Glossary - search

Definitions of all our inspection terms.

  • Access

    A local authority service dealing with:
    • the provision of an appropriate range and number of school places;
    • admissions to schools;
    • home-school transport; and
    • the management of the condition and suitability of all school buildings.
  • Active learning

    This term relates to pupils being active and involved in their learning rather than as passive recipients of information and knowledge. It emphasises a first-hand experience that motivates, stimulates and supports pupils in the development of skills and concepts, including language acquisition.

  • Active Young People (AYP)

    Dragon Sport, the Physical Education and School Sport (PESS) initiative and the 5x60 initiative operate under the ‘Active Young People’ initiative.

  • Achievement

    Inspectors judge achievement by how well learners are doing in relation to their ability and by the progress they make. (See also attainment.)

  • Additional learning needs (ALN)

    This term covers a very wide range of needs. We use the term ALN in relation to learners who have needs besides those of most of their classmates, for a number of different reasons, including learners who:
    •  have special educational needs (SEN), as defined within the SEN Code of Practice for Wales (2002);
    •  are disabled, as defined within the Disability Discrimination Act 1995;
    •  have medical needs;
    •  have emotional, social and behavioural difficulties; and
    •  are learning English as an additional language.
    Further information on ALN pupils is available in Annex 6 in the relevant inspection guidance handbooks.
  • ADEW

    The association of directors of education in Wales. Every local authority is represented on this body, which meets to discuss issues and agree responses and strategies.

  • Adult basic education

    Adult basic education is for learners who want to improve their basic literacy and numeracy skills. They can gain accreditation from pre-entry up to level 2.

  • Adult community learning

    Adult community learning is lifelong learning classes for adults who learn in their local communities. These
    part-time classes cover adult basic education, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), Welsh for adults, and subjects such as information and communication technology, languages, arts and crafts, personal development, alternative therapies and academic study. Increasingly these courses support people to develop skills to gain employment or meet the changing needs of the employment market.
  • Adult community learning partnerships

    Local partnerships, usually based on local authority areas, which co-ordinate learning for adults across a variety of providers including FE colleges and the voluntary sector.

  • Aiming for Excellence Programme

    A Welsh Government initiative to improve transition and the levels of progress pupils make when they move from primary to secondary school.

  • Advanced Level (A level)

    General Certificate of Education at Advanced Level.

  • Agored Cymru

    A charitable trust and awarding organisation, which works in partnership to provide opportunities for learners, particularly those who have missed out on previous opportunities to acquire skills and qualifications through the award of credit-based courses and qualifications, which are flexible and responsive to the needs of individuals and communities in Wales.

  • All-Wales Core Data Sets

    The core data sets contain a range of graphs, charts and tables illustrating:
    •  a school’s results against local and national performance;
    •  the difference in performance between girls and boys and between those pupils who receive free school meals and those who do not;
    •  comparisons with performance of similar schools on the free-school-meal benchmarks; and
    •  comparisons with performance of similar schools within the ‘family of schools’.
    The ‘families’ are created by initially grouping schools according to whether the language used in the school is mainly English or Welsh. Schools are then grouped according to their score on an ‘index of challenge’. This index is derived from a number of contextual factors, including:
    •  the percentage of pupils entitled to free school meals and other socio-economic factors;
    •  the percentage of pupils with school action plus support or special educational needs statements; and
    •  the proportion of pupils of statutory school age who are either new to the English language or Welsh where relevant, at an early  acquisition stage or developing competence.
  • ALIS

    A Level Information System. A monitoring system produced by the University of Durham that uses GCSE data and alternative baseline tests as measures of ability, against which to measure. This enables ALIS to provide predictive data and value-added analyses specific to each student and each subject studied.


    The additional learning needs co-ordinator co-ordinates the work of a school to support pupils with additional learning needs. (See SENCO below)

  • Appetite for Life

    This is Welsh Government initiative designed to promote a balanced diet as part of a healthy lifestyle and to improve the nutritional standards of food and drink in schools.

  • Area inspection

    In area inspections, we inspect the quality and availability of a specific type of education or training for 14 to
    19-year-olds in a given area in Wales.
  • Areas of Learning

    These are the seven areas that make up the Foundation Phase curriculum in English-medium settings.
    (Welsh-medium settings are not required to teach Welsh language development as this is already the language of the setting.) The Areas of Learning are as follows:
    •  personal and social development, wellbeing and cultural diversity;
    •  language, literacy and communications skills;
    •  mathematical development;
    •  Welsh language development;
    •  knowledge and understanding of the world;
    •  physical development; and
    •  creative development.
  • ASDAN (Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network)

    The network’s qualifications and awards are used by schools and colleges to provide opportunities for learners aged 14-19 to develop personal, social and active citizenship skills, work-related skills, key skills and wider key skills. The qualifications and awards are approved and funded by the Department for Education and Skills.
  • AS level (Advanced subsidiary level)

    An exam taken between GCSE and A level.

  • Asset

    A structured assessment tool, developed by the Youth Justice Board, looking at the young person’s offence, personal circumstances, attitudes and beliefs which have contributed to their offending behaviour.

  • Asylum seeker

    An asylum seeker has applied for leave to stay in the UK but has not yet been granted leave to stay by the Home Office.

  • Attainment

    How well learners are doing as measured in national tests and in the qualifications or credits they gain.

  • Attainment rates

    These indicate the number of learners who achieve a qualification as a percentage of those who completed the course.

  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)

    This term describes the communication methods used to supplement or replace speech or writing for those with impairments in the production or comprehension of spoken or written language. These individuals will use gestures, communications boards, pictures, symbols, drawings or a combination of all of these.

  • Autism

    Pupils with autism have difficulties with social relationships, social communication and imaginative thinking. Pupils cover the full range of ability and some may have other learning difficulties or disabilities as well. Autism is part of the range of Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

  • Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)

    The term Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is used to describe the group of pervasive developmental disorders characterised by difficulties in social interaction and communication and by a restricted range of repetitive behaviour and interests.

  • Basic skills

    The ability to speak, read and write in Welsh or English and to use mathematics at a level needed to function at work and in society.

  • Basic Skills Agency

    The Basic Skills Agency (Wales), which has merged with the Welsh Government, implements the National Basic Skills Strategy for Wales.

  • Basic Skills Cymru

    The Welsh Government strategy to help children and adults in Wales who have difficulties with basic literacy and numeracy through implementing ‘Words Talk, Numbers Count’; the Basic Skills Strategy for Wales.

  • Basic Skills Quality Mark

    The award by the Basic Skills Agency to schools and post-16 providers who provide evidence that they meet specifications in ten defined elements for teaching and developing basic skills.
  • BBC Skillswise

    This is the BBC’s adult literacy and numeracy website.

  • Beecham Report 2006

    Sir Jeremy Beecham's Review of Local Service Delivery in Wales.

  • Behavioural difficulties

    Disruptive and disturbing behaviour that can include hyperactivity and a lack of concentration.

  • Benchmark data

    This refers to the assessment information that schools use to compare their performance with that of other schools.

  • Better Schools Fund (BSF)

    Better Schools Fund provides targeted grant support for local authorities to help them to be innovative, share good practice and develop new initiatives to improve teaching, learning and the breadth of the curriculum.

  • Bilingualism

    The ability to speak, read and write in two languages. In Wales, bilingualism relates to Welsh and English, as the official languages of Wales. When we inspect bilingualism, we look at learners’ achievement in Welsh and English and the extent to which providers promote and develop learners’ bilingual skills. For further information, please refer to our guidance for each sector.

