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Glossary of Educational Terms

Many UK and International educational terms are unfamiliar to some schools and booksellers. To try and help you navigate our website and our catalogues we have listed some of the most common terms below.

Year Groups, Grades and Ages
We have also prepared a list of our the different grade systems of the UK, USA, Australia, and New Zealand so that you can easily see how our books fit the system used in your school. Download the PDF by clicking here.

Can't find the term you are looking for?
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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Academies
Academies are independent, publicly-funded schools. Academies receive their funding directly from the Department for Education, rather than the local council. Academies must follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools, but they do not have to follow the national curriculum. Each academy or academy chain is run by a trust which employs the staff.

A Level
Short for General Certificate of Education Advanced Level, A Levels are studied between the ages of 16-18 years. Exams are often sat at the end of both years. The first year of A Level is called AS Level (Advanced Subsidiary) and the second year is called A2. Together they make up an A Level. The curriculum is set by the government but the exams and specifications (syllabuses) are set by individual exam boards.

AQA
AQA (the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) is a UK exam board offering a range of qualifications including GCSE and A Level.

B

C

Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)
Cambridge International Examinations is an international exam board offering a range of qualifications including Cambridge Primary, Cambridge Secondary 1 and Cambridge IGCSE.

D

E

Edexcel
Edexcel is a UK exam board offering a range of qualifications including GCSE.

Edexcel International
Edexcel International offers a range of syllabuses for the Edexcel IGCSE.

F

Framework
A guide developed for Key Stage 2 and 3 outlining how and when subjects should be taught.

G

GCSE
Short for General Certificate of Secondary Education, GCSEs are studied between the ages of 14-16 years and are assessed by formal exams. GCSEs cover a wide range of subjects and each student chooses several subjects to study. Most are expected to take English, Mathematics, and Science. Coursework may count for part of the final mark depending on the subject and syllabus. The curriculum is set by the government but exams and specifications (syllabuses) are sent by individual exam boards.

Gifted and Talented
Gifted and Talented is a phrase used to describe high ability children. The gifted are those with high ability in one or more academic subject, and the talented are those with high ability in sport, music, visual arts and/or performing arts.

Guided Reading
Guided Reading bridges the gap between Shared and Independent Reading. Children are grouped by ability, with up to six children in a group. A book is chosen at 'instructional level' so that children will only have difficulty with one word in ten. The teacher leads the session, reinforcing various reading strategies and focusing on individual children as they read.

H

I

IB
The IB (International Baccalaureate) offers three programmes used in many schools all over the world: PYP (Primary Years Programme), MYP (Middle Years Programme), IB Diploma Programme.
See our full range of resources for the three programmes from the IB

IB Diploma Programme
The IB Diploma Programme is offered by the International Baccalaureate (IB) for students aged 16-19 years. It is a demanding two-year curriculum that leads to a qualification recognized by universities around the world.
See our full range of resources for the IB Diploma Programme

IGCSE
IGCSE is an international qualification for 14-16 year olds offered by Cambridge International Examinations and Edexcel International.
See our full range of resources for IGCSE

International Primary Curriculum (IPC)
IPC offers four different programmes to International schools.

J

K

Key Stage
The National Curriculum in the UK defines the minimum educational requirements for students of compulsory school age (5-16 years). It is organised on the basis of five Key Stages. At the end of each Key Stage, students take assessments to determine the levels they have reached.

  • Foundation (Reception/3-5 year olds) - Infant
  • Key Stage 1 (Years 1-2/5-7 year olds) - Nursery
  • Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6/7-11 year olds) - Primary
  • Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9/11-14 year olds) - Lower Secondary
  • Key Stage 4/GCSE (Years 10-11) - Upper Secondary
    After GCSEs students can opt to enter Key Stage 5 and take A Levels (Years 12-13/16-18 years old).

    L

    Literacy Hour, The
    The Literacy Hour is a way of allocating time to teaching the different strands of literacy each day. It consists of four parts: whole class text level teaching (15 mins), whole class word/sentence level work (15 mins), Guided Reading/Writing for one group with the teacher and independent work for the rest of the class (20 mins), whole class plenary (10 mins).

    M

    MYP - Middle Years Programme
    The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is offered by the International Baccalaureate (IB) for students aged 11-16 years and provides a framework of academic challenge and life skills through embracing and transcending traditional school subjects.

    N

    National Curriculum, The
    The National Curriculum is set by the Government in the UK and is a program of study outlining what must be taught at each level and giving attainment targets.

    National Literacy Strategy (NLS), The
    The NLS is an approach to teaching the reading and writing parts of the National Curriculum. It defines the objective of the English curriculum at Reception to Year 6 (3-11 year olds). It recommends methods of teaching English and the timings that should be used.

    National Numeracy Strategy (NNS), The
    The NNS promotes the teaching of Mathematics in Reception to Year 6 (3-11 year olds) through structured lessons.

    O

    O Level
    The General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level is an international qualification for 14-16 year olds offered by Cambridge International Examinations.

    OCR
    OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations) is a UK exam board offering a range of qualifications including GCSE and A Level.

    P

    PYP - Primary Years Programme
    The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is offered by the International Baccalaureate (IB) for students aged 6-12 years and focuses on the development of the whole child in the classroom and in the world outside.
    See our full range of resources for the Primary Years Programme

    Q

    R

    S

    SATs
    SATs are the National Curriculum tests that are taken at the end of Key Stages 1, 2, and 3. They are designed to help teachers measure students' progress, how much of the curriculum they understand and what they might achieve in the future.

    SEN (Special Educational Needs)
    Children with special educational needs all have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn or access education than most children of the same age. These children may need extra or different help from that given to other children of the same age.

    Shared Reading
    Shared reading is a whole class activity where the teacher demonstrates reading strategies using a shared text. Texts should be large enough for all children to see. Big Books are perfect for this. Shared reading sessions are very interactive.

    T

    The Simple View of Reading
    The simple view of reading is part of the renewed UK framework for primary literacy and places increasing importance on the role of speaking and listening in developing children's early reading skills. It focuses on two core areas: word recognition (phonics and high frequency words) and language comprehension and reinforces the importance of embedding reading within a broad and rich curriculum.
    See how Oxford Reading Tree can help you implement the simple view of reading

    U

    V

    W

    Whiteboard
    An interactive whiteboard is a teaching tool that enables anything you can do or see on a computer screen to be projected onto a whiteboard for all the class to see. It is made up of a computer, a digital projector, and a whiteboard which acts as a touch-sensitive screen.

    WJEC
    WJEC (Welsh Joint Education Committee) is a UK exam board offering a range of qualifications including GCSE.

    X

    Y

    Z