What is a school intervention?

School interventions allow teachers to address gaps in a child’s knowledge and barriers to their progress. When a need has been identified, a school intervention will help overcome these barriers to their learning.

School interventions are very specific in the way they are conducted. They are allocated a time within the school day to be completed and consistently monitored. An intervention ensures every child reaches their potential and benefits from learning in the curriculum. Once the child has made progress, they may be taken off the intervention, as they may no longer need the school intervention. The intervention and children are then assessed to identify if anyone else can benefit from a school intervention.

Why may you need an intervention?

There are many reasons a learner is placed in a school intervention, but the purpose of school interventions is always the same, to progress children and allow them to access the curriculum. Below are some examples of why you may need a school intervention:

SEND interventions – No SEND school intervention meets the needs of all SEND pupils. You can’t target every essential in one SEND intervention. However, many resources can help your SEND learners in the classroom.
You may also find that your SEND children may need support outside of academics to aid them in accessing the classroom. This may mean decreasing sensory overload or providing overlays that benefit dyslexic students.

Pupil Premium Interventions – Pupil premium funding is a perfect opportunity to purchase interventions and resources that the school budget doesn’t cover. However, it is worth remembering that not all students who receive Pupil Premium funding will require the same intervention. Pupil Premium interventions have become more important since Ofsted now look closely at Pupil Premium funding in their inspections.

Maths Interventions – Maths is one of the core subjects in the curriculum. Some children will fly through the curriculum, while others may struggle with specific maths skills, which can hinder their future learning. All children are different, and while one child may be great with measurement, they may struggle with money. Assessing your children’s maths skills will identify what school intervention will benefit them.

English Interventions – English is a core subject in the curriculum and is an extensive subject. The English curriculum covers phonics, reading, SPaG, transcripts, and handwriting, creating a range of interventions. Phonics looks at decoding; decoding words is a key skill in reading. You will find specific school intervention programs that schools can buy into to deliver interventions, such as 60-second reads, VIPERS skills, and catch-up literacy.

SATs interventions – SATs interventions plug the gaps for year 5 and 6 pupils in preparation for their SATs in year 6. This can cause years 5 and 6 to be heavy on interventions, so the quality needs to be in place over quantity. There are many programs that schools can buy into for SATs interventions, and interventions should be identified early to prevent cramming of knowledge.

EAL interventions -EAL interventions help children and ensure EAL is not a barrier to their learning. This can mean teaching children the English language or identifying gaps in their education due to EAL.

School Intervention Examples

Fine Motor Skills Social Skills Growth Mindset Speech and Language Handwriting
Number Bonds Timestables VIPERS Skills Maths Skills Phonics Set 3
Fluent in Five SATs Intervention EAL – Nouns and Verbs Basic Sentence Formation SPaG Punctuation

What does an effective school intervention look like?

For a school intervention to be effective, it needs to be clear on outcomes, direct planning, consistently monitored and assessed, and evaluated at the end of the course.


Before you plan a school intervention, you must identify the following:

  • What is the need?
  • What are your intended outcomes?

Start with looking at your children:

  • Who is accessing the curriculum?
  • Are there any gaps in your student’s knowledge and skills?
  • What does your data show?
  • Who would benefit from a school intervention?

Once you have answered these questions, you need to address the following:

  • What are your intended outcomes for specific gaps?

These outcomes will help you pinpoint what targets are required.


One of your pupils has a beautiful imagination but struggles to get ideas down on the page due to poor hand muscles. In addition, this child works by holding a pencil, so their handwriting is illegible. The intended outcome is to improve this child’s handwriting and support with holding a pencil correctly by developing hand muscles. Intervention needed = fine motor skills to develop strength in fingers and hold a pencil correctly.


You have identified your intended outcomes; what now?

The planning element of a school intervention will consider the following:

  • What will the intervention entail?
  • How will we implement this intervention?
  • What provision is always available in school?
  • What resources and staff do we have available?
  • What challenges may be in place before conducting an intervention?

These questions will support you in the planning process of interventions. For example, barriers to an intervention could be; teachers’ knowledge, resources, or staff availability. Identifying these barriers will ensure you can overcome them before providing an intervention. Speak to your Senior Leadership Team about how you can overcome obstacles to your intervention.

Baseline assessments must be in place at the start of your intervention to help you monitor the progress that specific intervention will make. In addition, ensure your staff are confident with delivering their intervention and are involved in the planning process.

Things to consider when planning your school intervention:

When will the intervention take place? – you want to ensure children don’t miss vital lesson time every week; having the same intervention at the same time every week can develop a gap in a different area of the curriculum.

What will be taught in the intervention? – ensuring what they learn in the intervention will plug the gaps they already have. Link their learning to what they are trained in the classroom and develop their skills to help them in future classroom learning.

Where will the intervention take place? – find a space in the school that is quiet, spacious, and has resources available not to take time away from the intervention to find resources.

How will resources be managed? – you may find that other interventions in the school may need similar resources. Ensure you keep track of where your resources are and have a schedule to make sure everyone has the resources they need to run a successful school intervention.

What feedback is expected after every session? – feedback to children has been proven to build their knowledge and confidence in their learning. After each session, how will you communicate feedback to your students? Will you provide written feedback? Will you have a small discussion at the end of each session? How will your feedback to the teacher be after each session?


Your intervention is for year three children on number bonds. You are given 5 minutes for each child to work on their number bonds skills. You decide to do a quick-fire round at the start of the session and then have a discussion at the end to identify gaps in their learning. Your plan requires you to have several bond resources, your feedback is oral, and then you decide to score each quick-fire round to monitor progress and relay this back to the teacher.


Has the pupil made progress?

Have the gaps in knowledge been identified and filled?

Do you need to extend the length of the intervention?

Consistently monitoring your interventions will allow you to see if the intervention is targeting children’s knowledge and skills and whether it is benefiting their future learning. Collecting a range of data will help you analyze and evaluate your school intervention. Data examples that can be collected:

  • Baseline data
  • Progress in each session
  • Feedback from adults and learners
  • Formative final assessment
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