UK Education Glossary

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Numerical Terms

Five GCSEs at grades A*-C (including English and maths).

11 Plus
An optional examination taken during Year 6 to determine if a child is suitable for secondary schools that implement a selective admissions policy; i.e. grammar schools.

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See Abbreviated Accounts Return

Abbreviated Accounts Return
AAR data provides financial information about an academy’s income and expenditure for a defined school year. Other state schools submit their financial data in the Consistent Financial Report (CFR) file.

State funded schools that are independent of local authorities. Academies are primarily all-ability schools and benefit from greater freedoms and flexibilities which help them to innovate and raise standards. (Source: DfE)

Academy: Converter
Schools that have chosen through Governing Body Resolution and application to the Secretary of State to become an Academy under the Academies Act 2010.

Academy: Sponsor-Led
All-ability, state-funded schools established and managed by sponsors from a wide range of backgrounds, including high performing schools and colleges, universities, individual philanthropists, businesses, the voluntary sector, and the faith communities.

Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education

Additional Educational Needs
AEN includes a wider range of needs beyond SEN; for example, EAL, traveller children and asylum seekers.

See Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder.

Advanced Levels
Examinations taken in secondary schools in England typically in post-16 education.

Advanced Skills Teacher
An excellent teacher who achieves the very highest standards of classroom practice and who is paid to share their skills and experience with other teachers.

Advanced Supplementary Levels
Examinations taken in secondary schools in Englandtypically in post-16 education. These constitute half an A-Level.

Additional Educational Needs.

See Advanced Levels.

Alternative Provision
Education for pupils of compulsory school age who cannot attend a mainstream or special school, who are disengaged from education or at risk of exclusion.

See Average Points Score.

A UK education charity running academies in London, Birmingham and Portsmouth.

Association of School and College Leaders

See Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

The Association for Science Education

AS Levels
See Advanced Supplementary Levels.

Associate Headteacher
Usually an experienced headteacher who is seconded to a school to assist in the long-term absence of the headteacher.

Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder
ADHD is a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. ADD is a type of ADHD (Source: NHS)

Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Pupils with ASD find it difficult to understand and use non-verbal and verbal communication; understand social behaviour, which affects their ability to interact with children and adults; and, think and behave flexibly, which may be shown in restricted, obsessional or repetitive activities. (Source: DfE)

Average Points Score
For KS2 and KS3, the APS is the average of the school’s pupils’ overall score in the tests for that age for maths, English and science. For KS4 (GCSE), the APS is the average score for all the GCSEs (or equivalent) exams the pupils take.

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Beacon Schools
These were outstanding schools in England and Wales acknowledged by the DfE between 1998 and 2005.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (England).

British Council
The British government agency responsible for promoting British culture throughout the world

British Science Association
Registered charity which exists to advance the public understanding, accessibility and accountability of the sciences and engineering.

Qualification equivalent to two A level courses. Subjects include Nursery Nursing, Business Studies and Art and Design. There are considerable practical elements to the courses with work placements offered.

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Career Colleges
The first Career College opened in September 2014 and “will provide accelerated vocationally-focused programmes of study alongside core academic work, at colleges equipped to the highest standards and staffed by expert teachers in academic and vocational subjects.” (Source: Career Colleges Trust)

Cashless Schools
Schools that accept electronic payments rather than physical monies for lunches and trips, for example.

Confederation of British Industry

See Computer Clubs for Girls

Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (Northern Ireland).

See Combined Cadet Force

Council for Catholic Maintained Schools Diocesan Education Committees oversee Catholic maintained schools in Northern Ireland.

Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance. Also known as ‘IAG’.

See Consistent Financial Reporting

Childminders look after children under five and school age children after hours and in the holidays. The local authority decides how many children a childminder can care for, and childminders are able to register as part of a network to provide early education.

City Technology College
CTCs teach subjects of the national curriculum pre-16 with a specific focus on science and technology. They offer a wide range of vocational qualifications for post-16 pupils, and have close links with businesses.

