29 most common acronyms used in education (IMHO).

So this time last year I was preparing myself for my initial training, and I remember being bamboozled on my school orientation experience and subsequent placements at the amount of acronyms used in education. On twitter, the use of acronyms is (understandably) more widespread.

For those of you who want to get a bit of a head-start, I’ve listed what I’ve found to be the most common acronyms from my first year of teaching. So as not to be overwhelming, this list is deliberately non-exhaustive, but I think that on any given week you’re likely to hear most of these. Please feel free to add in any more in the comments.

AfL – Assessment for Learning (also known as formative assessment)

ASD – Autistic Spectrum Disorder

BESD – Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties

CPD – Continuous Professional Development (ongoing training for all teachers)

EAL – English as an Additional Language

EBI – Even Better If

EHCP – Education, Health and Care Plans (replacing statement of SEN from Sept ’14)

FSM – Free School Meals (, children receiving)

G&T – Gifted and Talented

HA – Higher Ability/Attaining (sometimes called MA for More Able)

IEP – Individual Education Plan (for children with statements of SEN)

LA – Local Authority (replaced LEA for Local Education Authority)

LA – Less Able/Lower Attaining

LI – Learning Intention

LO – Learning Objective

LSA – Learning Support Assistant (usually an adult working with a specific child)

NC – National Curriculum

PRU – Pupil Referral Unit (can be behaviour, medical, or mixed)

SA – School Action (describes children with additional educational needs)

SA+ – School Action Plus (as above, but more severe)

SEAL – Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning

SEN – Special Educational Needs, sometimes referred to as SEND, where the D stands for disability.

SENCO – Special Educational Needs Coordinator (named individual in school responsible for children with SEN)

SLT – Senior Leadership Team (sometimes SMT for Senior Management Team)

SLD – Speech and Language Difficulties

SpLD – Specific Learning Difficulties

TF – Teach First

WALT – We Are Learning To

VAK – Visual Auditory and Kinaesthetic (debunked theory of ‘learning styles’)




  1. This is brilliant.


    AFL – Assessment for Learning
    SD – Schools Direct
    PGCE – Post Graduate Certificate in Education
    WP – Widening Participation

  2. MAT – is similar to G&T and stands for More Able and Talented,
    ITT – stands for initial teacher training
    GTP – is another route into teaching,
    PDG – is pupil Deprivation Grant, which is specific funds aimed at closing the gap in educational inequality
    FSM – Free School Meals students

  3. A great list. Education would be so much fun if they were all abandoned.

    The only addition I would make is to add WILF to WALT. When I was in state secondary I borrowed these two from primary for my A levellers.

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