  • Business and enterprise skills

    These are the skills learners need to contribute to running a business effectively and to identify and put in place new business opportunities.

  • Canllaw Online Credu project

    The Canllaw Online Credu project (Credu means to believe in Welsh) aims to bring education in computer equipment and ICT skills to all young people. This is done through improving existing programmes and locations where young people are already working.

  • Careers Wales Association

    An umbrella organisation for Careers Wales companies

  • CATs

    CATs are the Cognitive Abilities Tests published by Granada Learning (GL) Assessment (formerly NFERNelson) and assess a pupil’s ability for verbal, quantitative and non-verbal reasoning. They are designed to minimise the role of prior learning and can therefore provide an indication of potential.

  • Challenge adviser

    The role of challenge advisers is to provide schools with monitoring, challenge, intervention and support to ensure that head teachers and governors evaluate their performance, identify priorities for improvement, and secure positive change in school performance. Challenge advisers will be drawn from either a local authority or school background, including current serving school leaders.

  • Childcare Strategy for Wales

    The strategy is a result of the recommendations made in a report by the Childcare Working Group. It states that childcare can come from the state, private provision or voluntary commitment and suggests that these three areas should work to support each other. The three main aims of the strategy are to:
    •  make sure that childcare supports the developmental needs of children in Wales;
    •  make sure that childcare is widely available and affordable; and
    •  provide childcare so that parents can balance work, family and other commitments.
  • Children and Young People’s Plans

    Local education authorities have to produce a Children and Young People’s Plan. These are to co-ordinate the education and training for children and young people from birth to the age of 25.

  • Clwb Dal i Fynd

    A scheme which encourages pupils to keep fit by running.

  • Coaching and Mentoring Certificate and Diploma

    The level 3 Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring is designed for key skills specialists with a minimum of one year’s successful experience in delivering and assessing one or more key skills. The focus of the qualification is on using coaching as an improvement tool, helping key skills specialists to pass on their experience and expertise to others.
    The level 5 Diploma in Management Coaching and Mentoring is designed for experienced key skills co-ordinators and managers to actively support the growth and development of key skills within their organisation.
  • Collective worship

    By law, schools must hold a daily act of collective worship. The law states that most acts of collective worship in each term should be ‘wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian nature’. For further guidance, see Estyn’s supplementary guidance on inspecting collective worship (supplementary guidance on inspecting collective worship).

  • Common Investment Fund

    A Welsh Government initiative to promote collaborative working, improvements in the learning infrastructure, the quality of the learning experience and the quality of the learning environment.

  • Communities First

    Communities First is the Welsh Government's programme to improve the living conditions and prospects for people in the most disadvantaged communities across Wales.

  • Community development and learning

    This learning covers courses and activities that help learners to gain knowledge and skills. They use what they learn to make positive contributions to the life of their communities.

  • Community-focused schools

    Community-focused schools provide a range of services and activities, often beyond the school day, to help meet the needs of its pupils, their families and the wider community.

  • Community Payback

    Community Payback is the replacement for Community Service. Courts are given the power to sentence offenders of certain crimes to undertake between 40 and 300 hours of Community Payback. This work is unpaid and demanding work that is aimed at giving something to local communities and forcing offenders to repay the community for the wrong they have done.

  • Community Strategy

    This is a plan that sets out how a council can improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the people in its area. It identifies a number of issues and proposals for tackling them.

  • Compulsory school age

    Compulsory school age covers the period when children have to receive a suitable education. It starts when a child reaches the age of five and they must start school in the term following their fifth birthday. It finishes on the last Friday in June in the school year in which the child reaches the age of 16.

  • Convergence funding

    This is funding from Europe which aims to encourage more regional and strategic partnerships between providers.

  • Cooking Bus

    A Cooking Bus is a mobile classroom that provides schools with practical cooking lessons for pupils, teacher training sessions, and sessions for parents of young children.

  • Core curriculum

    The ESOL core curriculum sets out the national standards and levels for ESOL learners linked to the qualifications framework.

  • Core subjects

    There are four core subjects in the National Curriculum. These are English, Welsh (first language), mathematics and science.

  • Core subject indicator (CSI)

    This indicator shows the percentage of pupils who attain the level expected of them (level 4 or above) in mathematics, science and either English or Welsh as a first language.

  • Corporate parent

    A local authority is called the ‘corporate parent’ if they have been given the legal parental responsibility for a child as a result of being named in a care order.

  • County Voluntary Councils

    County Voluntary Councils represent and promote the voluntary sector within their local authority area.

  • Credit Union

    Credit Unions offer financial services to the community including loans, savings, current account, accounts and insurance.

  • Crime and Disorder Strategy

    The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 placed responsibilities on local authorities, the police, police authorities, health authorities and probation committees to co-operate in developing and putting into practice a strategy for tackling crime and disorder in their area.

  • Criminal Records Bureau

    Attached to the Home Office, this agency was set up to help organisations make safer recruitment decisions. It provides access to information on criminal records.


    Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) is a division of the Department of Public Services and Performance in the Welsh Government.

  • Custody

    A prison where offenders are serving sentences. It may be a public or private sector prison.

  • Cwricwlwm Cymreig

    Part of the National Curriculum that helps pupils to develop and use their knowledge and understanding of the cultural, economic, environmental, historical and linguistic characteristics of Wales. Also known as the ‘Welsh dimension’.

  • Cymorth

    Welsh Government funding for children and youth support services. It is aimed at children and young people who are from disadvantaged families. Children and Young People’s Partnerships manage this funding.

  • Department for Education and Skills (DfES)

    The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) is a directorate in the Welsh Government that provides leadership for education, skills and the Welsh language in Wales.

  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

    This is the government department that deals with unemployed people and helps them to find work.

  • Detached youth work

    Detached youth work is free from the constraints of centre-based work. It aims to develop learning opportunities with those who are not using or failing to access other youth provision.
  • Disapplication

    Removal or lifting of a programme of study, attainment target, assessment, or any other component of the National Curriculum, or any combination of these including entire subjects or the entire National Curriculum through relevant regulations.

  • Displaced people

    A displaced person is a person who has had to move to another part of their country or to another country to seek safety.

  • Dragon Sport

    Dragon Sport is managed by the Sports Council for Wales and funded by the National Lottery. It aims to encourage 7-11 year-olds to be more active by introducing them to a range of sports outside school physical education lessons. The programme provides pupils with opportunities to feed into and progress through sports development programmes in clubs and the community.

  • Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

    A voluntary, non-competitive and flexible programme of cultural and adventurous activities for young people. The award has four sections with three levels of achievement:
    •  Bronze (for those aged 14 and over);
    •  Silver (for those aged 15 and over); and
    •  Gold (for those aged 16 and over).
  • Dysg

    Until recently, Dysg was a division within the Department for Children, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS), which focuses on improving the quality of teaching and learning in the post-14 education and training sector. Dysg has now merged with the new Learning and Teaching Strategies Branch within the Learning and Professional Development Division of DCELLS.

  • Early professional development

    A programme of professional development for teachers in their second and third years of teaching. These teachers receive funding from the Welsh Government via the GTCW to further develop their skills as teachers.

  • Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership (EYDCP)

    This local authority partnership approves settings as providers of education. It also has the power to withdraw funding from settings which do not comply with the partnerships conditions of registration.

