Purposes and historical influences


The term ‘eleven plus’ derives from the age group of the pupils: 10-11. Occasionally referred to as the 'Transfer Test', it was an examination given to pupils in their last year of primary education in the United Kingdom.  It was based on the erroneous notion of fixed intelligence. The exam was once used throughout the UK, but is now used only in a small number of areas (e.g. Kent) in England although it has been used more widely in Northern Ireland.  See Grammar School and Secondary Modern School.

3 Rs

See Three Rs.


Aims are statements that encapsulate the educational value and worth of lessons; educational aims are broad and general; they are related to general rationales for education.  See Objectives.

Child development

A general psychological approach that traces the interaction of physical, intellectual, social and emotional development of children and young people.  Once particularly central to initial teacher education for what may seem to be obvious reasons, it has been largely excluded from courses in recent years as a result of government regulation and the wish to emphasise the teaching of subjects.

Data-driven decision making

A process of making decisions about curriculum and instruction based on the analysis of classroom data and standardized test data.  It is based on the assumption that scientific methods used to solve complex problems in industry can effectively evaluate educational policy, programs, and methods.

Education Act(s)

There are several education acts which have had a profound and continuing impact upon schooling and education in the UK.  Of particular significance are the 1944 act and the ERA. For a comprehensive list of British education acts and reports, see Gillard D (2011) Education in England: a brief history http://www.educationengland.org.uk/history

Educational traditions

The elementary tradition

A form of educational practice and provision associated with the mass education of the 19th century with a narrow concentration on the 3R's (reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic) and with authoritarian discipline.

The developmental tradition

A form of educational practice and provision which emphasises the ways in which children develop physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually as a basis for planning and organising learning.

The preparatory tradition

A form of practice and provision which sees primary education as a `preparation' for secondary education and which has been particularly influential in the independent school sector where children are examined prior to acceptance in `public schools' (secondary independent schools).


Education Other Than At School.


The principle that all citizens have a right to certain forms of provision, for instance, of parents and pupils to good schools and high-quality teaching, and of teachers to adequate resources and sound education policies.

Equality of opportunity

The principle that all people, irrespective for instance of ethnicity, gender, disability or social class, should have equal access to opportunities - including educational opportunities.  Equality of opportunity is an ideal and a commitment, but it has been undermined by the spread of poverty and by some education policies in England and Wales in recent years.

Healthy Schools Initiative

Government scheme to help improve the health of both pupils and teachers. The initiative includes a Wired for Health website, a Healthy Teacher focus to address occupational health issues for staff and cooks' academies in schools to improve knowledge about nutrition.


'GfL' stands for 'grid for learning'; another letter at the beginning, such as, in this case, 'H', usually indicates an Authority such as Hillingdon of Hertfordshire. See NGfL.

Investing in Young People Scheme

A government initiative to help young people make the best of their abilities and to ensure that they all have access to education in schools, colleges or work-based training after the age of 16. 


International Standard Classification of Education which was initially designed by UNESCO in the early 1970s to serve as an instrument suitable for assembling, compiling and presenting statistics of education both within countries and internationally.

League Tables

See Performance Tables.  League Tables usually refer to the government analysis of assessment and examination results placed in rank order.


Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Teachers (sometimes with the addition of 'Q' – Questioning).


Learning Is For Everyone (Wales).

Lifelong learning

Refers to the notion of formal education being available to everyone beyond statutory school age.  It is often characterised by distance learning and is exemplified in programs such as those offered by the Open University and U3A.

List 99

A 'list' that contains the details of men and women whose employment has been barred or restricted, either on grounds of misconduct or on medical grounds. If a person's employment is restricted, the entry shows the types of employment in which he or she is permitted to work. People barred on misconduct grounds are listed separately from those barred on medical grounds (no details of misconduct are given).


Lifelong Learning Development Plan.


Lifelong Learning Partnerships.

Literacy Hour

An hour of learning to read and write in (usually Primary) school, broken down into various activities.

Low expectations

An explanation for under-achievement which is often offered by governments and which primarily locates the problem with teachers and parents, but less with governments. 

National Numeracy Strategy

A government initiative which was intended to raise the standards of numeracy for all children in infant, primary and junior schools in England and Wales.

Outcome-based education

An integrated system of educational programs that aligns specific pupil outcomes, instructional methods, and assessment.

Personalised learning

An approach to teaching which focuses on learners' individual needs regardless of age.

Philosophical concepts


A value judgement made about an educational priority, often in respect of 'what children need'.


A term often used in respect of children to denote topics or activities which they are thought to find attractive and around which a curriculum might be constructed. Also used to highlight the status, values or financial concerns of those involved in political struggles, for instance between teachers and conservative pressure groups in the late 1980s.


Entitlements to receive opportunities from others. For instance, of children in respect of the National Curriculum from schools, parents in respect of high quality schools from Governors and Local Education Authorities and teachers in respect of sound national and local education policies, structures and resources.


Obligations to provide opportunities to others. For instance, of schools to provide an appropriate curriculum, including the National Curriculum, to children, of parents to support teachers in their work for their children and of national and local government to provide sound national education policies, structures and resources.

Rising 5s

Children admitted to school in the term before they reach statutory school age.

Social class

A concept used to denote the types and range of social, cultural and economic resource and the distribution of political power amongst social groups in societies.  This is of relevance to education in the UK because inequalities have been growing and educational underachievement is adversely affecting working class children, particularly in inner cities.

Social differentiation

A generic term for the process, in education, by which teachers identify and separate groups of pupils for particular purposes.  For instance, to study particular subjects or for matching ability levels.

Social Services

A department within a local government area which is responsible, among many other things, for children’s welfare (in the home) under the terms of the Children Act, 1989.

Statutory School Age

The period from the beginning of the term following a child's fifth birthday until the leaving date following his/her 16th birthday.


School Teachers' Review Body.


Statutory Transfer Order.


Safer Routes to School.  This is a government initiative intended to make children's journey to school safer by encouraging them to walk or cycle to school; the intention is to avoid 'school car runs'. Schools and local education authorities are expected to work with local community and transport planners to facilitate safer routes to school.

Sure Start

A government cross-departmental strategy which aims to improve services for children under four and their families in disadvantaged areas.


Teacher assessment and reporting arrangements.

Teacher Assessment

A formal assessment made by a teacher when a child is aged 7, 11 and 14.  It is meant to be used alongside the national tests to judge a child's educational progress.

Teacher appraisal

The process of assessing how a teacher is performing and attempting to match personal and institutional needs for future development.

Teacher culture

The perception, values and social practices of teachers, for instance developing in the staffroom, which can affect work commitment, classroom practice and school ethos.

Teacher expectations

The beliefs which a teacher holds about the possible performance of his or her pupils.  Pupil attainment is thought to be influenced by these.


Training and Enterprise Council.