Return to MAIN (index) page Return to ASPECTS of LEARNING page Acronym Buster (for Lifelong Learning)



What does it stand for?


What is/was it? What does it do?


ALI Adult Learning Inspectorate

Established in the Learning & Skills Bill (1999) to inspect FE provision for over 19's - extending OFSTED's remit to inspect college provision for 16-19's.


AQA Assessment and Qualifications Alliance

An awarding body incorporating C&G, NEAB, AEB and SEG. (Click for more details)


ASDAN Award Scheme Development & Accreditation Network

An awarding body offering qualifications in Key Skills etc. including the Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) (Click for more details)


AVCE Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education

GNVQs restructured and renamed in September 2000


BTEC Business and Technology Education Council

BTEC merged with London Examinations in 1996 to form Edexcel.  BTECs are vocational qualifications. (Click for more detail.)


CPVE Certificate in Pre-Vocational Education

An educational qualification introduced in 1986 for students 16+ in schools and colleges who want a one-year course of preparation for work or further vocational study.

DCSF Department for Children, Schools and Families

Government Department tasked with all matters relating to the education and welfare of children and young people. (Click for more details)


DES Department of Education & Science

Government department (1964-1992) with responsibility for education - superseded by DfES


DfE Department for Education

Government department (1992 - 1995) with responsibility for Education - superseded by Department for Education and Employment.


DfEE Department for Education and Employment

Government department (1995 - 2001) with responsibility for Education and Employment - superseded by DfES.


DfES Department for Education & Skills

Government department (2001 - 2007) responsible for children's services, education and lifelong learning in England.  Its objectives include raising standards in schools, tackling the adult skills gap, and making sure that all 19-year-olds are ready for skilled employment or higher education.  Superseded by DCSF and DIUS.


DIUS Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

Government Department bringing together responsibility for Science and Innovation (from the Department of Trade and Industry) and Skills, FE and HE (from the Department for Education and Skills.) (Click for more details)


ECM Every Child Matters

Government programme for a national framework to support the "joining up" of children’s services - education, culture, health, social care, and justice. (Click for more details)


ERA Education Reform Act 1988

Widely regarded as the most important piece of education legislation since the Education Act 1944.  It allowed for Local Management of Schools (independent of Local Authorities). It introduced the National Curriculum and Key Stages.  (It also led to the dreaded "league tables")


ET Employment Training

"Training to help you get the job you want."


FE Further Education

Post-compulsory education distinct from the Higher Education (HE) offered at Universities. Primarily delivered in colleges.


FEDA Further Education Development Agency

National agency (1995 - 2000) set up to provide services to FE to promote quality, lead curriculum design & development, and enhance effective management.  Now known as the Learning & Skills Development Agency (LSDA)


FEFC Further Education Funding Council

Central body (1992 - 2001) set up to administer funding.  Its assets, rights and responsibilities were transferred to the LSC as a result of the 1999 Learning & Skills Bill.


FENTO Further Education National Training Organisation

Established in November 1998 to improve standards in FE.  Involved in developing UK-wide standards for FE lecturers, managers and principals.  Its work led to the setting up of IfL as a nationally recognised professional body for FE.


FEU Further Education Unit

Merged with Staff College in 1995 to become FEDA.


GCE General Certificate of Education

"O-levels" and "A-levels"


GCSE General Certificate of Secondary Education

A merger of GCEs and CSEs (Certificate of Secondary Education)


GNVQ General National Vocational Qualification

Less vocationally specific than NVQs - having parity with A-levels.


HE Higher Education

Education at degree level traditionally delivered at universities.


IfL Institute for Learning

A professional body for teachers, trainers and lecturers working in FE and in other adult learning settings. (Click for more detail)


LEA Local Education Authority

Historically, that part of a local council that was responsible for education.