An advisory service providing safety and other support for practical science.

Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta, responsible for Irish-medium education in Northern Ireland.

The system of education in which both males and females attend the same institution or classes.

Coasting schools (primary)
Schools that for 2 years from September 2015 have fewer than 85% of children achieving level 4 in reading, writing and maths, and which also have below-average proportions of pupils making expected progress between ages 7 and 11. (Source: DfE)

Coasting schools (secondary)
Schools are deemed ‘coasting’ if in 2014 and 2015 fewer than 60% of children achieve 5 A*-to-C grades (inc. English and maths) and they are below the median level of expected progress and in 2016 they fall below a level set against the new progress 8 measure. (Source: DfE)

Combined Cadet Force
These are combined army, navy and air force cadet units (called ‘contingents’) based at UK schools. “Our aim is to enable the development of personal responsibility, leadership and self-discipline. Each unit or contingent is an educational partnership between the school and the Ministry of Defence.” (See Combined Cadet Force)

Community School
Schools that are maintained by the local authority (LA). The LA is the admissions authority – it has main responsibility for deciding arrangements for admitting pupils. (Source: DfE)

Community Special School
Schools that are maintained by the LA, which are organised to make special educational provision for pupils with special educational needs (SEN). (Source: DfE)

Computer Clubs for Girls
A programme started in 2005 and aimed at 10-14 year old girls.

Consistent Financial Reporting
CFR data provides financial information about a state school’s income and expenditure for a defined school year. Academies submit their financial data in the Abbreviated Accounts Return (AAR) file.

Controlled Schools
Schools in Northern Ireland which come under the control of Education and Library Boards.

Contextual Value Added (Measure)
CVA is a performance indicator that takes into account variables outside of the classroom. For example, a number of other factors “such as gender, special educational needs, movement between schools, and family circumstances, are also known to affect pupils’ performance” (Source: DfE).

Continuing Professional Development.

See City Technology College.

See Contextual Value Added (Measure).

See Contextual Value Added (Measure).

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Day Nurseries
These take children under five for the whole working day. Children can attend on a part-time or full-time basis according to their parents’ needs. They may be run by local authorities, voluntary organisations, private companies, individuals or employers. There must be at least one adult for every eight children and at least half of the staff must have a qualification recognised by the local authority.

See the Department for Children, Schools & Families.

Dedicated Schools Grant
A combination of old grants; i.e. school standards grant, Leadership Incentive Grant, deprivation and transition, city learning centres, specialist schools, school lunch grant, ethnic achievement grant, 121 tuition, extended schools subsidy, national strategies, diploma formula grant, and the London pay addition. (Source: BESA)

See the Department for Education in Northern Ireland.

DE Ref No.
The Northern Ireland equivalent of a DfE No. (also 7 digits long).

Department for Children, Schools & Families
The Government department that oversaw the education portfolio in England & Wales (2007-2010).

Department for Education
The current Government department that oversees the education portfolio in England & Wales (2010-present).

Department for Education & Employment
The Government department that oversaw the education portfolio in England & Wales (1995-2001).

Department for Education & Science
The Government department that oversees the education portfolio in Ireland (Republic).

Department for Education & Skills
The Government department that oversaw the education portfolio in England & Wales (2001-2007).

Department for Education in Northern Ireland
The current Government department that oversees the education portfolio in Northern Ireland.

See the Department for Education.

See the Department for Education & Employment.

DfES (1)
See the Department for Education & Skills.

DfES (2)
See the Department for Education & Science.

DfE No.
The 7-digit combination of the LA No. and the Establishment No. (state schools in England & Wales only).

Removal or lifting of a programme of study, attainment target, assessment, or any other component of the National Curriculum, or any combination of these, including entire subjects or the entire National Curriculum. (Source: DfE)

See Dedicated Schools Grant.

