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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How to approach a school

It can feel intimidating to try and build a link with a school when the church has little previous connection. Here is a guide to some of pathways you can explore.

Be mindful that when you approach a school you are representing your church; so ensure that you are acting with the knowledge and support of your church leadership before you do so.

Through the Head Teacher

It is crucial to recognise that the Head Teacher is the guardian of the school. No-one has the "right" to be part of the life of a school; access is only given through the invitation and permission of the Head Teacher.

Head Teachers are busy people with many demands on them and little spare time. You need to accommodate this, and be patient. Start by writing a formal letter to the Head Teacher, introducing yourself, your church, and outlining briefly what you would like to offer the school (here is a sample letter you could adapt). Follow up with a phone call to make an appointment to meet them, and discuss further your church’s involvement with the school. Don’t leave it too long to follow up!

When you meet, don’t expect more than 20 minutes of their time. Christians are used to church meetings lasting an hour or more, but there is no space in the day for most Head Teachers to spare this sort of time. Don’t be offended, but serve them by being brief.

Building trust and relationship takes time. Don’t expect to go to your first meeting and be enthusistically asked to do everything. The Head Teacher needs to get to know you and for trust to be built. Offer to start with the little things (see ‘Simple Ideas,’ for suggestions) and be reliable. 

Through other Staff

There may be church members (or other local Christians) who work in the school as teachers, secretaries, or learning support assistants. It’s worth chatting to these people about your ideas. They can advise on what would genuinely be of service to the school. If they like your ideas they may also be willing to introduce you to the Head Teacher.