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6 essential steps for impactful interventions

Charlotte Menezes, September 2017
1. Assess your learners’ gaps in knowledge and skills

To ensure that your intervention is well targeted it is essential to make a careful assessment of pupils’ needs. This requires a close analysis of the subject area that will highlight pupils’ strengths and weaknesses in their knowledge and skills. Depending on the subject and the pupil’s age, pupils’ strengths and weaknesses can be assessed in a variety of ways. However, whichever tool is used it should provide an insight into what each pupil can and can’t do in the given subject area. When designing your intervention programme, it is vital that learning begins from a known starting point as opposed to a presumed one – hence the need for an initial gap analysis assessment.

2. Group children with similar needs

In order for your targeted intervention to have an impact on all pupils you will need to consider the way in which children are grouped. Following your gap analysis assessment, you will have a good indication of what each child needs to know in order to develop their knowledge and skills. Using this information will allow effective grouping of children who have similar gaps in their learning. Research into the impact of intervention suggests that small groups are most effective and therefore you should aim for no more than 6 pupils per group. As your interventions begin, each pupil may progress at different rates and some may stand out from the group that they have been assigned to. It is important to note that the groups for your intervention programme should remain fluid and flexible in order to respond accurately to the needs of the pupils. Be reactive.

3. Plan targeted and timely provision

Usually pupils who receive intervention are pupils who experience difficulty despite quality first teaching. Intervention sessions should be aligned with pupils’ lesson content so that the pupil can identify where their new skills and knowledge fits into their curriculum. The best interventions are planned on a given cycle of time, for example 3 times a week for 6 weeks. This gives you time to plan sessions which are progressive and build upon skills previously learnt.  Ensure that your sessions are practical, timely, fun and purposeful. Regular, short lessons are more likely to have an impact as opposed to longer and infrequent sessions. More often than not, investment of time and generation of ideas can be barriers to effective intervention. However, referring to a scheme can overcome such barriers. Try the Impact Intervention series for English and Maths which has pre-planned sessions that directly link to the objectives set out by the Programmes of Study.

4. Teach with enthusiasm and accuracy

Often the class teacher may plan the sessions but will not deliver them, hence the need for the planning to be clear in purpose and directive by nature. For your intervention sessions to be impactful, the member of staff needs to provide high-quality support, be knowledgeable and teach with enthusiasm. Your planning will be a great influence in this but the staff delivering the session will need to ensure that the sessions are engaging and well-paced. Positive praise will ensure that pupils maintain motivation for success; praise that is specific will give pupils tailored feedback.

5. Monitor the intervention

Successful interventions are monitored regularly to ensure that they provide the best outcomes for pupils. Maintain open lines of communication with the staff delivering the intervention session, whether that is through a written log or timetabled conversations. Tracking pupils’ progress will allow for future planning to be purposeful. Therefore, making notes during the session can help to ensure that information about pupils’ development is accurate.

6. Evaluate the programme

There are many outcomes of a successful intervention programme. One of the most pertinent is the improvement in pupil confidence and engagement with learning. It is always useful to reflect and evaluate so that future programmes can offer the best provision for learners. You can do this in a number of ways: pupil conferencing outlines pupils’ perspective, subject analysis provides insight into pupils’ strengths and weaknesses and attainment analysis depicts a measure of comparison with peers. Be mindful that interventions are usually short-term and therefore it is essential that pupils’ progress is tracked and maintained after the sessions.

Impact Intervention

Charlotte is the author of the English section of Impact Intervention Year 6

These handbooks boost pupil progress and speed-up planing through step-by-step plans and activities for English and Maths interventions.

Find out more and view samples of Impact Intervention