School Vocabulary

I have divided up my school vocabulary into easy to learn sub-sections. You will also find some more academic vocabulary that relate to university terms here.

School Subjects

literacy the ability to read and write
PE Physical Education - sport and movement
History the study of past events
Mathematics abbr. maths (BrE) and math (AmE) - the study of numbers, measurements and quantities. Includes algebra and geometry.
Science the study of Chemistry, Physics and Biology
Creative writing writing that expresses the writer’s thoughts and feelings in an imaginative way
Computer Studies studying the use of computers
Geography study of the earth and its features

Types of Schools

Nursery School school for young children (normally between the ages of 1 and 5) before starting statutory education. Sometimes also called Kindergarten and pre-school
Primary School the first stage of compulsory education, also sometimes referred to as Elementary School
Secondary School the final stage of schooling, between primary school and university, also sometimes called High School
Private School a school that is not run by local or national government, also sometimes called independent or nonstate schools
Boarding School a school where some or all of the pupils study and live during the school year
Co-educational the integrated education of boys and girls together


like board

headmaster a male principal of a school
headmistress a female principal of a school
pupil a young person who studies at school
blackboard a dark, smooth board, for writing on with chalk
canteen place where food is provided at the school for the pupils
staff room a room where the teachers can socialise, relax, discuss, eat and have a break
term a semester, a time when a school holds classes
syllabus the curriculum, the course outline
optional classes classes that are not compulsory, you have a choice in whether to do them or not
marks number, letter or symbol used to indicate various grades (e.g. 95%, A)
break time in between lessons when children can rest from learning, when they can eat and play


to play truant to be absent from school without permission
to be absent to not be present
to be expelled to be forced to leave permanently, normally because of bad behaviour
to bully repeated intentional cruel and aggressive behaviour
to learn by heart to memorize
to cheat to act dishonestly, to break the rules e.g. by using crib notes
to pass to receive a grade or mark above the acceptable minimum
to fail to receive a grade or mark below the acceptable minimum
to retake to write an exam again
to revise (Brit)
to review (US)
to go through material again in order to remember it, usually before an exam

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to acquire

to go to town

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

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