  • Early years settings

    This is provision for children aged under five in a number of settings, often associated with health and social services alongside education providers.

  • Eco-Schools

    A structured system for the environmental management of schools programme that covers matters such as litter, waste minimisation, transport, healthy living, energy, water, school grounds and global citizenship.

  • Education for sustainable development and global citizenship (ESDGC)

    ESDGC enables people to develop the knowledge, values and skills to participate in decisions about the way we do things individually and together, both locally and globally, that will improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future.

  • Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

    The Education Maintenance Allowance is a scheme providing young people who wish to continue in education after school leaving age with an incentive to ear awards through good attendance.

  • Education other than at school (EOTAS)

    Education that is provided for pupils who, for a variety of reasons, cannot go to school. Often, these are pupils whose social, emotional and behavioural needs have led to them being excluded from school. Other examples include pupils who are unable to go to school for health reasons. The educational provision outside the school setting includes:
    •  registered pupil referral units (see later in this glossary);
    •  education at home by the local authority home tuition service; and
    •  education and training provided by external agencies, such as the youth offending team, voluntary agencies or work based providers.
  • Education welfare officer

    Education welfare officers work with schools, pupils and families to deal with issues of poor attendance.

  • Educational psychologists

    Professionals who help children and young people who are experiencing problems in an educational setting to enhance their learning.

  • e-learning

    Using electronic technology (such as computers) to support or deliver education or training.

  • Elected members

    These are councillors who have been elected by citizens of an area to represent them on the council of a local authority for a four-year term.

  • Emotional intelligence

    Emotional intelligence includes being self-aware, persistent, and showing empathy and motivation. These are qualities that people who relate well to others display.

  • End-of-key-stage assessments

    The assessment of children’s attainment at ages 7, 11 and 14 against Foundation Phase / National Curriculum assessment criteria and outcomes or levels.

  • English as an additional language (EAL)

    This refers to pupils learning English who have a different first language (not including Welsh). It is the term used to describe provision for these pupils in schools.

  • English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)

    Courses for adults whose first language is not English. They take these courses to improve their
    English-language skills.
  • e-progress file

    An internet or web-based version of a learner’s record of achievement.

  • Essential Skills Wales

    Essential Skills Wales is a suite of skills qualifications which replaced the previous Key Skills Qualifications. The new suite of skills qualifications was implemented from the 1 September 2010. Qualifications are available from entry level 1 through to level 4 in:
    1 Communication;
    2 Application of Number and;
    3 Information Communication Technology.

  • Estyn monitoring

    This is a category of follow-up. If an inspection team judges that a school has some important areas for improvement, then we will monitor the school at a later stage (usually a year to 18 months later). As part of this monitoring, it may be appropriate for a few inspectors to return to the school for a day or two. Inspectors judge whether the school has improved enough to be removed from follow-up or whether it needs to be identified as requiring significant improvement or special measures. This category can also apply to local authorities and post-16 providers.

  • ETE

    Education, training and employment.

  • ETE Asset

    This is the part of the Asset framework which looks at the education, training and employment needs of children and young people who offend. It is important to have all of this information available so that later on any YOT plans can be co-ordinated well alongside other ETE plans the child or young person might have.

  • European Social Fund

    The European Social Fund (ESF) was set up to improve employment opportunities in the European Union and so help raise standards of living. It aims to help people fulfil their potential by giving them better skills and better job prospects.

  • Every Child Matters

    An approach to the wellbeing of children and young people in England. Organisations providing services to children team up in new ways, share information and work together to protect children and young people from harm and help them achieve what they want in life. The Welsh approach is outlined in the document ‘Children and Young People; Rights to Action’.

  • Excellent practice

    If we judge that a provider has excellent practice in a particular area of its work, we invite them to write a case study. We may publish the case studies on our website so that others can share this good practice.

  • Exclusion

    When a learner is told not to come to school either for a fixed term (for example, for one week) or permanently.

  • Extending Entitlement

    A central policy of the Welsh Government, published in 2001. It promotes an entitlement-based approach to providing support and services for all young people aged 11 to 25. There are 10 entitlements, including education, training and work experience.

  • FFT

    Fischer Family Trust provides analyses and data which help local authorities and schools to make more effective use of pupil performance data for self-evaluation and target-setting.

  • Families of schools

    Families of schools have been created to enable schools to compare their performance to that of similar schools across Wales. Families include schools with similar proportions of pupils entitled to free school meals, living in 20% most deprived areas of Wales, having special education needs at school action plus or statemented and with English as an additional language acquisition less than competent.

  • Flexible learning

    This may include open or distance learning, often self-directed and done at a time to suit the learners.

  • Flexible learning pathways

    A menu of courses from different educational providers that allows a wider choice of options for learners aged
    14 to 19.
  • Flying Start

    Services that deliver free, part-time childcare for two-year-olds to help prepare them for school. They also provide increased levels of support from health visitors and parenting programmes to give young children the best possible start in life. These programmes have been running since January 2007.

  • Focused improvement

    This is a category of follow-up in non-maintained settings. In settings that are failing to provide an acceptable standard of education and where leaders do not demonstrate the capacity to secure the necessary improvements, Estyn will carry out further monitoring activity, usually in the form of a focused-improvement monitoring visit.

  • Follow-up

    During an inspection, we consider whether the provider needs any follow-up activity. There are different types of follow-up activity depending on the type of provider: Excellent practice case study; local authority monitoring; Estyn monitoring; significant improvement and special measures (schools); focused improvement (non-maintained settings) and post-16 re-inspection.

  • Forest School

    Forest School activities use trees, timber and the forest environment to enable children and young people to develop skills, confidence and self-esteem. Many activities are physically demanding.

  • Foundation Modern Apprenticeships

    Employed learners can receive training to NVQ level 2. They also need to complete key skills and technical certificates.

  • Foundation Phase

    This is a Welsh Government initiative covering the early years and key stage 1 (children aged between three and seven). The initiative aims to provide a broad, balanced and varied curriculum in seven areas of learning to meet the different developmental needs of young children. The seven areas of learning are:
    •  personal and social development and wellbeing;
    •  language, literacy and communication;
    •  mathematical development;
    •  bilingual and multicultural understanding;
    •  knowledge and understanding of the world;
    •  physical development; and
    •  creative development.
  • Free School Meals (FSM)

    The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is used as one of the main indicators of pupils’ relative socio-economic disadvantage.

  • Funky Dragon

    The Children and Young People’s Parliament for Wales. It aims to give 0 to 25-year-olds the opportunity to have their voices heard on issues that affect them. Funky Dragon’s main tasks are to make sure that the views of children and young people are heard, particularly by the Welsh Government and to support their involvement in
    decision-making at a national level.
  • Future Skills Wales

    Future Skills Wales is the title given to a research programme that looks at the skills needed by the workforce in Wales. The project identifies the current skills needed and also identifies likely future skills needs.

  • General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)

    This qualification is taken by most young people aged 16.

  • Global citizenship

    Learning about how activities and events across the world affect our lives, and how our lives can affect other people.

  • Gross motor skills

    This term refers to movement or motion and the ability required to control the large muscles of the body in activities such as walking, running or climbing.

  • GTCW

    The General Teaching Council for Wales is the statutory self-regulating professional body for the teaching profession in Wales. It aims to contribute to improving standards of teaching and the quality of learning and to maintain and improve standards of professional conduct amongst teachers.

