Glossary - p

Definitions of all our inspection terms.

  • P scales

    The P scales are assessment criteria for progress below level one in the national curriculum programmes of study. These programmes are designed for pupils aged 5-16. They were developed to support target setting through the use of summative assessment to be used at the end of key stages and, for those pupils making more rapid progress, possibly once a year.

  • PECS

    The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a form of augmentative and alternative communication. It is typically used as an aid in communication for children with autism and other special needs.

  • Pathways to Success

    The term used to describe the schools involved in Schools Challenge Cymru which was launched by the Welsh Government in May 2014 to improve the quality of teaching and learning by sharing expertise and teachers with high-performing schools.

  • Peer inspector

    This is someone who joins an inspection team and is currently working in the sector inspected. They take responsibility for inspecting a quality indicator, aspect or
    key question. They are able to contribute their own experience of current working practices. Peer inspectors need to meet certain conditions before they complete a relevant training and assessment programme.
  • Percentage point

    Percentage point is the difference between two percentages. For example, an increase from 30% to 33% is an increase of three percentage points, not a 3% increase.

  • Performance data

    Performance data means data on the outcomes achieved by individual pupils, classes, year groups and schools. Performance data includes data on performance in different national curriculum subjects as well as comparative data which helps a school to compare its performance with other schools.

  • Performance management

    A system of compulsory appraisals for teachers which is designed to help schools to improve by supporting and improving the work of teachers.

  • Personal and social education

    Personal and social education (PSE) includes all that a school carries out to promote the personal and social development of its pupils. This includes all the planned learning experiences and opportunities that take place not only in the classroom but also in other areas of school experience which are features of the values and community life of the school.

  • Physical Education and School Sport initiative (PESS)

    The Physical Education and School Sport (PESS) initiative was introduced by the Welsh Government in 2001. It has a number of strands, in particular to raise standards in physical education in the curriculum. PESS co-ordinators are appointed by local authorities to manage the initiative working in partnership with the Sports Council for Wales in each local authority. A PESS co-ordinator’s role is to establish development centres within the local authority and to support development centre managers in organising and implementation of their operational plans and disseminate good practice. A PESS partnership will involve a cluster of schools, normally based on one secondary school and its main feeder primary schools.

  • PISA

    The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in member and non-member nations of 15-year-old school pupils' performance in reading, mathematics and science. It was first performed in 2000 and is repeated every three years. It is done with a view to improving education policies and outcomes.

  • Planning, preparation and assessment (PPA)

    The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) published ‘Raising standards and tackling workload: a national agreement’ in January 2003. As part of this agreement, from September 2005, all teachers have at least 10% guaranteed time available in the school day to plan, prepare and assess.


    Pupil Level Annual School Census. PLASC data underpins the National Pupil Database.

  • Practitioner

    This term includes teaching and non-teaching staff.

  • Pre-school Playgroups Association (Wales)

    The group represents members working with pre-school children. It offers support and training to members as well as operating a quality assurance scheme.

  • Prime Contract

    An organisation contracted by DWP to provide directly a substantial proportion of provision, sub-contract a proportion of provision, manage and monitor the performance and quality of the sub-contractors and their own provision.

  • Prison workshops

    Where an offender is employed on waged work which the prison is contracted to supply to external organisations and/or the Prison Service. This may or may not include training or qualifications.

  • Probation

    The probation service is a law enforcement agency which supervises offenders in the community.

  • Profound learning difficulties

    Pupils with profound learning difficulties have a serious learning difficulty, leading to significant delay in reaching developmental milestones. They also display significant motor (movement or mobility) difficulties, significant sensory (such as hearing or sight) difficulties or have complicated health-care needs.

  • Programme centre

    Individually tailored job search support to customers with particular emphasis on soft skills development.

  • Programme for International Student Assessment – PISA

    The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial world-wide test of 15-year-old schoolchildren’s scholastic performance. This is co-ordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The aim of the PISA study is to test and compare schoolchildren’s performance across the world, with a view to improving educational methods and outcomes.

  • Proprietor

    The term ‘proprietor’, as defined in the Education Act 1996, means the person or people responsible for managing the independent school and can include a sole proprietor, governing bodies, trustees or directors. The ways that independent schools are governed and owned varies a great deal. A proprietor or trust may own a school or the school may have a governing body that appoints a headteacher. Some schools have a combination of these.

  • Provider

    A general term used to describe any organisation or partnership that provides education and training, such as a school, college, work-based learning provider, youth work provider, youth support service provider, local authority, voluntary organisation, careers company or higher education institution.

  • Pupil referral unit (PRU)

    Set up and maintained by the local authority for pupils of compulsory school age. Pupils usually go to pupil referral units because they have been excluded or are repeatedly off school, or because they might otherwise not receive a suitable education in a mainstream school.