If you're baffled by the jargon used when describing secondary education, the descriptions below should help.
The school and college year runs from September to July.
Vocational (work-based) learning schemes.
The process you go through to get onto a college course.
The method of grading and evaluating work undertaken on a course. This may include exams and course work.
Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education.
Assessment and Qualifications Alliance. This has been formed by merging the Associated Examining Board (which is the awarding body for GCSE and GCE A Levels) with the Northern Examinations and Assessment Board.
A term used for qualifications (Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees etc).
British Training and Enterprise Council examination board. This qualification is usually the equivalent of two A Level courses in a vocational field such as construction.
A range of essential skills that underpin success in education, employment, lifelong learning and personal development. These include communication, application of number and information technology.
Computer Aided Design.
A particular college site, such as The Green or Progress Centre.
Centres of Vocational Excellence are specialist areas of vocational provision. They address the need within the economy for people with vocational skills and work closely with business and industry to deliver industry-relevant, economically important provision of a high standard.
Continuing Professional Development is the opportunity to undertake further professional development, usually made up of a balance of personal and professional development and attendance at nationally accredited courses.
Connexions is an information, advice, guidance and support service for young people to help them make decisions about education, training, employment and other life choices.
A programme of study.
Department for Education and Skills, which is the government department responsible for education.
IT facilities that may be used to study for qualifications at your own pace rather than in set classes.
An educational route for students who require extra help or have specific learning difficulties. Many of entry-level courses follow a general programme to enable students to develop their potential.
E to E
Entry to Employment. If you are 16 - 18 years old and not participating in any form of post-16 learning, you can join an E to E programme that will enable you to progress to an apprenticeship, further learning or a job.
The formal process of actually starting a course at college or university. It usually involves completing an enrolment form.
English for Speakers of Other Languages, sometimes referred to as English as a Second (or Other) Language.
English as a Foreign Language.
The Educational Excellence Foundation is the awarding body for technical and vocational qualifications, from basic education up to the higher education level.
Educational Maintenance Allowance is a national scheme that provides a weekly allowance for the costs associated with education. The amount depends on household income.
These are beginner courses that develop communication and study skills and provide a well-rounded introduction to a chosen subject. Most people use them as a route to Intermediate level courses.
Further Education is education for people over 16 years old. This includes all types of full- or part-time study, up to and including Advanced Level programmes.
Full-time courses are those that take more than 12 hours per week.
A foundation degree is a vocational, higher education qualification created with the help of employers, universities and colleges. On a Foundation Degree students receive the specialist technical knowledge and skills needed at associate professional and higher technician level, as well as increasing their career opportunities and earning level potential. On completion there are opportunities for continued professional development through progression to other professional qualifications or to an honours degree.
General Certificates of Secondary Education are the examinations of basic secondary education generally taken by 16 year-olds.
A General National Vocational Qualification is taken in school or college and can be related to particular industries. GNVQs can be taken at levels equivalent to GCSE and A Level.
A person who has been awarded a higher education degree from a university or college.
Higher Education (HE)
Includes all education above Advanced Level. This could include HNCs, HNDs, Foundation Degrees and Professional Qualifications, as well as Honours Degrees.
Higher National Certificates are higher education certificates, usually studied on a part-time basis, given for vocational training that improves a student's knowledge within a particular area.
Higher National Diplomas are higher education diplomas given for vocational training that prepares the student for a career in a particular area. Most people with an HND go on to a job or to further study leading to a professional qualification or degree.
Information, Advice and Guidance
Information and Communication Technology
Infill learning describes studies undertaken outside the normal patterns of attendance at college.
Key skills are a range of essential skills that underpin success in education, employment, lifelong learning and personal development. Available across all post-16 routes in the UK, they include communication, application of number and information technology.
Local Education Authority.
Learner Support Fund
A fund that aims to help students whose access to education might be restricted by lack of money. It can be used to help with travel, childcare, kits or exam costs.
Level 1 qualifications include GCSEs, GNVQs at Foundation Level and NVQ1s.
Level 2 qualifications include 4 or more GSCEs at grades A - C, GNVQs at Intermediate Level, BTEC First Certificates and First Diplomas, and NVQ2s.
Level 3 qualifications include AS- and A-Levels, NVQ3s, BTEC National Certificates and National Diplomas, and CACHE Diplomas.
Level 4 includes Foundation Degrees, HNDs and Degrees.
The Learning and Skills Council is responsible for funding and planning for post-16 education and training.
A trusted counsellor, teacher or professional person who provides guidance and support to an individual.
This outlines what students should be taught from their first days in school right through to GCSE level, with maths, science, design and technology, IT, history, geography, art, music, PE and a foreign language as compulsory.
The Northern Examinations and Assessment Board is an examination board for GCSE / A Levels.
The National Literacy Strategy aims to improve standards in literacy.
National Vocational Qualifications are work-based qualifications.
The Oxford, Cambridge and RSA examining body.
The Office for Standards in Education is designed to raise standards in British schools and colleges through regular inspections. The inspections are conducted by teams of Ofsted-accredited (but independent) inspectors, led by a Registered Inspector. They must ask parents for their opinions, and anyone is allowed access to the completed report, detailing their results in terms of performance for quality and consistency.
Pupil Teacher Ratio. The number of pupils per teacher.
A collection of examples of work.
Skills for Life and Work
Skills for Life, or Basic Skills, are the ability to read, write, speak and use mathematics at a level necessary to function and progress at work and in society in general.
Universities and Colleges' Admissions Service is the organisation which handles university applications.
This is education that is aimed at providing students a direct experience of the 'real world' of work. Vocational-based learning can be undertaken from GCSE level upwards.
Vocational Skills Academy
A mark of quality awarded to colleges and private learning providers to help young people and employers to choose the best Work-Based Learning Provider for the job or occupation they have chosen. This is a new quality rating based on the national benchmark success rate for LSC-funded work-based learning and further education provision.
Leads to NVQ qualifications gained in the workplace. It includes Apprenticeships and Adult Apprenticeships.