Jargon Buster

You'll come across lots of terms within schools that you may not be familiar with. Below we help you out with the jargon.

ANS: Additional Needs Support

Christian Focus Week (or day): the opportunity to explore the Christian faith through a theme such as charity or peace across mulitple curriculum areas for a day or a week

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE): the name for the school curriculum (see 'Get Started' for more details)

Curriculum Leaders: another name for a Head of Department, generally found in secondary schools

Depute: Senior member of teaching staff who is second in command to the head teacher

Education Scotland: The national body supporting quality and improvement in Scottish education

Enhanced Disclosure: A criminal record check for working with children obtained before 2011, now replaced by the PVG Scheme Record

E’s and O’s: Experiences and Outcomes (see the article on Curriculum for Excellence in Getting Started for details)

HMIe: School inspectorate, now under the umbrella of Education Scotland

LSA: Learning support assistant

PSD: Personal and social development

PVG: Membership of the “Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme” enables you to obtain a criminal record check and be recognised as someone who is not unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults

RME: Religious and Moral Education

RMPS:  Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies studied at secondary school

RO: Religious Observance events. Traditionally an assembly, but under the guidelines for RO there is scope for some genuine creativity. See article for more detail.

SMT: Senior management team

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) : They provide the formal qualifications gained by pupils in schools

Transitions: The move from P7 to S1

Can’t find the word or acronym that keeps tripping you up?  Either contact us or have a look at the SQA website

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Child Protection / PVG

Keeping children safe in school

Parents need to be confident that when their child goes off to school in the morning, they will be properly cared for in a safe environment. This means that the school needs to check that everyone who volunteers in a school is a suitable person to be in contact with children. Furthermore, volunteers need to know what to do and who to speak to if they have concerns about the well-being of a child in the school. 

The school’s Child Protection Policy

Every school has a Child Protection Policy which gives guidelines for keeping children safe in school and procedures for ensuring that concerns about children who might be at risk are properly addressed.  If you want to volunteer in the school you need to ask to see a copy of the Policy. Any teacher at the school should be able to give you access to this Policy or you can ask the School Secretary. It is strongly advisable that volunteers have Child Protection training which can be accessed either through your denomination or through an organisation such as SU Scotland.

The PVG Scheme

To help schools and other organisations working with children to ensure that unsuitable people don’t have access to children the Scottish Government runs the “Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme”. Schools, churches and organisations such as SU Scotland can apply to Disclosure Scotland for membership of the PVG scheme for their employees and volunteers. Disclosure Scotland checks the person’s identity and then searches for any criminal record history and other relevant police information. If there are no convictions for serious crimes against children, or any other reasons why a person may be unsuitable for working with children, applicants become members of the PVG Scheme and can then be allowed access to the school. PVG Scheme members are sent a “PVG Scheme Record”, which can be shown to school staff to show that you are a PVG Scheme member.

How do I become a PVG Scheme member?

You will need to check with the Head Teacher whether your PVG scheme application needs to be sent in by the school or local authority, or whether they will accept a Scheme Record obtained through your church or through SU Scotland. Application through the school or local authority may incur a fee of £55; application through the church or SU Scotland is preferable since it is free! To find out how to apply for PVG membership through your church, speak to the church secretary or an elder or your minister.

Once you are a PVG Scheme Member, through whatever organisation, a school or local authority can obtain a “PVG Scheme Update” for you, to show whether any conviction information has been added to your record since your full “PVG Scheme Record” was obtained. If payment is needed, it should be only £19.

For further information you can contact SU Scotland's Volunteers Unit by emailing or calling 0141 352 7613.