Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

specific facts statistics or items of information the material generated by a research project or study. Data does not 'tell us' anything: it is the interpretation of data that is crucial.

day release

a programme whereby individuals are allowed to spend a day (usually per week) studying training or working away from their normal environment. It is commonly used in business or commerce but is also a term used in prison and secure hospital contexts.


descriptive of a system where power is redistributed or devolved away from a central authority. It can refer to arrangements in national or local government or to an institution's internal structures.


removing excess material or demands imposing order. In education most often used for a process whereby curriculum content and assessment requirements are reduced and made more manageable and coherent.


a term originating in the work of Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) referring to the systematic analysis of texts to reveal how they 'construct' their object as if dealing with a definite 'presence' - an external reality or definite source of knowledge.


the drawing of a particular instance or truth by reference to a general rule or principle. In logic the necessary conclusion from a premise: where it is impossible to assert the premise and deny the conclusion without contradicting oneself (see induction syllogism).

deep learning

a term for a form of learning which involves a thorough understanding of the material topic as opposed to surface learning  or rote learning.

deficit model

in education any conceptualisation of a problem which describes it in terms of a deficiency or failure on behalf of a person or group as opposed to an institutional or systemic failure. For example a deficit model would view disabled access as resting in the inability of the target group to enter a building as opposed to the failure of the building or those managing it to provide suitable entry for all. It is most common in discourse about pupil needs learning and behaviour.


in educational management the action of entrusting tasks or responsibilities to others  (usually junior colleagues). It is viewed as a more enlightened and efficient form of management but can be controversial when management retains financial reward for tasks and responsibilities which have thus now become the work of others or where key duties are entrusted to less qualified and capable staff.


a system of government where supreme power rests with the people a way of organising an institution system group or body according to the views of the majority of its members an approach characterised by equal rights and fairness.

democratic teaching

an approach to classroom management where decisions about subject content and methods are negotiated and shared between teacher and learners.


statistical data relating to population or particular population groups. In education it can refer for example to the national make-up of the school population and trends in birth-rate or to the characteristics of a population local to an area or school.

denominational school

a school run according to the principles of a particular religious group. Properly it only refers to a branch of the Christian church but has become synonymous with faith schools in general.


in moral philosophy any theory which takes duty or obligation as the basis of morality. It is often contrasted with utilitarianism which is based on teleology -  the consequences of action.


the damaging lack of material benefits typically characterised by poverty poor housing bad health and low wages or unemployment. The term is also used more broadly for any lack such as emotional deprivation ( see disadvantage socioeconomic).

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