Best Practice

Outventions: When interventions turn into exclusion

Do we fall back too easily on out-of-classroom interventions for pupils who slip behind? For pupils facing multiple interventions, this leads to effective exclusion from mainstream teaching. Sara Alston discusses

When children do not make the hoped for progress, we often look for “interventions” to support them. However, we are not always clear what we mean by an intervention.

Interventions should be about providing the right support at the right time to promote learning and/or wellbeing. This can predominately be delivered through small tweaks and adaptions within good, differentiated classroom practice undertaken by the teacher, teaching assistant, or a combination within the classroom.

Yet in many schools, an “intervention” means an activity or group with an additional adult outside the classroom. We often fall back on this view of interventions because:

Many children who are struggling with learning are doing so in more than one area. This can mean that they are attending regular or multiple interventions. This can mean that these children are spending longer out of class than in it. They become separated from their teachers and their peers, lose their sense of belonging and any real understanding of what they are learning. Their learning can become disjointed and constantly interrupted as they move from group to group.

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