  • Health-related exercise refers to the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes considered to be essential for the promotion of an active lifestyle. In the Wales Curriculum 2008, health-related exercise programmes have been replaced by health, fitness and wellbeing activities across all key stages to reflect an integrated, broader, practical emphasis within each programme of study. Health, fitness and wellbeing activities are non-competitive forms of exercise, such as jogging, circuit work, skipping, swimming and yoga, which are chosen for what they contribute to general health, fitness goals and feelings.

  • Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Strategy

    From April 2003, local authorities and local health boards have been told by the Welsh Government to work together to develop and deliver a Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Strategy for their local area.

  • Healthy School

    A healthy school is one which is following the Welsh Government’s five year Food and Fitness Plan and Appetite for Life Action Plan. These plans outline actions to improve nutrition and physical activity amongst children and young people and help promote healthy living in school.

  • Hearing impairment (HI)

    Impairment that can range from mild hearing loss to profound deafness

  • HMI Prisons

    Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons

  • HMI Probation

    Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation

  • Iaith Pawb

    The national action plan for a bilingual Wales launched by the Welsh Government in 2003.

  • IAG

    Information, advice and guidance

  • ICT

    Information and communication technology

  • Immersion education pilots

    Delivering the curriculum in a second language to learners who share the same first language.

  • In the Zone

    A playground package launched by The Sports Council for Wales. The project provides training for playground supervisors to help pupils become more active.

  • Incerts

    An electronic tool for tracking pupils’ progress and attainment

  • Inclusion

    An ongoing process in education concerned with breaking down barriers to learning and increasing the involvement of all learners in local schools.

  • Inclusion and Pupil Support

    Inclusion and Pupil Support provides guidance for the inclusion and support of learners of compulsory school age (although some elements will apply to all learners).
    It provides advice and sets out responsibilities for maintaining high levels of attendance and positive behaviour in schools and the need to support pupils with additional needs to ensure they receive suitable education and avoid becoming disengaged from education. It also covers education provided outside the school setting.
  • Independent school

    A school that is not maintained by a local authority and, under section 172 of the Education Act 2002, including any school providing full-time education for five or more pupils of compulsory school age or at least one pupil with a statement of special educational needs or who is ‘looked after’ (see ‘looked-after children’ later in this glossary).

  • Independent School Standards (Wales) Regulations 2003

    A range of standards against which independent schools are judged. Schools must meet these standards before they can be registered, and continue to meet them as a condition of their ongoing registration. The standards are set out in the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2003. There are seven standards and these are broken down into more than 100 regulations.

  • Individual educational plan

    A plan, often called an ‘IEP’, which contains measurable targets for pupils’ learning, dates for review of progress and space to record achievement against the learning targets. These plans are gradually being replaced by person specific plans (PSPs).

  • Individual learning plan

    A plan which contains the results of initial and diagnostic assessment, long-term aims, measurable goals for the learning programme, other personal or social goals, targets, dates for review of progress, space to record achievement against the learning goals and targets, and qualifications or units of accreditation.


    A system of assessment and tracking the progress of pupils working at below level 1 of the National Curriculum that is based on National Curriculum P scales.

  • Integrated Children’s System

    The Integrated Children's System provides the basis for developing an electronic system for recording the interventions of social services and their partner agencies with children.

  • Internal verification

    Internal verification or standardisation is the process whereby a centre ensures it operates consistently and to national standards in interpreting and assessing learners’ work.

  • Interventions

    A particular planned course of action by a professional and/or a specific service with the aim of improving learning or behaviour.

  • Jobcentre Plus

    This is the government organisation that deals with unemployed people and helps them find work.

  • Keeping in Touch (KIT)

    The Welsh Government has asked youth support services to be more co-ordinated in how they support young people who are not in education, employment or training. This is generally known as the ‘Keeping in Touch’ strategy, or KIT. This strategy is about helping organisations share information more effectively in order to help young people get into and remain in education, training or employment.

  • Key skills

    Key skills are the skills that are commonly needed for success in a range of activities in education, training, work and life in general.

  • Key Skills Professional Development Certificate

    This level 5 qualification develops critical awareness of the national key skills standards for teaching, learning and assessing key skills. The certificate has been modified for use in Wales and includes a specific unit in Key Skills and the Welsh Baccalaureate.

  • Key stages

    The National Curriculum divides the period of compulsory education into the following four key stages:
    •  key stage 1 for pupils aged five to seven;
    •  key stage 2 for pupils aged seven to 11;
    •  key stage 3 for pupils aged 11 to 14; and
    •  key stage 4 for pupils aged 14 to 16.
    From September 2011, key stage 1 was replaced by the Foundation Phase.
  • Key stage 4 capped points score

    This score comprises all qualifications approved for use in Wales and is calculated by using the best 8 results for each pupil.

  • Language and play

    This is a programme designed for parents and their pre-school children. It is part of the Basic Skills Strategy.

  • Learn Direct

    Learn Direct is an organisation that provides flexible online training opportunities via a network of 2000 online learning centres in Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

  • Learning area

    This means something different in different sectors. In further education and work-based learning, subjects are grouped together into recognised ‘learning areas’. Offender learning and adult community-based learning also use the term learning areas to group different subjects. In prisons, there are three learning areas: literacy, language and numeracy, employability and vocational training, and personal and social development.

  • Learning core

    The learning core is one of the six parts of Learning Pathways 14-19. It is concerned with the skills, knowledge, understanding, values and experiences that all young people need to prepare them for life.

  • Learning coaches

    Learning coaches provide learners with an opportunity to discuss learning and progress on a regular basis. They help learners develop learning skills, make best use of and develop their learning styles and maximise their development.

  • Learning Country: Vision into Action

    A Welsh Government document outlining the vision for education

  • Learning Pathways 14-19

    The Welsh Government’s strategies for developing and improving education and training opportunities for 14 to 19-year-olds referred to in ‘The Learning Country’ (2001) and ‘Learning Country: Learning Pathways 14-19’ (2002).
  • Level 2 threshold

    This includes GCSE qualifications and a range of equivalent non-GCSE qualifications, including vocational qualifications, and represents a volume of qualifications at level 2 equivalent to the volume of five GCSEs at grades A*-C.

  • Level 2 inclusive threshold or level 2 threshold including a GCSE A*-C in English or Welsh first language and mathematics

    This includes GCSE qualifications and a range of equivalent non-GCSE qualifications, including vocational qualifications. It represents a volume of qualifications at level 2 equivalent to the volume of five GCSEs at grades A*-C, but also includes GCSEs in English or Welsh first language and mathematics at grades A*-C.

  • Level 3 threshold

    This includes A level outcomes and the full range of approved level 3 qualifications and represents a volume of qualifications at level 3 equivalent to the volume of two levels at grades A-E.

  • Life in the UK test

    All those wishing to settle in the UK and gain British citizenship are required to take and pass this test.

  • Lifelong Learning Wales Record (LLWR)

    Data on post-16 learners across Wales is gathered via the Lifelong Learning Wales Record (LLWR), which has been developed to be the unified way in which learning providers must submit data electronically for funding, monitoring and analysis.

  • A member of the local authority education team who has lead responsibility for liaison with specified schools

  • Pre-school provision, usually held on school premises for children before they join a nursery class. Link up groups allow children and parents time to familiarise themselves with school life and form a partnership with the school.

  • Local authority

    An authority or council responsible for providing a wide range of public services, including education for pupils of school age, in a particular area.