LLUK Lifelong Learning UK

The independent skills sector council responsible for qualifications and standards for teachers working in FE. (Click for more details)


LSC Learning and Skills Council

Established in 2001, LSC took over the training function of the TEC and the funding responsibilities of FEFC.  Responsible for funding, planning and quality assurance of FE, sixth-forms, work-based training for young people, adult & community learning, adult advice & guidance, and education-business links.  (National office supported by 47 local offices.) (Click for more details)


LSDA Learning and Skills Development Agency

Previously the Further Education Development Agency.  Became LSDA before evolving to become the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) and the Learning and Skills Network (LSN)


LSN Learning and Skills Network

LSN is a not-for-profit organisation offering services to policy-makers, practitioners and organisations funding, managing and providing education.


MSC Manpower Services Commission

Non-departmental public body (1973 - 1987) with a remit to coordinate employment and training services.  Briefly re-branded as the Training Agency before being replaced by TEC.


NC National Curriculum

Nationwide curriculum for primary and secondary schools (not including Independent Schools) - established after ERA (1988) (Click for more details)


NCVQ National Council for Vocational Qualifications

Established in 1986 to reform the vocational qualifications system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. NCVQ set up a system of accreditation for qualifications (NVQs) awarded for various levels of occupational competence by approved bodies.


NEET Not in Employment, Education or Training

Young people not in employment, education or Training.


NETTs National Education and Training Targets

Targets set by Government.


NGfL National Grid for Learning

Government-funded gateway to education resources on the Internet (established in 1998)


NIACE National Institute of Adult Continuing Education

Educational charity (established in 1921) dedicated to promoting adult learning. (Click for more details)


NOCN National Open College Network

Accreditation system for adult learning.  Instrumental in developing a qualifications framework for the Lifelong Learning sector.


NRA National Record of Achievement

Launched in 1991 (as a result of Sir Ron Dearing's report) NRAs were intended to recognise qualities of learners on government funded initiatives (reliability, punctuality, interpersonal skills, etc.) that might not normally be accredited.


NTA National Training Award

The National Training Awards identify and celebrate organisations and individuals that have achieved really outstanding business and personal success through investment in training. (Click for more details)


NVQ National Vocational Qualification

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are work-related, competence-based qualifications that reflect the skills and knowledge needed to do a job effectively.



An awarding body incorporating Oxford, Cambridge and RSA.


OfSTED Office for Standards in Education

Set up in 1992 as a non-ministerial government department whose aim is to improve standards and the quality of education by means of inspection.  From 2001, there is also a post-compulsory division intended to impact on 16-19 provision in colleges. (Click for more details)


QCA Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

A public body, sponsored by DCSF, responsible for designing qualifications, curriculum and assessment (Click for more details)


QIA Quality Improvement Agency

Set up by the government, it seeks to improving quality throughout the sector by helping providers respond to government priorities for learning and skills. (Click for more details)


RAC Regional Advisory Committees

Set up by FEFC to administer funding, allocated on the basis of student numbers and type of educational provision offered.


SATs Standard Assessment Tests

Tests taken by pupils in England and Wales when they have completed the first 3 Key Stages of the National Curriculum (at ages 7, 11 and 14). The tests are not "passed" or "failed" but are used to give an indication of how well children are doing at school. (Click for more detail)


TEC Training & Enterprise Council

Established in 1988, TEC controlled post-16 educational funding with a remit to transform training systems nationwide.  Superseded by LSC in 2001.


TA Training Agency

National training body, developed out of MSC, whose aim was to develop relationships between training, vocational education, employers and national objectives.


TVEI Technical and Vocational Education Initiative

A scheme to encourage educational institutions to organise, deliver and manage vocational education - providing funding for the resourcing of such.


UfI University for Industry

Online courses that can be studied at home or at Learndirect centres, where help and advice is available. (Click for more detail)


YOP Youth Opportunity Programme

Government initiative that provided young people with work experience as a possible precursor to permanent employment.


YTS Youth Training Scheme

One- or two-year course of training and work experience for unemployed school leavers aged 16 and 17, from 1989 provided by employer-led Training and Enterprise Councils at local levels.



A fuller list of acronyms can be found at EMIE at NFER

(Education Management Information Exchange at National Foundation for Educational Research)

The above site lists approx. 1000 (current) acronyms related to education & training.

It does not even attempt a full historic record!

Is it any wonder you are confused?


Click here for Learning & Skills Council Jargonbuster