Understanding how the A-Z of terms are organised will help you find the terms you are looking for.

Preferred and non-preferred terms

Where two or more terms can be used to express the same concept, we specify the one to be used as the preferred term and list the others as non-preferred terms. Non-preferred terms appear in italics. In the following example, Good practice is the preferred term and Best practice is the non-preferred term.

Best practice USE Good practice
Good practice USED FOR Best practice

Non-preferred terms can be synonyms, near synonyms, abbreviations, alternative spellings or more specific instances of the preferred term. For example:

Information analysis USE Information management
Information handling USE Information management
Information work USE Information management
DfE USE Department for Education

The A-Z of terms includes the names of departmental initiatives and related organisations, but do not include the names of people, companies or places (other than countries or regions).

Form of preferred terms

Please note:

  • We use English spelling throughout, e.g. Labour not Labor.
  • Apostrophes are omitted, e.g. Childrens services.
  • All terms appear in lower case commencing with a capital letter, e.g. Pilot projects.

All terms are expressed as nouns (e.g. Schools, Teachers, Children), or adjectival phrases (e.g. Primary schools, Student teachers, Disadvantaged children).

Nouns that can be expressed in the plural appear in plural form, e.g. Awarding bodies, Teachers, Certificates.

Nouns that can only be singular are expressed in the singular, e.g. Food, Training.

Abstract concepts, properties, activities and disciplines are expressed in the singular, e.g. Religion, Therapy, Psychology.

Scope notes

Scope notes define a term and explain how it should be used, e.g.

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
    Scope Note: A group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Source: NHS Choices; accessed 2011-01-07

Most departmental initiatives and schemes have scope notes which give information about the dates and purpose of the initiative.

Searching A-Z of terms

Enter your search term in the search box. You can enter a word, part of a word or a phrase. The search is not case sensitive. The default setting will retrieve all instances of the search word, e.g. a search for ‘funding’ will retrieve.

  • Fair funding
  • Funding
  • Funding bids
  • Revenue funding for education

Your term will be either a preferred term or a non-preferred term (in italics).

Click on a non-preferred term to see the preferred term, e.g. click on Revenue funding for education to see Recurrent funding.

Click on the preferred term to see its broader term, any narrower and related terms and any scope notes, e.g.


Used For:

  • Financial aid
  • Support (financial)

Broader Term:

  • Finance

Narrower term:

  • Capital funding
  • Grant in aid

Related term:

  • Credit
  • Loans

You can click on any of these terms to see their broader, narrower and related terms.

You can change the default settings for the search method to retrieve only terms beginning with your search word (i.e. a search on Funding will retrieve Funding but not Fair funding). You can also change the display formats to display the relationships or the hierarchy.

In addition, you can browse the A-Z of terms in an alphabetical list of both preferred and non-preferred terms, and you can browse by subject, by clicking down from the top fifteen terms.

  • Common concepts
  • Communication and information
  • Culture and lifestyle
  • Economics and finance
  • Education
  • Employment and career development
  • Environment
  • Government and politics
  • Health
  • Management
  • Organisation
  • Psychology and behaviour
  • Rights, law and order
  • Society
  • Transport