  • Local authority monitoring

    This is a category of follow-up. If a school is generally good, but has a few areas where it needs to improve, we ask the local authority to monitor the school’s progress in relation to the inspection recommendations. After a year, the local authority writes a report for us. We decide whether the school has improved enough to be removed from the list or if we need to monitor it ourselves.

  • Looked-after children

    Children whom the local authority has legal parental responsibility for. The term is used to describe all children who are named in a care order, or who are provided with accommodation on a voluntary basis for more than 24 hours. Used to be called ‘in care’.

  • Maintained schools

    Schools that a local authority has a duty to maintain, which include:
    •  any county or voluntary school;
    •  community schools and community special schools;
    •  foundation schools and foundation special schools; and
    •  any maintained special school not set up as a hospital.
  • Makaton

    This is a system of communication that uses a vocabulary of ‘key word’ manual signs and gestures to support speech, as well as graphic symbols to support the written word. It is used by and with people who have communication, language or learning difficulties.

  • Making the Connections

    The policy for public service reform in Wales. It sets out the Welsh Government’s vision for a prosperous, sustainable, bilingual, healthier and better-educated Wales.

  • Mathematics and play

    This is a programme designed for parents and carers and their pre-school children. It is part of Basic Skills Cymru
  • Maytas

    A customisable management information system (MIS) developed by the Tribal Group. It is designed for work-based learning but can be adapted to suit the needs of different providers.

  • Mentor

    An adult who acts as an adviser or guide for the learner.

  • Mid-YIS

    Middle Years Information System. ALIS, YELLIS and Mid-YIS are monitoring systems produced by the University of Durham. They use data from tests and questionnaires completed by students to provide an external comparative analysis of the data as well as data on pupil progress (value added).
  • MIND

    The National Association for Mental Health in the United Kingdom

  • Minority ethnic achievement grant

    The objective of MEAG is to improve educational opportunity for all minority ethnic learners for whom English or Welsh is an additional language, to offer asylum seeker pupils the special support they need and, broadly, to improve minority ethnic pupils’ standards of achievement across the board.

  • Modern Apprenticeship

    These give employed learners training to National Vocational Qualification level 3 or higher. The learners also need to complete key skills and technical certificates.

  • Monitoring inspections

    Her Majesty’s Inspectors in Estyn carry out monitoring visits each year to independent schools that cater for pupils with special educational needs. The purpose of these visits is to provide a report to the Welsh Government on the standards and quality of education and to identify important issues for improvement in these schools.

  • Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin

    This is the organisation for Welsh-medium nursery education. It aims to give every young child in Wales the opportunity to benefit from early years services and experiences through the medium of Welsh.

  • National Childminding Association (NCMA)

    A national charity and membership organisation that represents registered child minders in England and Wales. The association provides access to services, training, information and a quality assurance scheme.

  • National Comparators

    These are national averages derived from various data sources.

  • National Curriculum

    The National Curriculum is a framework used by all maintained schools to ensure that pupils follow a consistent programme for developing their knowledge, skills and understanding of curriculum subjects as they move through school.

  • National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA Cymru)

    A national charity and membership organisation for children’s nurseries. Its vision is a society where all children receive the best quality care and learning that enable them to reach their full potential. NDNA provides nursery support, information and advice, childcare training and a quality improvement scheme, e-Quality Counts.

  • National Professional Qualification for Headteachers (NPQH)

    A compulsory qualification for those who want to become headteachers.

  • National Standards for Headteachers

    The National Standards for Headteachers in Wales is a framework that sets out the particular knowledge and skills, personal qualities, values and professional characteristics that headteachers need in order to carry out their role.

  • National Support Project for ESOL

    A project funded by Basic Skills Cymru which aimed to strengthen the support available to adults and children from linguistic minority communities in response to the ESOL/EAL scoping study, EAL and ESOL in Wales, commissioned in October 2002.

  • National Training Federation (Wales)

    A federation that represents the majority of work-based learning providers in Wales. Members of this organisation provide programmes to prepare learners for work. Most learners take part in apprenticeship programmes based in the workplace.

  • National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)

    A National Vocational Qualification is a work-related qualification that reflects the skills and knowledge needed to do a job effectively. These qualifications are organised into five levels based on the knowledge and skills needed for a particular job.

  • National Youth Service Strategy for Wales

    The Welsh strategy for youth services. It is a continuation of the policies and concerns outlined in ‘Extending Entitlement’.

  • NEET

    Young people aged 16 and over who are not in education, employment or training

  • Non-accredited course

    A course that does not lead to a formal qualification

  • Non-core subjects

    Non-core subjects of the National Curriculum are Welsh (second language), design technology, information technology, history, geography, art, music and physical education.

  • Non-maintained settings

    Private provision such as playgroups and day nurseries for children under five.

  • NPD

    The National Pupil Database holds pupil data made available through the Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC), National Curriculum Assessment data and external examination data.

  • Ofsted

    Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Ofsted only inspects schools and providers based in England.

  • Offenders

    The term ‘offenders’ is used to refer to those aged 18 years and older, whether held in custody, serving part of their sentence in the community or whilst under supervision in the community. Those held on remand are not offenders.

  • Offender Manager

    An officer in a probation trust who takes responsibility for managing an offender through the period of time they are serving their sentence, whether in custody or the community.


    Office of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools in Wales. The education inspectorate in Wales worked under this name from 1992 until the name was changed to Estyn in 1999.

  • Open College Network

    This accredits units and qualifications that are mainly for adults but are also available for young people.

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

    OECD brings together the governments of countries committed to democracy and the market economy from around the world to:
    •  support sustainable economic growth;
    •  boost employment;
    •  raise living standards;
    •  maintain financial stability;
    •  assist other countries’ economic development; and
    •  contribute to growth in world trade.
  • Outdoor learning

    There is a strong emphasis on outdoor learning in the Foundation Phase. The outdoor learning environment should be an extension of the indoor learning environment. Generally, taking account of health and safety matters, children should be able to move freely between the indoors and outdoors.

  • 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.

  • Qualification framework

    In work-based learning, a qualification framework is the National Vocational Qualification, specified key skills and technical certificates that the occupational sector requires. In work-based learning, to meet the requirements of the Sector Skills Council for each learning sector. Learners must gain one or more key skills qualifications or technical certificates as well as a National Qualification to achieve a full qualification framework.

  • Quality and Effectiveness Framework

    The Welsh Government’s Quality and Effectiveness Framework supports continued improvements in the quality of post-16 learning and is aligned with Estyn’s inspection framework.

  • Quality Improvement Fund

    The Quality Improvement Fund (QIF) was a key element of the Welsh Government's strategy for driving up quality and promoting excellence in the delivery of post-16 learning across Wales. The fund was administered by the then ELWa.


    The RAISE programme, (Raising Attainment and Individual Standards in Education in Wales), a Welsh Government funded programme from 2006 to 2009, targeted disadvantaged pupils to raise their levels of performance. Funding was targeted at schools where 20% or more of those pupils are entitled to free school meals (excluding schools with fewer than 50 pupils) and for learning support for looked-after children.

  • Refugee

    A refugee has been given leave to remain in the UK indefinitely.

  • Regeneration plan

    A regeneration plan aims to promote the long-term development of the local economy though activities which support business growth and improve the skills of local residents.

  • Registration standards

    These are the same as the independent school standards (see above).

