• Academic
  • Pastoral
  • Pre-Prep
  • Prep
  • Sixth Form
  • Sport
  • boarding
Independent School Terminology

Are you ever confused about the plethora of terms that are used in Independent Schools across the country? This glossary might come in useful… 

Admissions – are likely to be the first people you speak to when applying for a place at an independent school. The team will guide you through the joining process up until your place has been confirmed and you have been allocated a house. 

Bursaries – are a fee reduction for students on a scholarship and can be applied for (up to 100% in exceptional circumstances). Bursaries are subject to a means test and are therefore dependent on the parents’ financial resources. 

Exeat – is a compulsory break in the term in which all students leave school for the weekend. Exeats occur three times a year at Millfield Prep School and once a year at Millfield. Varying arrangements have been put in place for international students during the pandemic. 

Games – all students participate in a games programme. Year 9 students will participate in three different sports (one per term), four times a week. Year 10 and 11 students are able to diversify and start to specialise in their chosen sport, three times a week. Sixth Formers may choose from the whole range of sports on offer at Millfield, ensuring that they register for a minimum of three sessions per week. 

Grades – grading changed to a numerical system in the summer of 2021. The highest grade is 9 and 1 is the lowest (not including ungraded). Grades 9, 8 and 7 correspond to the two previous top grades of A* and A. 

Houses – these are physical buildings or spaces that are allocated to groups of students. Both day and boarding students have houses. At Millfield, we have 19 boarding houses and five day houses where students go to study, catch up with Houseparents and relax with peers. There are also competitions between houses which fosters comradery. Explore our boarding houses here. 

Houseparents – each boarding house has a resident Housemaster or Housemistress (HsM), they are responsible for the welfare of the children in their house and work alongside a team including an Assistant HsM who also lives onsite. Matrons, liaison tutors and non-resident tutors, all contribute to providing houses with a warm and supportive atmosphere where students can thrive. Day houses also have a HsM but they live offsite as day houses are not occupied at night. 

LSC – the Learning Support Centre support students with additional educational needs (AEN). Students’ needs can be identified through our extensive screening process and are subsequently assessed by a specialist teacher or an education Psychologist. 

MAP – Millfield’s Activity Programme (MAP) allows students to explore different activities and develop skills away from the core curriculum, games and sports programmes. Over 100 different activities are offered and some initiatives are student-led. Some of our quirkiest activity examples are dog walking, yoyo, beekeeping and smartphone photography. 

Prep – Prep is independent study time or homework, if you prefer. Students are set Prep five times a week, with the amount of time expected to be spent increasing through the age groups. In Sixth Form, Prep is independent study/revision time and can be done in house or in a quiet spot-on campus such as the library. Prep can take the form of revision for upcoming exams, catching up on missed work or simply preparation for the following day of lessons. 

Pre-Prep – is the first step of a child’s education for ages 2-7. Pre-Prep starts with Pre-School (ages 2-4) and Reception (ages 4-5), and then Year 1 (ages 5-6) and Year 2 (ages 6-7). 

Preparatory – for pupils aged 7-13. At Millfield Prep School, pupils first enter the Juniors department for Years 3-5 (ages 7-10) before being taught by further specialist teachers in Years 6-8 (ages 11-13). 

Senior – for Year 9-11 students, ages 13-16. Senior schools are the start of students GCSE studies and the start of more independent learning. 

Sixth Form – for students preparing for AS and A levels, prior to higher education. Lower Sixth (Year 12) and Upper Sixth students (Year 13) join Millfield’s leading academic programme where they apply for university and various higher education programmes around the world. 
SAT exams – stands for scholastic assessment test (SAT), a multiple-choice, entrance test for students aspiring to study undergraduate courses abroad, namely in the US or Canada. SATs are created and administered by the College Board and aim to measure a students’ readiness for further education. 

Scholarships – are a grant or payment made to support a student's education. A Millfield Scholarship is awarded to students who are inspired by learning and who are exceptionally talented in academics, sport, the arts or chess. Scholarships carry a maximum fee reduction of up to 10%. 
School Terms – you may hear the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms being referred to as Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity respectively. These names are derived from feasts of Saints that fall within the term and Trinity Sunday.