Pupils with dyscalculia have difficulty in acquiring mathematical skills. (Source: DfE)

Pupils with dyslexia have a marked and persistent difficulty in learning to read, write and spell, despite progress in other areas. (Source: DfE)

Pupils with dyspraxia are affected by an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement, often appearing clumsy. (Source: DfE)

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English as an Additional Language.

Early Years
Children aged 3 to the end of the school reception year.

See Education Action Zones.

“Eco-Schools is an international award programme that guides schools on their sustainable journey, providing a framework to help embed these principles into the heart of school life.” (Source

Education Action Zones
Forums established in areas of low academic achievement in 1998 by the Labour Government.

Education Maintenance Allowance
A financial incentive paid to Post-16 students to keep them in full-time education.

See Excellence in Cities

See Education Maintenance Allowance.

See Education Maintenance Allowance.

Activities that enhance a child’s learning and development through new experiences and opportunities. These are often not curriculum or subject-aligned.

English for Speakers of Other Languages.

Economic and Social Research Council.

The education and training inspectorate forWales.

Excellence Cluster
A group of schools working together under the EiC programme. The specific Excellence Cluster grant has now been absorbed into the DSG.

Excellence in Cities
A programme launched by the Labour Government in March 1999 to raise standards and promote inclusion in urban areas, particularly inner cities.

Executive Headteacher
A very experienced headteacher who oversees the running of multiple schools; for example, a federation or consortium.

Activities that are not part of timetabled lessons, but that enhance learning; e.g. musical instrument tuition, sports teams and so on.

Extended Schools
A school that provides a range of services and activities often beyond the school day to help meet the needs of its pupils, their families and the wider community.

See Early Years.

Early Years Pupil Premium.

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Fair Banding
An admissions method by which schools split prospective entrants into bands based on ability. The school then admits the same number of students from each band. In 2008 just 98 secondary schools in England operated this admissions process, but this had increased to 121 by 2012/13. (Source: The Sutton Trust)

See Further Education.

Feeder Schools
Some admission authorities give priority to children from certain primary schools.

First Schools
State schools that teach pupils aged 5 to 8/9.

Foundation School
Schools maintained by the LA. May have a foundation (generally religious) that appoints some – but not most – of the governing body. The governing body is the admissions authority. (Source: DfE)

Foundation Special School
Schools maintained by the LA, which are specifically organised to make special educational provision for pupils with SEN. (Source: DfE)

Foundation Stage
See Early Years.

Free School
All-ability state-funded schools set up in response to what local people say they want and need in order to improve education for children in their community. They have the same legal requirements as academies and enjoy the same freedoms and flexibilities. (Source: DfE)

Free School Meal
A pupil’s entitlement to receive a paid for meal in the middle of the school day.

See Foundation Stage.

Free School Meals.

See “Full-time equivalent”.

Further Education
Traditionally, post-16 education, though some vocational courses may start at age 14 with secondary school children attending specific courses at FE Colleges. Qualifications include HNDs and Foundation Degrees.

Full-time equivalent
The headcount of full-time staff plus the proportion of the full-time hours worked by part-time teachers.

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See General Certificate of Secondary Education.

General Certificate of Secondary Education
Examinations taken by pupils in England, usually aged 14-16.

General National Vocational Qualification
Similar to a BTEC and the equivalent of 2 A levels. The subjects offered have a vocational element, such as childhood studies.

See General National Vocational Qualification.

Grant-Aided Schools
Government-funded schools in Scotland that are independent of local authority control. They typically cater for children with Special Educational Needs.

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See Higher Education.

Hearing Impairment
Varying degrees of deafness.

See Hearing Impairment.

Higher Education
Traditionally, post-16 education undertaken at HE Colleges, Universities and Institutes of Technology. Qualifications include undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Higher Level Teaching Assistant
The role of HLTA was created under the 2003 National Workforce Agreement to establish advanced LSAs that may lead lessons and work closer with pupils on their learning requirements.