  • Re-inspection

    This is a category of follow-up in the post-16 sector. Normally, if at least one of the overall judgements for a post-16 provider is unsatisfactory, Estyn will carry out a re-inspection. If the outcome of a re-inspection is also unsatisfactory, Estyn will make a referral to DfES which may result in funding or contractual interventions.

  • Resettlement

    The processes which allow an offender to settle back into the community on completion of their sentence

  • Residential status

    In order for a learner to meet residency requirements, the following criteria apply:
    •  the learner is an EEA citizen or a citizen of Switzerland; or
    •  the learner is an asylum seeker; or
    •  the learner has refugee status; or
    •  the learner is ‘settled’ in the UK and their passport shows they live in the UK without any immigration control. They also have to show that they are ‘ordinarily’ resident in the UK/EEA for three years before the ESOL course starts and that their main purpose for living in the UK is not for education.
  • ROTL

    Release on Temporary Licence. A specially selected number of offenders are able to leave prison during the day to attend college or work or attend interviews.

  • Sabbatical scheme

    The ‘sabbatical scheme’ is an initiative aiming to help increase the number of Welsh-speaking teachers and lecturers who teach through the medium of Welsh.

  • Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults

    Statutory duty placed on education and training providers to keep children and vulnerable adults safe under section 11 of the Children Act 2004.

  • School Action

    When a class or subject teacher identifies that a pupil has additional learning needs they provide interventions that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the school’s usual differentiated curriculum offer and strategies.

  • School Action Plus

    When a class or subject teacher and the ALNCO are provided with advice or support from outside specialists, so that alternative interventions additional or different strategies to those provided for the pupil through school action can be put in place. The ALNCO usually takes the lead although day-to-day provision continues to be the responsibility of the class or subject teacher.

  • School council

    A representative group of pupils elected by other pupils to discuss matters about their education and raise concerns with the senior managers and governors of their school. The Welsh Government wants all children and young people in Wales to enjoy their education and to feel that their school responds to their needs. Pupils should have the opportunity to let adults know their feelings and opinions about things that affect them. They should also be able to have a say about decisions and to play an active role in making their school a better place.

  • School Effectiveness Framework

    The School Effectiveness Framework has been developed by the Welsh Government in collaboration with key stakeholders. It sets out the vision and an implementation schedule for putting School Effectiveness based on tri-level reform into action.

  • Schools Challenge Cymru

    Schools Challenge Cymru 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. The schools involved are called ‘Pathways to Success’ Schools.


    Scope is a UK disability organisation whose focus is people with cerebral palsy.

  • Sector Skills Councils

    A Sector Skills Council is an employer-led independent organisation that covers specific occupational skills. Its role is to improve learning opportunities through Foundation Modern Apprenticeships and Modern Apprenticeships and to reduce any shortages in skilled workers.

  • Secure estate

    Facilities run by HM Prison Service, including prisons and youth offending institutions.

  • Secure setting

    These are places where young people, who have broken the law, serve their sentences after a court conviction. Secure settings are young offender institutions or secure children’s homes. The prison service or social services run these facilities.

  • Special Educational Needs (SEN)

    Special educational needs are defined within the SEN Code of Practice for Wales (2002) and can include disability, learning difficulties or emotional, social and behavioural difficulties.


    The special educational needs co-ordinator co-ordinates the work of a school to support pupils with special educational needs. (See ALNCO.)

  • Sentence plan

    A plan which sets out a consistent, constructive and coherent approach to be undertaken during an offender’s entire sentence, whether in custody or in the community and leading to a reduction in reoffending.

  • Serious weaknesses

    A school has serious weaknesses if, although it gives its pupils an acceptable standard of education, it has significant weaknesses in one or more areas of its activity. This category of schools has now been replaced by significant improvement (see below).

  • Settings

    Funded by the Welsh Government, through Early Years and Childcare Partnerships, to provide part-time education for three-year-olds to five-year-olds. Settings include playgroups, private day-care providers, independent nurseries and child minders.

  • Severe and profound learning difficulties

    Pupils with severe learning difficulties have significant intellectual or cognitive difficulties. (Cognitive difficulties include conditions such as short-term or long-term memory problems, and finding it difficult to make decisions or to plan and organise even the simplest daily tasks. They may also have associated difficulties in mobility and co-ordination, communication and understanding, and learning self-help skills.)

  • Significant improvement

    This is a formal category that applies to schools causing concern as defined by the Education Act 2005. The Minister for Education and Skills and Assembly officers will be informed when schools are placed in these categories and kept informed, following monitoring inspections by Estyn, of subsequent progress. Significant improvement means that a school is judged to be performing significantly less well than it might in all circumstances be expected to perform. A team of inspectors returns to the school for a few days a year later to find out how well the school has progressed. If progress is not good enough, the school may be placed into special measures. This category can also apply to local authorities.

  • SIMS

    This stands for ‘School Information Management System’. It is a tool aimed at helping schools to manage information about their pupils and staff.

  • Single Education Plan

    Education services are covered by a series of plans, such as the Education Strategic Plan and Behaviour Support Plan. These have been replaced by a single plan that sets out intended outcomes for the education services provided by local authorities in line with policies set out by the Welsh Government.

  • Skill Build

    These programmes give learners an opportunity to try different kinds of jobs to find out which one suits them best. The programmes also support learners to develop the skills they need to progress to further training or to work.

  • Skills for Life

    This is a general term used to refer to the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), literacy and numeracy curriculum in England, including qualifications. The term is now used in Wales and it particularly relates to the suite of ESOL qualifications offered by providers in Wales.

  • Skills framework

    The Skills framework for three to 19-year-olds (2008) is a non-statutory framework designed to underpin the planning for the Foundation Phase, all National Curriculum Subject Orders, and the frameworks for personal and social education, careers and the world of work, and religious education. It identifies four main skill areas: communication, application of number, information and communication technology and thinking skills. The communication and application of number elements have been superseded in January 2013 by the national Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF). This framework is compulsory for 5 to 14 year-olds from September 2013.

  • Skills that Work for Wales

    Skills That Work for Wales is a skills and employment strategy bringing together a Welsh response to the Leitch Review of Skills in the UK and a preliminary response to the independent Review of the Mission and Purpose of Further Education in the context of The Learning Country: Vision into Action, chaired by Sir Adrian Webb.

  • ‘SMART’ targets

    This is an acronym used to describe effective planning processes. SMART plans are those with targets, which are specific, measurable, achievable, resourced and time-limited.

  • Social, emotional and behavioural difficulties

    Pupils with these difficulties may display behaviour that is withdrawn, isolated, disruptive, hyperactive, inattentive, socially immature or challenging. Some of these pupils have associated difficulties in mental or physical health, communication and learning.

  • Soft skills

    The cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that complement hard skills, which are the technical requirements of a job.

  • Speaking and writing frames

    A teaching approach which enables pupils to work to a framework in order to sequence their ideas for work on topics so that they can develop more extended oral and written contributions.

  • Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales

    This is an independent tribunal set up to hear and decide parents’ appeals against the decisions of local education authorities about provision for children with special educational needs and disability discrimination in schools.

  • Special measures

    This is a formal category that applies to schools causing concern as defined by the Education Act 2005. The Minister for Education and Skills and Assembly officers will be informed when schools are placed in these categories and kept informed, following monitoring inspections by Estyn, of subsequent progress. Special measures means that a school is not providing an acceptable standard of education and its leaders are not demonstrating that they can help it to improve. We work with the school and the local authority to develop an action plan, in order to address the inspectors’ recommendations. Then we visit the school every term to monitor progress, until we judge that it has improved enough to be taken out of special measures. This category can also apply to local authorities.

  • Specified work

    This enables pupils to continue their learning as they carry out activities under supervision. This is distinct from cover supervision work to cover teachers absent on sick leave where no active teaching takes place. Specified work in schools can include tasks set by teachers, extended tasks jointly planned by support staff and teachers and free-standing enrichment activities delivered by external specialist teachers or volunteers.

  • SSA

    The Welsh Government distributes its annual Revenue Support Grant to each Council through a formula called the Standard Spending Assessment or SSA. The SSA is the amount which the Welsh Government assesses is required to provide, in relative terms, a standard level of service in the area. Each local authority has a nominal element within its SSA for the local authority youth service.

  • Strategic management

    This refers to leaders and managers having a clear vision for the role of education which is reflected in clear forward planning.

  • Strategy for Older People

    This provides a structured basis for the Welsh Government and other public bodies in Wales to develop future policies and plans, which better reflect the needs of older people and recognise the changing nature of society and social circumstances.

  • Steps to Employment programmes

    Steps to Employment programmes are designed for people who are 18 years of age or over, have left full time education, are ordinarily resident in Wales and in receipt of Department for Work and Pensions allowances. They are training programmes focusing on moving individuals into work by providing them with the support to overcome barriers into work including the necessary employment skills to obtain sustainable employment. There are two Steps to Employment programmes provided to meet the individual needs of learners. These are Work Focused Learning and Routeways to Work.

  • Stronger Partnerships – Better Outcomes

    Stronger Partnerships for Better Outcomes is statutory guidance under sections 25(8), 26(5), and 27(4) of the Children Act 2004. These provisions place a duty of local co-operation on local authorities in Wales and a range of partners to improve the wellbeing of children and young people in each local authority area. They require local authorities to appoint a lead director and to designate a lead member for children and young people.

  • Subsidy

    Jobcentre Plus often pays a wage subsidy to employers who take on a client as an employee under the Workstep programme (see below). This is because many clients on the Workstep programme are not normally as productive as other employees or they may need special adaptations to the workplace. One of the aims of the programme is that clients develop the skills and confidence to move on to unsubsidised (or open) employment.

  • Success rates

    These indicate the number of learners who achieve a qualification as a percentage of those who started the course.

  • Sure Start

    Sure Start is a Welsh Government programme which aims to deliver the best start in life for every child and brings together early education, childcare, health and family support.

  • Sustainable development

    This is about improving the quality of life without putting it at risk for the future, for example by reusing and recycling.

  • SSSP

    This is the Summary of Secondary School Performance which contains summary examination information, specific to each school, compiled by the WJEC on behalf of the Welsh Government. By adding data from all the main examination boards in England and Wales each year, a cumulative record of achievement of each pupil in Wales is created. These pupil level results are then aggregated to school level to provide the information on the form.

  • Technical certificate

    A technical certificate is a written paper which focuses on the knowledge and understanding needed to complete the qualification framework for a foundation apprenticeship or a modern apprenticeship.

  • The Class Moves!

    The Class Moves! is a programme of relaxation exercises for primary school children. The programme aims to encourage children to take part in physical exercises, with the objectives of, increasing motivation, improving concentration, raising physical awareness, encouraging sensory-motor development, and promoting self-care and injury prevention.

  • The third sector

    The third sector is comprised of non-governmental organisations that are value driven and which principally reinvest their surpluses to further social, environmental or cultural objectives. It includes voluntary and community organisations, charities, social enterprises, co-operatives and mutuals. Housing associations are also included in the third sector.

  • Therapists

    This term includes people such as speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists who assess, and provide support for, children and young people with additional learning needs.

  • Threshold

    Indicators showing threshold equivalencies were published (as provisional indicators) for the first time in 2007 and are now the headline indicators of performance in secondary schools. Thresholds represent a volume, or ‘size’, of qualifications at a specific level on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Three thresholds have been established:
    •  Level 1 – a volume of qualifications at Level 1 equivalent to the volume of five GCSEs at grades D-G;
    •  Level 2 – a volume of qualifications at Level 2 equivalent to the volume of five GCSEs at grades A*-C; and
    •  Level 3 – a volume of qualifications at Level 3 equivalent to the volume of two A levels at grades A-E.
  • Ti a Fi

    Welsh-medium parent and toddler group

  • Traineeships programmes

    Traineeship programmes are designed for young people up to the age of 18. They are programmes focusing on the early engagement of young people, using a flexible learning approach to encourage continued participation in education and training. The main focus is to get people into employment. There are three Traineeship programmes provided to meet the individual needs of learners. These are Engagement, Level 1 and Bridge-2-Employment.

  • Transition grant

    The Welsh Government has made additional funding of £5 million available to local authorities (LAs) in 2006-2009 through the key stages 2-3 transition grant. The transition grant supports innovative and exemplar projects that focus on key elements of transition plans.

  • Tri-level reform

    Tri-level reform is the whole of the education community (schools, local authorities and the Government) working collaboratively and in alignment. The Framework describes the key characteristics required to build on existing good practice and improve children’s and young people’s learning and wellbeing throughout Wales, and each partner’s contribution to securing that.

  • Unfilled places

    Places are left unfilled when there are fewer children in an area than there are school places available. Sometimes known as spare, surplus or wasted places.


    The United Nations Children’s Fund

  • Unpaid work

    Unpaid work used to be called community service and is a community-based punishment of the court.
    Offenders may be sentenced to perform unpaid work in the community for between 40 and 300 hours. Most unpaid work projects directly benefit the local community. Examples of unpaid work schemes include rejuvenating run-down areas for the public’s leisure use, decorating village halls and youth clubs or assisting charities in delivering services to those in need. Twenty per cent of the hours can be used for basic skills and employment-related training.
  • UPN

    A Unique Pupil Number is an identifier for use in the educational context during a child's school career only and subject to Data Protection restrictions.

  • Value-added data

    This is a measurement of the amount of improvement that a school has brought about in a pupil over time. It is the relative advantage that a school gives a pupil, after taking into account the pupil’s ability.

  • Value for money

    How effectively and efficiently resources are deployed

  • Values education

    This is the development of pupils’ sense of social responsibility and respect for others.

  • Visual impairment (VI)

    Impairment that can range from mild visual loss to blindness

  • Vocational area

    Vocational areas are those activities and experiences that lead to understandings of and/or skills relevant to a range of (voluntary and paid) work environments.

  • Vocational courses

    Courses which are based on an occupational area. They often include a high level of practical work and direct applications, such as work experience, to the occupations in question.

  • Vocational training

    Where learners are engaged in activities which provide an environment for developing employment related skills and achieving qualifications.

  • Wake and shake

    A routine of exercises to music

  • Wales Audit Office (WAO)

    Under the direction of the Auditor General for Wales, the WAO provides Wales with a comprehensive audit and inspection service across a wide range of public services.

  • Wales Pre-school Providers Association (WPPA)

    An independent voluntary organisation providing community based pre-school childcare and education.

  • Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification (WBQ)

    The Welsh Government introduced the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification in 2003 as a three-year pilot for learners aged 16 and over. During the first three years, the pilot qualification was available only at level 2 and level 3 (Intermediate and Advanced diplomas). In September 2006, the level 2 (Intermediate level) pilot qualification became available to all pupils in key stage 4 in schools. At the same time, a pilot level 1 qualification (Foundation diploma) was introduced for learners aged 16 and under, and those over 16.
    In October 2006, after the level 2 and level 3 pilot projects had been successfully completed, the Minister for Education, Learning and Skills announced the full roll-out of the WBQ from September 2007 onwards.
  • Welsh for adults

    Welsh for adults is teaching for adults who want to learn Welsh. Usually, learners attend these part-time courses at least once a week. In many cases, beginners go to classes for at least four hours every week.

  • Welsh-medium education

    A Welsh-medium school is a school that teaches more than half the subjects in Welsh.

  • Welsh-medium school

    A Welsh-medium school is a school that teaches more than half the subjects in Welsh.

  • Welsh network of healthy school schemes

    The Welsh network of healthy school schemes (WNHSS) encourages the development of local healthy school schemes within a national framework. These local partnerships between health and education services encourage health-promoting schools in their area.

  • Wider points score for post-16 learners in schools

    This score comprises all qualifications approved for use in Wales.

  • WJEC

    The examination body for Wales


    The Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes (WNHSS) encourages the development of local healthy school schemes within a national framework. Each local authority works in partnership with local staff from the National Public Health Service to support schools to develop actions to address health issues.

  • Women’s refuge

    A women’s refuge is a safe haven for women with or without children who have suffered domestic violence.

  • Work-based learning

    Public-sector and private-sector work-based learning providers offer vocational training and assessment, mainly in the workplace.

  • Workforce remodelling

    In January 2003, the DfES published ‘Raising standards and tackling workload: a national agreement’. This included reform of the roles of support staff in schools so that teachers and pupils are better supported.

  • Workload agreement

    In January 2003, the DfES published ‘Raising standards and tackling workload: a national agreement’. This set out a seven-point plan designed to reduce the workload of teachers and to improve standards. It is known as the ‘workload agreement’.

  • Workstep

    A training programme funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (previously Jobcentre Plus), which offers support to people with disabilities who face barriers to getting and keeping a job. It provides opportunities for these individuals to get jobs and supports them in work.

  • Welsh dimension

    Part of the National Curriculum that helps pupils to develop and use their knowledge and understanding of the cultural, economic, environmental, historical and linguistic characteristics of Wales. Also known as Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig

  • Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig

    Part of the National Curriculum that helps pupils to develop and use their knowledge and understanding of the cultural, economic, environmental, historical and linguistic characteristics of Wales. Also known as the Welsh Dimension.


    Year 11 Information System is a value-added monitoring system that provides a wide range of performance indicators and attitudinal measures for students in the last two years of compulsory schooling (ie aged 14-16). It is part of the family of information systems offered by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University.

  • Young offenders

    Young people aged under 17 who have broken the law

  • Young offenders’ institution

    A place where young people aged between 15 and 21, who have broken the law, serve their sentence after a court conviction. The Prison Service runs these facilities.

  • Young People’s Partnership

    They deliver youth support services to young people in Wales. The partnerships have to make sure that youth support services are provided across a local authority area and they have to consult young people about the services they need. The partnerships are co-ordinated by the local authority.

  • Youth forum

    A formal group of young people in a local authority area who regularly meet to discuss issues that matter to local young people. Providers of public services, such as education, leisure and health, in a particular area often consult the forum to find out young people’s views on these services.

  • Youth Gateway

    Youth Gateway is a programme run by careers companies to support young people as they move into the job market, training or further education.

  • Youth Justice Board for England and Wales

    A non-departmental public organisation set up in September 1998 to co-ordinate the youth justice system for England and Wales. Its aim is to prevent offending by children and young people by preventing crime and the fear of crime, identifying and dealing with young people who offend, and reducing offending.

  • Youth Justice System

    The Youth Justice System has three main parts.
    •  Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) which include police officers, the probation service, social services and people from other organisations. Their job is to deal with young offenders in the community, and help stop them committing crimes.
    •  Youth Courts deal with all young people who have been charged with a crime. Sometimes in very serious cases a youth court might decide to send a young person for trial by a Crown Court, the same kind of court that deals with serious crimes committed by adults.
    •  Custody. In some situations a court can give a young person a custodial sentence. This means that they have their freedom taken away and are kept in secure accommodation. 
  • YOI

    Young Offenders Institution; a place where young people aged between 15 and 21, who have broken the law, serve their sentence after a court conviction

  • Youth offending team

    Youth offending teams aim to prevent young people breaking the law or help them not to do so again. Local professionals work together in teams and provide young people with the services they need to help them overcome their difficulties. Youth offending team workers see young people regularly. They help young people to understand how their victims feel and to work out what led them into crime. The team workers also develop a support programme including counselling on drugs and alcohol and help with education, health and housing. Young people also receive help to manage their anger.

  • Youth support services

    Services that help young people, directly or indirectly, to:
    •  take part effectively in education and training;
    •  take advantage of opportunities for employment; and
    •  take part effectively and responsibly in the life of their communities.
    These services are run by a range of providers such as local authorities (including the statutory youth service), health providers, and local and national voluntary organisations. They are funded from a wide variety of sources including funding from the local authority and national, European and voluntary sector finance.
  • 5x60

    The 5x60 programme is managed by the Sports Council for Wales and funded by the Welsh Government. It aims to encourage school pupils to be more active.

  • 14-19 learning core

    The learning core of 14-19 includes:
    •  key skills;
    •  Welsh language skills;
    •  work-related skills;
    •  Wales, Europe and world;
    •  personal, social, sustainability and health matters;
    •  careers matters;
    •  attitudes and values;
    •  work-focused experience;
    •  community participation opportunities; and
    •  cultural/sporting/aesthetic/creative experiences.
  • 14-19 Learning Networks

    A strategic group of providers of education and training in a local area, set up as part of ‘Learning Country: Learning Pathways 14-19’

  • 14-19 Learning Pathways

    The National Assembly’s strategies for developing and improving education and training opportunities for 14-19 year olds referred to in ‘Learning Country’ (2001) and ‘Learning Country: Learning Pathways 14-19’ (2002).

  • 14-19 Network

    A strategic group of providers of education and training in a local area, set up as part of ‘Learning Pathways 14-19’ (see above).

  • Continuous provision

    This term refers to the use of resources that are continuously available in the indoor or outdoor classroom for pupils to use independently. The resources should match pupils’ interests and general stage of development, and give them the opportunity to practise, consolidate and extend their learning. Generally, teachers designate parts of the classroom to support different areas of learning, such as role-play, construction, reading and creative development. Schools refer to these as areas of continuous provision. Where the continuous provision works well, practitioners plan carefully to make sure that it meets the needs and reflects the interests of each cohort of learners successfully. Where pupils choose the area they want to work in, and what they are going to do there freely, this is called ‘child-initiated learning’.
  • Enhanced provision

    This describes additions to the continuous provision to provoke children to think more deeply, practise new skills, or learn new ways of working. Teachers add resources, questions or suggestions to the continuous provision to help move pupils’ learning forward. Teachers plan additions linked to the skills and concepts introduced during focused teaching, to spark interest in a new topic or to enable an individual or group of pupils to follow a particular thread in more depth. The enhanced provision will change over time, to support pupils’ learning as it develops. Occasionally, enhanced provision resources become part of the continuous provision as pupils progress. Where practitioners choose the enhancements and require pupils to work in a specific area, this is ‘adult-directed learning’. If pupils choose the enhancements, and where they work, this is ‘child-initiated learning’.