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British Educational Terms


Key Stage What? A Foreigner’s Guide to UK Educational Terms

As an educator jumping into a new system, you may find that one of the most confusing things to adjust to can be the acronyms and certain terms. Here’s a list of the most common ones you’ll come across and what they mean.

Key Stage 

This is how the UK system is broken down. A group of 2-3 years is put together into a ‘key stage’. For example, Year 1-2 is called Key Stage 1, Year 3-6 is called Key Stage 2 and so on.


This is you - an Overseas Trained Teacher


An individual who has recently completed their teaching course, or a Newly Qualified Teacher. NQTs usually do one year of induction teaching before becoming fully qualified teachers.


Qualified Teacher’s Status. This is given to a teacher after they’ve completed their training and is similar to a teaching license in other countries.


Special Educational Needs


Special Educational Needs Coordinator. This person manages all SEN casework within the school and usually works alongside parents, social care groups and school staff to support students with SEN


Individual Education Plan. This outlines the needs and action plan for students with specific learning needs.


Teaching Assistant. Usually supports the teacher and students during the school day.

Head Teacher 

Similar to a Principal and runs the school.

Deputy Head

 Similar to a Vice Principal.

A full list of UK education acronyms and their explanations can also be found on the Department for Education website:

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