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Glossaries, key guidance and 'jargon busters'

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Last updated on 11 October 2017
School types: All · School phases: All
In-depth article
How can we help governors get to grips with the role? Our glossaries and jargon busters will support school governors understand key guidance documents, terms and abbreviations from different areas of education.

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  1. 1 Glossary of education terms and abbreviations
  2. 2 Governance glossary
  3. 3 Key guidance and documents
  4. 4 Staff employment terms jargon buster
  5. 5 Special educational needs (SEN) jargon buster
  6. 6 Changes to terminology in the school sector

In this article, we provide some resources for new governors to get to grips with some of the words, phrases and documents that they will come across in their role.

These are available as downloadable KeyDocs. 

Glossary of education terms and abbreviations

The Key has produced a glossary that defines the key terms and abbreviations from across the education sector. 

Governance glossary

Our governance glossary defines the key terms associated with the organisation and procedures of the governing board. The KeyDoc is split in to the following three areas: 

  • General terminology
  • Terminology specific to maintained schools
  • Terminology specific to academies

Key guidance and documents

The following KeyDoc outlines key government guidance and documents that governing boards should be aware of, including:

  • Statutory guidance and departmental advice from the Department for Education (DfE) and Education Funding Agency (EFA)
  • Key inspection documents produced by Ofsted

We explain what each document contains, and when it was last updated. When the guidance included in this KeyDoc is updated or changed, we will update this KeyDoc accordingly.  

Staff employment terms jargon buster

Our staff employment jargon buster helps you get to grips with terms related to:

  • Employment legislation and documents
  • General employment terms
  • School employment terms
  • Staff roles

Special educational needs (SEN) jargon buster

Our jargon buster helps you get to grips with the key terms related to SEN.

It explains aspects of SEN such as:

  • The annual review
  • The graduated approach
  • The local offer
  • Personal budgets

Changes to terminology in the school sector

We have produced a KeyDoc which sets out some of the recent changes to terminology in the school sector. 


The Department for Education publishes a glossary of school-related terms on its 'Get information about schools' website.

We wrote this article to help members quickly get to grips with some of the most commonly used terminology in school governance. 


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The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence.