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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Do’s and Don’ts of schools work


  • Be reliable; do what you say you will when you say you will do it.
  • Be present and consistent; building relationship takes time.
  • Be flexible: allow the school to shape what you offer on the basis of their need.
  • Leave your own agenda at the door!
  • Be sensitive; the whole school is not Christian, so phrases like ‘We believe…’ can immediately make people feel excluded. Opt for “Christians believe...” or a more personal, “Because I’m a Christian, I believe...”
  • Come with the attitude of a servant, with gentleness, humility, grace and respect.
  • Value every individual regardless of religion, belief, sexual orientation, gender, age or even how they treat you! If we believe that Christ loves everyone, we need to treat everyone as precious and valuable.
  • Prepare everything thoroughly and make everything you do in the school of the most excellent quality.
  • Get up to speed with currently educational policies and practices to understand the world the people you are looking to serve live in daily.  Visit the Education Scotland website.


  • Don’t assume that people understand Christian phrases you may take for granted. E.g. rather than say the Bible tells us we’re all sinners, talk about the fact that no-one is perfect, and we all get things wrong sometimes.
  • Whatever your beliefs about the end of the world, judgement and eternity, a school is not the venue for sharing them. If you are asked directly, “do you believe non-Christians will go to Hell,” answer wisely. “That’s not really a question that I can answer easily just now” is a truthful starter. You could follow with a question such as, “what do you think happens when we die?” or “why do you ask?”.
  • Take care not to be sidetracked unnecessarily into discussing moral issues, especially those that are controversial.
  • Don’t use being in school as an opportunity to preach. The point of ‘Serve Your Local School,’ is that we just serve, without agenda or expectation of getting your voice and your point heard in return. We go into schools with open hands and humble hearts, looking to bless and serve, not seeking a platform.
  • Don’t assume that God is so small that by following the above you will never make God known. It is by God’s grace that we are chosen to be God’s people in certain places and certain times, and God will decide how to best use us.