Higher National
A qualification in Scotland awarded by the SQA and considered equivalent to the first or second year of a university degree course.

Higher National Diploma
A BTEC qualification in England awarded by Edexcel and considered equivalent to the first or second year of a university degree course.

See Higher level teaching Assistant.

See Higher National Diploma.

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Information, Advice and Guidance. Also known as ‘CEIAG’ (when incorporating careers education specifically).

The “Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index” is a measure of deprivation where every area of England is ranked, with “1” being the most deprived.

Independent School
“This is a school that is neither maintained by an LA nor grants and which is registered under section 70 of the Education Act 1944.” (Source: DfE)

Independent Special School
An independently-run special school.

See In-Service Education & Training.

Initial Teacher Training
Most people need to take an ITT course in order to gain qualified teacher status (QTS).

In-Service Education & Training
All teachers have access to INSET in schools, helping them to refine their teaching and management skills.

See Initial Teacher Training.

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Key Stage 1
Ages 4 to 7 (school years 1 & 2).

Key Stage 2
Ages 7 to 11 (school years 3 to 6).

Key Stage 3
Ages 11 to 14 (traditionally school years 7 to 9).

Key Stage 4
Ages 14 to 16 (traditionally school years 10 & 11).

Key Stage 5
Ages 16 to 18 (traditionally school years 12 & 13 – also known as Post-16).

See Key Stage 1.

See Key Stage 2.

See Key Stage 3.

See Key Stage 4.

See Key Stage 5.

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See Local Authority.

Looked-after children.

See Local Education Authority.

Learning & Skills Council
From 2001-10 the LSC had a budget of £13bn to improve the provision of learning in England, particularly through vocational courses in FE.

Library Boards
Local education authorities in Northern Ireland.

Local Education Authority
Established by the 1902 Education Act, LEAs replaced school boards and technical instruction committees in being responsible for education in areas of at least 10,000 people. The 2004 Children’s Act expanded their remit to include social services responsibilities for children.

Local Authority
England is governed by LAs, which may be county councils, metropolitan districts, metropolitan boroughs, unitary authorities, districts or boroughs.

See Learning Support Assistant

See Learning & Skills Council.

Learning Support Assistant
A classroom assistant.

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See Multi-Academy Trust.

See Modern Foreign Languages.

Middle Schools
State schools that teach pupils aged 8/9 to 12/13.

See Moderate Learning Difficulty.

Moderate Learning Difficulty
Pupils with MLDs will have attainments significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum despite appropriate interventions. Their needs will not be able to be met by normal differentiation and the flexibilities of the National Curriculum. (Source: DfE)

Modern Foreign Languages
MFL typically includes French, German and Spanish. There is currently no statutory requirement to teach MFL in KS1, KS2 or KS4 in England.

See Multi-Sensory Impairment.

Multi-Academy Trust
A formal collaborative structure for convertor academies governed by a single board of governors/directors.

Multi-Sensory Impairment
Pupils with MSI have a combination of visual and hearing difficulties. They are sometimes referred to as deafblind but may have some residual sight and/or hearing. (Source: DfE)

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National Audit Office.

National Challenge Trust Schools
From 2008 extra funds were given to schools where less than 30% of students were achieving 5 higher level GCSEs.

National College (for School Leadership)
An organisation that develops and supports school leaders.

National Curriculum
The basic framework setting out what children aged 5 to 16 should learn in state schools.

National Leaders of Education
Outstanding headteachers that lead National Support Schools.

National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics

See National College (for School Leadership)

See Not in Education, Employment or Training.

New Schools Network
Registered Charity set up in 2009 to give guidance, support and advice for groups looking to open a school.

National Foundation for Educational Research

See National Leaders of Education.

Not in Education, Employment or Training
This refers to young people who are not in education or employment.

National Pupil Database.

National Science Learning Centre.

