School jargon can be so baffling, here is a quick guide, in alphabetical order, to lots of common words and phrases. There are links to blogs for more information.


Simply, Age Related Expectation. This is a term used to describe how your child is getting on and whether they are working at about the right level for their age. 


Simply, putting letter sounds together to read words. Children will learn to read words by first saying each of the sounds out loud, they then need to ‘blend’ the sounds together to read the whole word. 

Cursive writing

Simply – a style of joined up writing. Cursive letters always start from on the line. Children may be taught ‘pre-cursive’ writing before they join. This is where they start letters on the line but don’t actually link them together yet.


Simply, it’s just two letters that together make one sound. So in rain ‘ai’ is a digraph because a and i together makes one sound. There are also Split digraphs, see definition further down the page.


Simply – Early Years Foundation Stage. This is the learning which children follow from birth to 5 years old. Nurseries, pre-schools and Reception or Foundation classes all use these standards.


Simply – Educational Psychologist. A professional who works with children and families who may have additional needs. Typically EP’s visit children in school and can carry out assessments and offer support for a range of learning difficulties.

Facts for Free/ Fact Families

Simply – a group of sums using the same three numbers. For example if we know 8 add 2 makes 10, then we also know that 2 add 8 makes 10, this is a fact for free. A fact family is four facts – 8+2=10, 2+8=10, 10-2=8 and 10-8=2.


Simply, Good Level of Development. This is a term used at the end of Reception/ Foundation where children are assessed against the Early Learning goals to see if they have achieved the average level for their age. 


Simply – letters and combinations of letters which make a sound. Different graphemes can make the same sound so the letters ‘ai’ in rain have the same sound as ‘ay’ in tray. Both ‘ai’ and ‘ay’ are graphemes.


Simply – Key Stage 1 is years 1 and 2. Infant Schools are schools for children in Reception and Key Stage 1. The National Curriculum dictates what children need to learn when they are in years 1 and 2.


Simply – Key Stage 1 is years 3,4,5 and 6. Junior Schools are for children in Key Stage 2. The National Curriculum dictates what children need to learn when they are in Key Stage 2.

Number Bonds

Simply – a pair of numbers. Think bond = glue/link. The bonds are two numbers which make another number. So 2 and 1 are a number bond that makes 3.


Simply – a separating numbers into parts. This is often to help with calculating and most commonly is separating numbers into tens and ones or hundreds, tens and ones etc. For example 23 partitioned into tens and ones is 2 tens and 3 ones.


Simply – a sound. FUN FACT – There are approximately 44 phonemes (unique sounds) in the English Language.


Simply – a method of teaching reading. Phonics links letters to sounds and it’s the main method of teaching reading and spelling in Pre-schools and Primary Schools.

Place Value

Simply – the value on a digit depending on it’s place in a number. For example in the number 245 the 2 represents 200, the 4 is 40 and the 5 is 5.


Simply – Speech and Language Team. Professionals who can work with children who may need extra help with their speaking and also use and understanding of language.


Simply – Standard Assessment Tests. The proper name for these is actually ‘National Curriculum Assessments’ Children sit SATs in year 2 and year 6 for Reading, Writing (SPAG) and Maths.


Simply, breaking words down into separate sounds. Children will learn to spell words by separating out the sounds and writing them in order. For example the word ‘train’ would be segmented into ‘t’ ‘r’ ‘ai’ and ‘n’. 


Simply, Special Educational Need and Disabilities Co-ordinator. These are professionals working in schools who support children who may have additional needs. This may include assessing children, liaising with families, referring to outside agencies like speech and language teams etc.


Simply, Spelling, punctuation and grammar. Schools teach these elements for children’s writing. In year 2 and year 6 there are Statutory tests for SPAG (unfortunately nothing to do with spaghetti bolognese!) 

Split Digraphs

Simply – two letters which make one sound but split up with a letter in the middle. The a_e in lake makes one sound and is a split digraph; a and e are split up with k in the middle.

Tricky Words

Simply – words which cannot be sounded out. These words have to be learn by sight, the normal phonics rules do not apply.


Simply – three letters which make one sound. For example ‘igh’ in the word night go together to make a sound like ‘eye.’

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