An explanation of many common terms and abbreviations used in education:


'A' level: Advanced level

'AS' level: Advanced Subsidiary level - roughly equivalent to half an 'A' level.

ACCA: the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants - body that ratifies Accountancy qualifications.

Access: admission or entry to a particular course or programme of study. This term can be used in other contexts as well (See Foundation). It is most often used to describe an introductory course or programme of study to prepare students for entry to College or University.

Accessibility: a policy relating to disabled access to buildings, and also the viewing of websites by disabled and partially sighted users. Also, Accessible: when a websites contents can be accessed fully by people with disabilities.

Accreditation: an organisation or institution that certifies that you have gained a qualification or assures the quality of a course. For instance, the British Council.

Additional Needs: a disability or learning difficulty requiring extra support.
Admissions Procedure: the process of ensuring that the needs and abilities of individual students match the aims and demands of particular programmes, taking into account the policy of Equal Opportunities (see entry for Equal Opportunities, below).

Advice and Guidance: help from a specially trained, impartial team of advisers who will make sure that you've chosen the right course for you. You can get advice and guidance before you apply but if you change your mind about your course choice later on you can go back and get further help.

Advocate: someone who speaks on your behalf if you have difficulty communicating verbally, eg in a pre-enrolment interview.

Alumni: former students of an educational institution.

Amanuensis: a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) who takes notes for you during classes if you have difficulty writing yourself.

Application: the form you fill out to state your course preference. You can either fill out a printed form or apply online. Once your application has been accepted you might need to Enrol (see Enrolment, below).

Apprenticeships: These are training programmes for people under 25 years of age and who have left full time education or are already in employment. Apprenticeships offer young people the opportunity to start their career through a combination of work experience and vocational courses.

Assistive Technology: additional equipment that will help a student to achieve his or her learning goals, such as a trackball for people who have difficulty using a mouse, or a Screen Reader/Screen Magnifier.

AVCE: Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education - the new name for GNVQ Advanced - equivalent to an 'A' level.


BA: Bachelor of Arts degree, sometimes BA (Hons) - an Honours Degree.

BEd: Bachelor of Education

BSc: Bachelor of Science degree

BTEC: Business and Technology Education Council - the body that ratifies the following courses:

BTEC National: vocational qualifications which prepare students for direct entry into employment or for progression to Higher Education. The qualification has 3 strands, BTEC National Award, BTEC National Certificate and BTEC National Diploma.
BTEC National Award: a 6 unit award focusing on particular aspects of employment within a chosen sector. It is equivalent to 1 A level or AVCE and may be particularly attractive to higher education in combination with these qualifications.

BTEC National Certificate: a 12 unit certificate providing a work-related programme of study. It covers the key knowledge and skills required in the chosen sector and allows students the opportunity to specialise through the choice of optional units. It is equivalent to 2 A Levels or the AVCE Double Award and may be combined with these qualifications.

BTEC National Diploma: an 18 unit diploma extending the specialist knowledge from the 12 unit Certificate. It is broadly equivalent to 3 A Levels/AVCEs.
Browser: an application that opens and displays web pages. Some of the browsers currently in use include Netscape, Opera, Internet Explorer and Safari.
Bursary: a monetary grant given to eligible students.


C&G: City and Guilds - vocational qualifications.

CAL: Computer Assisted Learning

Campus: a college or university site, usually with its own accommodation for students. This usually refers to the buildings and surroundings of a university where the university is the principal or sole occupier of an area.

CCTA: City College for the Technology of the Arts

CEF: Clearing Entry Form - the form you need to fill out in order to enter the Clearing process (see Clearing, below).

Clearing: the system operated by UCAS (see entry for UCAS below) to match students who do not have an offer of a course with institutions that have vacancies.
Continuous Assessment: a method of assessment over the duration of a course using Course Work (see below). Courses that use continuous assessments may or may not also have written examinations as part of the assessment process.

Course Work: a written assignment, pieces of work for your portfolio or a practical activity.

Credits: a system for determining the time and duration of study needed to gain a particular award. Once you've gained enough credits you pass your course.

CSS: Cascading Style Sheet - controls the layout of a page and how the text looks.

