Small group interventions take up the lion’s share of a TA’s time. It is an ongoing challenge to:

  • Ensure that every child receives their required interventions – for some pupils this may be several every day.
  • Create an opportunity to speak to the teacher to be clear about exactly the skill the pupil is to work on.
  • Make certain that the needs of each individual pupil are catered for; supplying visual prompts, handwriting grips, ear defenders, making sure they have their glasses.
  • Engage the pupil/s.
  • Source and prepare materials and gather together equipment.
  • Cope with behaviour.
  • Accommodate the ever-changing school day to fit in interventions around swimming lessons, special projects, school trips, play rehearsals and absences.
  • Find space to carry out the interventions.
  • Feed back to the teacher.
  • Evidence the intervention with photographs and record the session outcomes.
  • Reflect upon the session about what went well and prepare for the next.

And, most importantly of all, teaching a new skill to a pupil that they can generalise back in the classroom and other situations – all in a 20 minute intervention slot!

I don’t know how we do it…

So, what makes a successful intervention group?

We asked TAs from around the country to share their tips for overcoming some of these hurdles when running their intervention groups.

We really hope that you will be able to take some of these back to your school.

“I write the child’s name on a reward token and when I see the exhibiting the target skill I stick the ‘token’ against their name. At the end of the sessions, whoever has the most tokens gets a sticker. They love this!” – Beverley Ferris, Westcliff Primary Academy, Devon.

A group must understand their task to become engaged. A similar level of ability is preferable because too much differentiation will result in the group splintering and losing focus. Always have related extension work at hand. – Sue Westwood, Whitstable Junior School, Kent.

“Teaching new skills is one thing – but generalising them across the curriculum is another. Keeping communication up with teacher and other members of staff certainly will support this.” – Jane Bainbridge, St Nicolas School, Canterbury.

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