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Terminology used in Independent Schools






A


Assistant Housemistress or Housemaster

Helps provide cover for the Housemistress or Housemaster, giving pupils round the clock supervision

B


Boarder, Boarding

Pupils who live at the school during term-time, including staying overnight

Bursaries

Some independent schools provide bursaries, which are grants from the school to help pay school fees and may be means tested. They differ from scholarships, which are usually dependent on the pupil’s ability (in music, sport or academic ability, etc).

C


Casuals or mufti

Pupils' own clothes, as opposed to uniform

Chapel

A private church for use by the school, often set in the school’s own grounds

Chaplain

The church minister who looks after the school’s staff and pupils, who form the congregation in the chapel

Closed weekend

A weekend during which no exeats or floaters may be taken, usually because a whole-school event is taking place

Common entrance examinations

Common entrance examinations are sometimes required to be taken by pupils for admission to an independent school. Many schools also use the common entrance exam as the basis for awarding entrance scholarships and bursaries

Curriculum

The set of courses and their content that are offered at a school

D


Day pupils

Pupils living locally who attend the school for lessons and extra-curricular activities, but who do not board

Dormitories or dorms

Pupils’ bedrooms, usually shared by several pupils - though older pupils may have single study bedrooms

E


Entrance examination

School entrance examinations are usually taken by pupils at the ages of 11+, 13+ or 16+ and require a minimum pass rate for pupils to be offered a place at that school

Exeat

A period of absence from school. A weekends leave from a boarding school or a required note to take absence from school either for entire days, or parts of a day, for appointments, interviews, open days and other fixtures

F


Fees

The charges for your child’s education, cost of boarding, food and educational trips

Fixed exeat

A weekend during which all pupils must leave the school

Flexi boarding

A combination of boarding and day. Where the pupil boards for part of the week and attends daily for the rest of the week. Some families find that this suits them best, and it can be a useful way for a pupil to decide whether or not they want to become a fulltime boarder

Floaters

Exeat weekends which you choose, as opposed to a fixed exeat on which everyone goes away

Full boarding

An arrangement whereby pupils board throughout the school term

H


Housemistress or Housemaster

A Housemistress or Housemaster is assigned to run each boarding house and provides for the day-to-day care of the pupils, away from lessons. Typically, they will be the first point of contact for parents about all matters concerning their child, and also an important friend and mentor for the child throughout their school life. The Housemistress or Housemaster may also teach an academic subject and be assisted by an Assistant Housemistress or Housemaster to provide round the clock cover

I


Independent school

Schools which are self-governing and funded independently of the state

Independent special school

Schools which are self-governing and funded independently of the state and provide for pupils with special educational needs

K


Kindergarten

A school for young children often aged between 0 and 6. Also known as a nursery school or pre-school

L


Lent term

The name of the spring academic term

Local Authority

Local Authority in UK under which each school is registered

M


Matron or San Sister

The nurse who works in the San or Sanatorium

Michaelmas term

The name of the autumn academic term

Montessori

A method of educating young children that stresses development of a child's own initiative and natural abilities, especially through practical play

Mufti or casuals

Pupils own clothes, as opposed to uniform

N


Non-maintained special school

Non-maintained special schools are independent special schools approved by the Secretary of State for Education. They are run on a not-for-profit basis by charitable trusts and normally cater for children with severe and/or low incidence special educational needs

Non-selective school

These types of schools do not require pupils to take an examination prior to being offered a place

O


Open days, mornings

When prospective pupils and their parents can visit schools and often receive a guided tour

P


Pastoral care

To look after pupils personal needs, rather than their education. Making sure they are happy, comfortable, well-fed and have clean laundry, etc

Pre Preparatory or Pre Prep

Independent schools preparing children up to the age of seven for entry into fee-paying, preparatory independent schools, which may also be known as public or private schools

Preparatory or Prep

Independent schools preparing children up to the age of eleven or thirteen for entry into fee-paying, secondary independent schools, which may also be known as public or private schools

Prep

Another word for homework

Principal

A principal is the most senior teacher and leader of a school, also known as Head of School, head teacher, headmaster, headmistress, or the head

Proprietor

The owner of a the school

Public school

Schools which are self-governing and funded independently of the state

Private school

Schools which are self-governing and funded independently of the state

Pupil referral unit

A pupil referral unit (PRU) is established and maintained by a local authority which is specially organised to provide education for children who are excluded, sick or otherwise unable to attend mainstream school and is not a special school

S


San or Sanatorium

The school’s medical centre, staffed by a resident qualified nurse who looks after pupils' healthcare needs, typically supported by the local GP and other healthcare services as required

San Sister or Matron

The nurse who works in the San or Sanatorium

Scholarship

A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a pupil to help with education or boarding. Scholarships are awarded on various criteria usually reflecting the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award

Schools own curriculum

Is the set of courses and their content which are offered at a school and may vary from school to school as some schools work to their own bespoke curriculum

Selective school

A selective school may require pupils to sit and pass an examination in order to be offered a place

SEN unit

Provides special provision within a mainstream school where the children are taught mainly within separate classes. Units cater for a specific type or types of Special educational needs (eg: autistic spectrum disorders); are usually for pupils with statements of special educational needs

Special educational needs (SEN)

Pupils who have been statemented for special educational needs (eg: mild learning difficulties)

Study bedroom

Bedrooms for older pupils, who have a room to themselves instead of sleeping in a Dormitory or dorm to allow them more privacy and independence

T


Tuck box

Snacks and sweets, either brought from home or bought from the school tuck shop and kept safely in each pupil’s tuck box

Tutor

Assigned to each pupil to talk to them about their progress in all academic subjects and in other aspects of school life

Tutor group

A group of pupils who share the same tutor. They usually meet at least once a day for registration, general discussion and administration

V

Vespers

A religious service held in the evenings

W


Weekly boarding

An arrangement whereby pupils may board during the week and go home every weekend


 
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