A to Z of Education

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The MSA says your eldest is G&T but has booked a BST for the younger one who failed his QNST. Twice. Yes, the field of education is littered with acronyms. So, for clarity in the classroom, Esme Taylor shares her A to Z of Education.

ARC:  Authentic Use, Restricted Use and Clarification and Focus. Authentic use might be a conversation using the language children are learning, restricted use could be a gap-fill exercise on the language, and clarification and focus an explanation of rules on the board. ARC may also be arranged as RAC or CAR, none of which relates to the Volvo service you have to book.

BST:  Behaviour Support Team is a multi-agency team brought into school to support teachers and bring a positive change in a particular pupil’s behavior. Unfortunately, you’re not able to enlist them at home.

CPD: Continuing Professional Development. These 30 compulsory hours, of which ‘coaching’ forms an integral part, allow teachers to remain qualified. NB. There are companies who coach the coaches to coach teachers to coach learners. There might even be an app for it.

Empowerment: (of learners) is actions to engender independence. Presumably fetching the register and such like.

ERA: The Education Reform Act (1998) was responsible for the creation of GMS (Grant Maintained Schools), CTC’s (City Technology Colleges, which eventually became Academies), NC (National Curriculum) and KS (Key Stages). Might also be referred to as the Acronym Act.

FSM: Free school meals. Since September 2014, a hot school lunch is provided free of charge in state schools for all infants aged four to seven, at a cost to the government of £2.30 per child, per day. General secretary Christine Blower has pointed out that children, “do not stop being hungry at seven years of age”.

G&T: Gifted and Talented. Followed closely by MAGT (more able, gifted and talented) and MAT (most able and talented).  If your son is pronounced G&T you should pour yourself one, perhaps with Fever-Tree and lime.

HSA: Home School Agreement. A charter of responsibility between the school and the child/parent to conform to basic rules. Brilliant for parents to deflect blame, ‘You signed it darling, now do your homework’.

ICT: Information and Communications Technology. The new national curriculum for computing has been developed to equip young people with the foundational skills, knowledge and understanding of computing they will need for the rest of their lives.  Hopefully preventing them from opening a twitter account until they can spell ‘opinions my own’ correctly.

INSET:  In Service Education and Training. The kids are off school while the teachers plan. Collateral benefits include a day to collate all PE kit detritus and no queues at Legoland.

Kinaesthetics: Learning through movement which is crucial for boys, who are more inclined to respond to creative or physical tasks than, say, sitting at a desk to read and write. That said, we have no idea what dancing arithmetic will look like.

KS1: Key Stage 1 is an academic classification that most parents of five year olds understand – the building blocks of education, to include literacy, numeracy and sciences. It’s as simple as Class 1, until, for apparent clarity, Class 1 is renamed Hedgehogs.

LSCWC:  Look, say, cover, write, check.  Tried and tested educational staple, not to be confused with mirror, signal manoeuvre.

MSA: Midday Supervisory Assistant. Lamentably afflicted with the responsibility of breaking up lunchtime brawls while class teachers have a quiet five minutes to eat, breathe and bemoan the curriculum.

NQT:  Newly Qualified Teachers have a three-term period of assessment, usually completed in a single school year, unless they see sense and scarper.

OfSTED.  Office for Standard in Education.  Regulator, inspector, single greatest cause of nervous breakdowns in public sector employees.

PSHE:  Personal Social Health Education. Comprises SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning).  A relatively small part of the curriculum but crucial to ensure your angel understands when not to throw a baguette or say the alphabet in burps.

QNST: Quick Neurological Screening Test.  In education, doing something quickly is usually frowned upon, but evidently not the important stuff.

SSP:  Systematic Synthetic Phonics. If ever you need evidence that repetition is the key to learning, try not to sing aloud… A, A, Ants on my arm.

TTT: Teacher talking time. Antithesis of STT (Student Talking Time). Modern education aims to reduce the amount of TTT in order to increase the amount of STT. Suffice to say PTT is rife at the school gates.

VAK: Visual Auditory Kinaesthetic. A combined learning model enabling the child to learn in their own specific style. Probably how they would have done it without the model and hovering parent/teachers.

WALT: What are we learning today?  Also WILF (What am I looking for?), TIB (This Is Because) and WALA (We Are Learning About). All part of AfL (Assessment for Learning), which according to TES online, is no longer cool in the classroom.  WTF?

Esme Taylor is Editorial Assistant at Mr Fox. She has two children, a boy aged 5 and a girl aged 4. Her perfect winter Sunday is taking the children to see the horses before a long, lazy lunch.