Nursery School
These take children from the age of three or four and are open during school term time and normally offer five half-day sessions a week. There must be at least one adult for every 13 children. Staff are qualified teachers and assistants.

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The Office for Standards in Education.

Opportunity Playgroup
This is a group that is set up primarily to provide for children with disabilities or learning difficulties alongside other children. (Source: DfE)

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P1 to P7
The primary phase of education in Scotland; ages 5-12 (see Curriculum & Exams).

Partners in Excellence Club
The PiXL Club is a collaboration of school leaders sharing best practice. The c.400 school members work towards improving achievement at KS4.

Professional Award in Science Teaching and Learning given by the network of SLCs to teachers who register for it and successfully complete reflective activities. Equivalent of 30 M level credits.

Professional Development Leader.

Per Pupil Funding
The amount of funding received by a school for each pupil they have on their roll.

OECD programme for international student assessment.

PiXL Club
See Partners in Excellence Club.

See Private Finance Initiative.

See Pre-School.

See Pre-School.

See Profound & Multiple Learning Difficulty.

Ages 16 to 18 (also known as Key Stage 5).

See Public-Private Partnership.

These generally take children between the ages of three and five and most offer half-day sessions. Usually non-profit making and managed by volunteers and parents. There must be at least one adult for every eight children and at least half of the adults must be qualified leaders or assistants

Primary Schools
State schools that teach pupils aged 4 to 11. Primary Schools are typically co-educational.

Private Finance Initiative
An initiative to attract private sector funding for major public sector projects.

Profound & Multiple Learning Difficulty
Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties have complex learning needs. In addition to very severe learning difficulties, pupils have other significant difficulties such as physical disabilities, sensory impairment or a severe medical condition. (Source: DfE)

Pupil Referral Unit.

Public-Private Partnership
The introduction of private sector funding and expertise into the provision of public services in order to achieve best value for money for taxpayers.

Pupil Premium
Funding for pupils in reception through to Year 11, based on FSM.

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Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills.

See Qualified Teacher Status.

Qualified Teacher Status
The professional status you need to obtain to teach in state maintained schools in England and Wales. QTS is normally awarded after successful completion of an Initial Teacher Training course.

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Royal Institution

Royal Society

Royal Society of Chemistry

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S1 to S6
The secondary phase of education in Scotland; ages 12-18 (see Curriculum & Exams).

Science as an Additional Specialism Programme. A CPD programme over a year aiming to support non-specialists who are teaching physics or chemistry.

School Business Manager
An extension to the traditional Bursar role. SBMs take on the headteacher’s financial responsibilities. 9/10 secondary schools and 3/10 primaries now have SBMs (Source: National College – 2011)

School Food Plan
Launched in July 2013, “[the] plan is about good food and happiness. It is about the pleasures of growing, cooking and eating proper food. It is also about improving the academic performance of our children and the health of our nation.” See School Food Plan.

School Improvement Group
Clusters of schools in Wales working together to focus of specific areas for improvement; i.e. literacy, numeracy, family engagement and so on.

Schools of Ambition
A Scottish program planned for 5 years to support the implementation of the curriculum of excellence by encouraging ambition, achievement and innovation.

Scottish Qualifications Authority
The non-Governmental body responsible for accreditation and awarding in Scotland.

Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.

Scottish Executive Education Department.

The Scottish equivalent of a DfE No. (also 7 digits long).

Special Educational Needs.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Senior Leadership Team
A school’s decision-making body. This would normally consist of the headteacher, any assistant and/or deputy heads, SBM and other appropriate and experienced members of teaching staff.

Senior Management Team
See Senior Leadership Team.

Science, Engineering, and Technology.

Severe Learning Difficulty
Pupils with SLDs have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. (Source: DfE)

See School Improvement Group.

Science Learning Centre.

See Severe Learning Difficulty.

Subject Leader Expert.

SLT (1)
See Senior Leadership Team.

SLT (2)
Speech & Language Therapy/Therapist.