Curriculum 2000: An initiative designed to broaden student's learning experience by giving them access to activities not normally covered by their course. See Enrichment.


DfE: Department for Education

Distance Learning: a course of study that you can do anytime, learning at home or at your place of work. Distance Learning often involves course materials on CD ROM or delivered via websites. Instead of learning in the traditional manner in a classroom at set times, Distance Learning allows you to work at your own pace and in a place of your own choosing.

Diversity: the celebration of different cultures, religions and lifestyles within the College.


EFL: English as a Foreign Language

ESL: English as a Second Language

ESOL: English for Speakers of Other Languages

Entry Requirements: what's needed for you to be accepted onto a course when you apply. This could mean a certain number of GCSE or 'A' level passes, a portfolio of work that you can show to your prospective Tutor, or just certain achievements and life skills in the case of Mature Students. In many cases, a willingness to study and your own enthusiasm is the only entry requirement needed.

Enrichment: College activities not related to study, such as sports, societies etc.

Enrolment: the final stage in the application process before starting a course. On receipt of a formal offer, you might have to come in and complete some paperwork to say that you'll be taking up the place. As well as confirming that you'll be starting the course, this also allows the College to keep track of student numbers and student's details. At Nottingham College enrolment for full-time courses usually takes place in late August and throughout September.

Equal Opportunities: a code of practice whereby the College allocates places on courses or fills job vacancies on merit, regardless of age, race, gender, religion or disability.


FdA: Foundation Degree

FE: Further Education

Font: the typeface used in webpages. The Font is specified in the Stylesheet (see CSS).

Foundation: a course that must be completed before a place on a degree can be given. If your qualifications are not considered sufficient for direct entry onto a degree programme the institution you apply to may require you to undertake a study programme to bring you up to the level required.

Fresher: a student beginning their time at college or university. A Fresher's Week or Fresher's Fair may be organised to allow the new students to meet people and get to know the college/university. We hold a Fresher's Fair yearly at each of our centres.


GCSE: General Certificate of Secondary Education

GNVQ: General National Vocational Qualification - a 2 year course taken after the age of 16, generally in work-related subjects.


HE: Higher Education

HNC: Higher National Certificate, and HND: Higher National Diploma - Level 4 qualifications, widely recognised by employers and universities. Achievement at this level allows for progression into management or for specialist development in the chosen subject area or entry to Year 2/3 of degree programmes at university.

HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language - the language that webpages are written in.


ICM: Institute of Credit Management - the organisation that ratifies Credit Management courses.

ICT: Information Communication Technology - the use of computers within education.
IiP: Investors in People - the national Standard which sets a level of good practice for training and development of people to achieve business goals.

ILEX: Institute of Legal Executives - the body that ratifies specific Legal qualifications.
Induction: a period of time to enable a student to orientate his or herself at College (see also Fresher, above).

Interim Award: award given for part completion of a programme.

IoH: The Institute of Hospitality renamed on 2 April 2007 was previously known as the Hotel & Catering International Management Association (HCIMA)


Key Skills: skills needed for successful completion of your educational qualification, work and in most aspects of life. Key Skills can be developed in the areas of Communication, Application of Number, Information Technology, Problem Solving, Working With Others and Improving Own Learning and Performance.


LEA: Local Education Authority

LEA Funding: a grant that you might be entitled to depending on your choice of course studied and your personal circumstances.

Learning Advisor: the first point of contact when requesting support. It is essential that students with additional specialist support requirements are referred to the Learning Advisor before commencing their learning programme. However, students may access support at each stage of their learning programme.

Learning Support: extra help for students who have learning difficulties or some other special need. The help is provided by a specialist tutor or Learning Support Assistant (LSA).

Learner Support Fund: a fund that you might be eligible to apply to if you're in real financial difficulties. (See also the entry for Welfare, below).

Lecturer: also known as a Tutor. Lecturers and Tutors are members of staff who are responsible for the teaching of courses and in helping students to learn. Traditionally, Lecturers deliver lectures and Tutors hold tutorials for smaller groups, but now the same person often does the two types of teaching.

Levels of Study: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 modules. The levels often equate with the year of study you are in. As you successfully pass modules at one level of study you progress to the next level.

Lifelong Learning: the concept of continued study beyond school, college or university.

