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Secret jargon of the initiated

Lindsey Thomas has a little test for those who think they know their acronyms.

By this time in your career you will have realised that teachers rarely communicate with each other in any language recognised by the rest of the population. Part of your initiation into their mysterious gang is to come to terms (excuse the pun) with the combinations of acronyms that pass as staff room conversation.

So how well are you doing so far? Not too sure? Here's a little quiz to help you measure your progress. It's very easy, all you have to do is match the acronym to what it stands for. Simply tick the answers that seem to be closest to the truth and then add up your score at the end.

1. GCSE a) General Certificate of Secondary Education b) Gratuitously Changed Syllabus for Examination c) the Government's top secret spying HQ 2. IEP a) Individual Education Programme b) Indigestible Extensive Paperwork c) A contraceptive device

3. OFSTED a) OFfice for STandards in EDucation b) Organisation for the Furtherance of Stress and Emotional Disintegration c) a club for people who like loitering at the back of the classroom

4. SCAA a) School Curriculum and Assessment Authority b) Society for Cultivating Authorised Absurdity c) Something you are left with after a nasty brush with the powers that be

5. EBD a) Emotional and Behavioural Difficulty b) Enormously Bloody Difficult c) one of the injections pupils are given through the school medical service

6. JCB a) Judgments Criterion Based b) Jargon from a College Boffin c) A large tractor thingy


1. a) 10 b) 65 c) 1

2. a) 10 b) 65 c) 1

3. a) 10 b) 65 c) 1

4. a) 10 b) 65 c) 1

5. a) 10 b) 65 c) 1

6. a) 2.5 b) 65 c) 500


* 50l-505: you may be picking up a vague idea in some areas but it's about time you read a book

* 510-541: well, you're making progress but there's still some way to go

* 550: You're too damn smart for your own good. Be careful, you are risking alienation from other teachers, as well as a label which involves the words "jumped up". There is a strong possibility that you have no social life. Read fewer books and talk to people

* 565-760: You are well on the way to becoming the staffroom cynic

* 825: You are the staffroom cynic

* anything under 500: there may be a number of reasons for this, but essentially you have lost your hold on reality. Try to get a grip before the men in white coats come

* anything with .5: look, you're trying too hard. Anyone who is prepared to second guess the answers to this quiz is seriously insecure - you should lighten up, a lot.

If you have checked the scoring system and discovered an error in my maths, this would suggest that you have far too much time on your hands. Get a life!

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