See Senior Management Team.

Special Academy
Academies specially organised to make special educational provision for pupils with special educational needs (SEN). (Source: DfE)

Special Educational Needs
A child is defined as having Special Educational Needs if he or she has a learning difficulty which needs special teaching. A learning difficulty means that the child has significantly greater difficulty in learning than most children of the same age.

Special School
A school that caters for pupils with SEN.

Specialist Schools & Academies Trust
The SSAT is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to raising levels of achievement in secondary education.

See Scottish Qualifications Authority.

See Specialist Schools & Academies Trust.

State Schools
The majority of pupils in the UK go to publicly-funded schools, usually known as state schools. These make no charge to parents.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network.

Studio Schools
An innovative new model of 14 to 19 year-old educational provision. They are small schools – typically with around 300 pupils – delivering mainstream qualifications through project based learning. (Source: BESA)

Sure Start
A Government-funded programme introduced in 1998 to provide childcare support with an emphasis on community development.

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TA (1)
See Teacher Assessment.

TA (2)
See Teaching/Tutorial Assistant.

Teacher Assessments
Tests marked internally by teachers. The results, together with other information, are used by teachers to produce teacher assessments in each subject. (Source: DfE)

Teacher Centres
Educational resource and training centres providing teaching aids and professional development courses. In recent years, virtual teacher centres have been established to offer downloadable resources and online training.

Teacher Training Colleges
Colleges providing dedicated teaching qualifications. These colleges may be affiliated to universities or other Higher Education establishments.

Teaching/Tutorial Assistants
“The role of a teaching assistant (TA) varies from school to school. TAs may work supporting an individual or a group of pupils, or they may support the teacher in the classroom. Some schools employ TAs with a specialism, such as literacy, numeracy, English as an additional language, the creative arts or special education needs. TAs work under the guidance/supervision of the classroom teacher.” (Source: DfE)

Teaching Schools
Outstanding schools that will take a leading role in the training and professional development of teachers, support staff and headteachers, as well as contributing to the raising of standards through school-to-school support. Teaching Schools can work alone or in partnership with another school.

Tutorial College
Independent teaching establishments that provide additional tuition to students preparing for examinations. These are usually attended by students in KS4 and KS5.

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Universal Infant Free School Meals.

See Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

Umbrella Trust
A group of academies (and, occasionally, non-academies) overseen by a charitable trust in which each school is run autonomously.

University Technical Colleges
UTCs are academies for 14-19-year-olds. They provide technical education that meets the needs of modern employers. They offer technical courses and work-related learning, combined with academic studies. (Source: BESA)

Universities & Colleges Admissions Service
Central agency for processing applications for undergraduate courses including degree level initial teacher training courses (BEd, BA/BSc with qualified teacher status).

Upper Schools
State schools that teach pupils aged 14 to 18.

The Unique Reference Number assigned to the school by the national education department (state & independent schools).

See University Technical Colleges.

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Value Added Measures
VAMs are intended to allow comparisons between schools with different student intakes. It may be, for example, that they have significant special educational needs. All students are capable of making progress and it is important that schools are given recognition for the work that they do with these students.

See Value Added Measures.

Vocational and Educational Training.

See Visual Impairment.

Virtual School
The virtual school approach [undertaken by a VSH and, in some cases, a supporting team] is to work with looked after children as if they were in a single school, liaising with the schools they attend, tracking the progress they make and supporting them to achieve as well as possible. (Source DfE)

Visual Impairment
Varying forms of blindness.

Voluntary Aided School
Maintained by the LA, with a foundation (generally religious) that appoints most of the governing body. The governing body is the admissions authority. (Source: DfE)

Voluntary Controlled School
Maintained by the LA, with a foundation (generally religious) which appoints some, but not most, of the governing body. The LA is the admissions authority. (Source: DfE)

Vocationally Related Qualifications

Virtual School Head(teacher).

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