Life Skills: experience of life outside of formal education, gained since completing compulsory schooling. In the case of prospective Mature Students, Life Skills can be used as a means of gaining entry onto Access or Foundation Courses to prepare them for going onto Higher Education.

LSA: Learning Support Assistant

LSC: Learning Skills Council - this body has replaced the Training & Enterprise Council (TEC) & the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC). It is responsible for the delivery of post-16 vocational / work-based education.


Mature Student: usually over 19 years of age when they begin their course, a Mature Student is someone who doesn't go into Further/Higher Education directly from school/college or has spent time away from study. Mature students often have wider experience of the workplace and life as a whole. Specific definitions of “Mature Student” may be applied when financial help is sought to support their studies. (See also Lifelong Learning, above).

Module: an individual study element of your programme. Most institutions divide their programmes of study into a series of modules. Successful completion of the modules will give you the award.


NUS Extra Card: the card you can purchase when you join the Students Union (see entry below). Every student is eligible for one which entitles them to a discount at participating restaurants and shops, usually 10%.

NVQ: National Vocational Qualification - these are work related qualifications broadly equivalent to the GNVQs but more specialised.


OCN: Open College Network - College designed courses with national accreditation.

Open Evening: an event where the College is open to all and everyone can come and find out about the courses we offer. We hold Open Evenings at all our sites throughout the year.


PGCE: Postgraduate Certificate of Education - initial teacher training qualification following completion of a degree course.

Portfolio: a collection of your work, used to assess you as part of Continuous Assessment (see entry for Continuous Assessment, above) or as a way of gaining entry onto a course with Entry Requirements (see Entry Requirements, above).

Programme: a course of study.

Progression: this describes moving from one level to another, usually a higher one: ie. from BTEC National Certificate to BTEC National Diploma.

Prospectus: a guide to courses and curriculum areas.


RoA: Record of Achievement - a document in which the cumulative record of a pupil's academic, personal and social progress throughout school is recorded. You might need to present your RoA to support your course application.


Screen Magnifier: an application used by people with a visual impairment to make portions of the screen bigger, enlarge text etc.

Screen Reader: an application that reads the contents of a webpage aloud to a user. Usually used by blind and visually impaired people. See Accessibility.

Semester: an educational institution might divide its academic year into two semesters: perhaps from October to February and from February to July.

Seminar: when a group of students meet to discuss a subject with a tutor. Usually someone (or the group as a whole) prepares a paper for discussion and shares the research they have done and their opinions on the subject. Seminars are more interactive than a lecture and are often student led.

SENDA: Special Education Needs and Disability Act - an Act of Parliament that requires that students with disabilities or learning difficulties have equal access to College or University facilities and courses. Colleges and Universities must not treat disabled students less favourably, without justification, for a reason which relates to their disability and must demonstrate that they have made reasonable adjustments to ensure that people who are disabled are not put at a substantial disadvantage compared to people who are not disabled in accessing Further, Higher and Local
Education Authority-secured education.

Specific Learning Difficulty: a range of difficulties including Autism Spectrum Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia. Someone with one or more of these conditions has Additional Needs and will be eligible for Specialist Support.

Specialist Support Requirements: any support or extra equipment that a student with Additional Needs requires.

Students' Union: an elected body of young people who represent the interests of students and work on students' behalf about a wide range of issues. The union can also provide the focal point of student social and sporting activities. Every student is eligible to join.


TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Term: Spring, Summer and Autumn - the period in which courses run. An educational institution may still have Terms instead of Semesters (see above) as its traditional in England.

Tertiary College: a college which brings together all educational provision for the 16-19 age group, including that normally provided in school Sixth Forms.

Tutorial: small group meetings to discuss with each other and their tutor the work they are doing and more general course issues. Tutorials can also be on an individual basis with a student discussing their work with a Tutor (see Lecturer/Tutor).


UCAS: pronounced Yew-Cass, UCAS stands for the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service - the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry into Higher Education.

Usability: ease of use of a website, such as pages that are quick to load and being able to find the information you want easily.


VISA: official documentation allowing you to stay in a country for a given length of time, eg. for the purposes of studying.


Welfare: the wellbeing of students whilst they are studying, particularly financial.