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Education terminology changes almost daily. Ellie Brooksby explains how to get to grips with school jargon, so you, your children and their teachers are all speaking the same language

They say that the team who cracked the enigma code shortened the Second World War by two years and you may need to do some quick code cracking of your own before you can feel comfortable when talking to your child’s teacher.

We all think we know about schools because most of us went to them but the ‘Edu Speak’ of today’s ‘Gate Gossip’ can leave you feeling less than confident. Of course, once you know that ‘Foundation’ is the class where children cover the ‘Foundation Stage’ you realise that we are not talking ‘make–up’ here and being taken to Reception entails looking round your 4 year–old’s new class, not meeting a helpful girl behind a welcoming desk! Whatever happened to ‘the Infants’?

The ‘Edu Speak’ of today’s ‘Gate Gossip’ can leave you feeling less than confident

It gets a bit easier when you learn that your 5 year–old enters Year 1 but confusing if he has been at school since he was 3 and has already been two years at the school! Why not Year 3?

Ah well . . . you see Year 1 is the first compulsory class which means that for some children this is the beginning of their education which will see them through four Key Stages – countless national tests, Standard Attainment Tasks (SATs) and Teacher Assessments (TA’s) until most children take their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE’s) in Year 11 when they reach the end of compulsory school at the age of 16.

Watch this space. You may have to crack other codes as they grow up with ever–present plans for education system change just to keep you on your toes.

Reception entails looking round your 4 year–old’s new class, not meeting a helpful girl behind a welcoming desk!

Once you have got the hang of the structure there are more pitfalls along the way. PSE can start as young as 3 years old but it can morph into PSHE as your child moves through the school.

So, Personal and Social Education, where your child will learn to be self confident and be able to tell the difference between right and wrong, dress and undress, becomes Personal Social and Health Education when all this dressing and undressing leads to needing to know about sex education and healthy eating!

The SATs or Standard Assessment Tasks give you data on how your child is doing compared to national norms in English and Maths at the end of Key Stage 1, that is the end of Year 2 at the age of 6–7 years old. At the end of Key Stage 2, Year 6 at 11 years old, Science is added to the tests and by the end of Key Stage 3, Year 9 at 13–14 years old the tests are in English, Maths and Science. The TA’s (teacher assessments) cover all the other subjects.

Of course if you are in the Independent Sector there could be more codes to crack. Many Pre–Prep (Foundation and Key Stage 1) and Prep (Key Stage 2 and 3) follow the National Curriculum or a very similar equivalent but they often pride themselves on the breadth of the curriculum and prepare the children for additional examinations as well as or instead of the SATs.

Many Independent Schools have their own entrance requirements and the Head Teachers will always be happy to share their knowledge with you.

Traditional Public Schools will often require CE (Common Entrance) which can be taken at 11 years old in Maths, English and Science or at 13 years old where French, Geography, German, Greek, History, Latin, Religious Studies and Spanish may be added to the core curriculum subjects of Maths, English and Science. You are getting the hang of it now!

Assessment is constant, you may come across VR and NVR (Verbal Reasoning and Non Verbal Reasoning) and CAT tests – Cognitive Ability Tests – which help the teachers identify a child’s potential.

Your child may be labelled as SEN which means that they have Special Educational Needs or even GT. Not the Gin and Tonic that you will definitely need once you have cracked the code but Gifted and Talented which you, as their parents, must be to have got this far!