Academies are independent state-funded schools. These schools have more freedom over their finances, the curriculum they teach and teachers’ pay and conditions. These schools are funded directly by central government rather than by the local authority. Some academies are sponsored and these sponsors can come from a range of backgrounds (businesses, other successful schools, universities, charities and faith bodies). Sponsors are held accountable for improving the performance of their schools. You can complete your induction year in an academy. Find out more on the DfE’s Academies pages
Attention Deficit Disorder A condition whereby a child has a short concentration span and is unable to stay on task. See ADHD.
A condition whereby a child has difficullty in maintaining concentration and is unable to stay on task due to hyperactivity. See ADD. More information from the Mental Health Foundation.
The official body responsible for rules offering school places, it also decides which children will be offered a place. For most schools, this is the governing body, but for community and voluntary controlled schools this is the local authority. Read Directgov’s information on school admissions
These are rules agreed by the admission authority to decide who will get school places. Criteria are usually used where there are more applicants than places available. See Directgov's information on school admissions
Advanced Skills Teacher (AST)
An AST is a teacher who has passed a national assessment and been appointed to an AST post. ASTs concentrate on sharing their skills, through outreach work, with teachers in their own and other schools.
Exam grades expressed as numbers to establish whether or not the requirements for a university place have been met. An A scores 120 points, B 100, C 80, D 60 and E 40. Use the UCAS points calculator.
A-levels & AS levels
Advanced Level qualifications - A-levels are made up of the AS level and the A2. Each part makes up 50 per cent of the overall A-level grade. The AS level can either be a free standing qualification or can be valued as the first half of the full A-level. In year two of a full A-level you take the A2 - this is not a separate qualification but the second half of the A-level. The A2 is designed to deepen the knowledge gained during the AS level. Read more on the Directgov site
The Association of Colleges. Represents and promotes the interests of colleges and provides members with professional support services.
Adults Other Than Teachers - ie people who do not hold a recognised teaching qualification but operate in schools with the permission of the headteacher usually for PE tasks.
Auditory Processing Disorder. A condition which impairs the way auditory information is processed by the brain. APD can exist in those with perfect hearing or with hearing loss and can co-exist with any other disability, condition or learning difficulty. It is not curable but can be helped by development of individual coping strategies. Find out more on the APDUK website
Assessing Pupils' Progress. APP is a structured approach to periodically assessing maths, science, reading, writing and speaking and listening skills. The government has decided that as part of its drive to reduce bureaucracy in schools that APP will continue as a voluntary approach to pupil tracking; it is for the school to decide if they want to use it or not.
Assessment and Qualifications Alliance. One of the English exam boards.
Association for Science Education. A professional association for teachers, technicians and other professionals supporting science education. ASE is the largest subject association in the UK.
Asperger syndrome is an autistic spectrum disorder. The National Autistic Society says: "People with Asperger syndrome find it more difficult to read the signals that most of us take for granted. As a result they find it more difficult to communicate and relate to others."
Perhaps the simplest definition of this was given by Black and William in 1998: Assessment for learning can be defined as "all those activities undertaken by teachers and/or by their students, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged". From September 2009, all UK schools were expected to implement an assessment for learning programme. Day-to-day assessments would include effective questioning; observations of children during teaching and while they are working; holding discussions with children; analysing work and reporting to children; conducting tests and giving quick feedback. Read more on AFL in the TES
Daily act of collective worship. All schools are supposed to do this. In practice, many secondary schools don't or can't. By law, it is meant to be of a broadly Christian nature.
Attainment Target Sets out expected standards of pupils' performance at the end of each key stage.
Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Trade union and professional association.
Autism is defined by the National Autistic Society as: “A lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to others in a meaningful way… people with autism can often have accompanying learning disabilities but everyone with the condition shares a difficulty in making sense of the world.” It mentions problems with social interaction, social communication and imagination.
An autistic spectrum disorder is a complex lifelong developmental disability which affects the way a person communicates and relates to those around them.
Age-Weighted Pupil Unit. The sum of money allocated to the school for each pupil according to age. This is the basic unit of funding for the school.