Here is our take on basic school timetabling terms as we use them in the Prime Timetable. Complicated terms and terms specific to some countries or regions have been avoided on purpose. Interpret the following timetabling terms as best suits your organization, e.g. use ‘college’ or ‘university’ instead of ‘school’, or ‘pupil’ instead of ‘student’, etc.


Institution designed to allow and encourage student groups to attend school activities under the supervision of teachers.

Teacher / Educator / Professor / Tutor / Instructor

Person who teaches, guides, instructs, trains or helps another in the process of learning knowledge.


Learner, or someone who attends an educational institution.


Place where teaching, learning or any other school activity can occur, e.g. biology room, history room, but also dining room, reception hall, teachers’ room etc.


Group of students or pupils attending a specific course or lesson.


Different set of groups forming a class, e.g. 5A class has 2 divisions: one consisting of a group of boys and girls, and the other consisting of a group of English and French students.


Class, Teacher or Room

Subject / Activity

Activity that includes at least one school resource, e.g. Maths, English, Biology, but also school recess, lunch, some non-class activities like teacher meetings, sport events, etc.

Period / Time slot

Block of time used for lessons


Structured period of time where a school activity is intended to occur.

School timetable

Table which displays lessons.


Visual representation of a lesson.

Awaiting card

Card waiting to be scheduled, temporarily placed outside the timetable.

Pinned card

Card locked on a specific period, meaning it won’t be rescheduled during automatic timetable generation, e.g. a timetabler is already satisfied with the card’s position.

Timetable view

Table that displays lessons as cards designed for drag & drop and other scheduling work, e.g. class view, teacher view, room view, 5A class view, etc.

Timetabling / Scheduling

Process of creating a school timetable and publishing it to the Web for sharing or printing.


Person who creates a school timetable.

The basic timetabling rule

One school resource during one school period can be scheduled in only one lesson. Otherwise, there is a conflict!


Group of cards on the same position or overlapping each other.

Window / Gap

Empty period between school activities.

Time request

Specifying whether a particular school resource or activity is allowed, forbidden, unwanted or mandatory in a certain period.


Requirement which should be satisfied in the generated timetable, e.g. setting that windows are forbidden for all classes.

Automatic timetable generator

Software which automatically creates a school timetable based on provided input.

Manual timetabling

Process of creating a timetable manually by dragging cards.

Timetable validation

Process of validating a timetable, e.g. verifying that there are no conflicts and that all specified constraints and time requests are met.

School scheduling/timetable software

Software designed to simplify scheduling/timetabling process.