore in need of protection by the local authority. When a child is described by someone from social services as being 'at risk', this is still likely to be what they mean. However, the term is also used more widely, for example to describe children thought to be at risk of social exclusion. Depending on the context, 'at risk' may refer to children thought to be at risk of offending, social exclusion, or significant harm.

  • Audit Commission

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    • None

    An independent public body responsible for ensuring public money is spent economically, efficiently and effectively in local government, housing, health, criminal justice, and fire and rescue services. It provides impartial information on the quality of public services, and acts as a force for improvement by providing practical recommendations and spreading best practice.

  • Authorised absence

    Absence with permission from a teacher or other authorised representative of the school. This includes instances of absence for which a satisfactory explanation has been provided, such as illness.

  • Awarding organisation

    Formerly referred to as awarding body, this is recognised by the regulators for the purpose of awarding accredited qualifications.