This is a re-blog post originally posted by Jill Turner, and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.
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When I started at my school, interventions were in place and someone else dealt with them. Gradually I have had to learn about what interventions we have available in school, who needs them, who administers them and perhaps more importantly – are they effective?
I can track who administers which interventions to which children. I can see what progress the children who are receiving them make. But is it due to the intervention? If they haven’t made progress I need to find out why not and then decided what I am going to do about it.
I have done something radical – I have changed one of our groups. Well more than changed it – I stopped it: I have phoenix-like resurrected it from the ashes in a new form. This has, in some quarters, gone down like a lead balloon! I felt change was needed, the new code of practice states (and my course keeps reiterating), “Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, including where pupils access support from teaching assistants and specialist staff”. So I cut the time that some children were out of class.
The new group is to help to develop readiness for learning. Helping to develop confidence of some of the quieter ones, helping to improve listening skills, helping with some of the social aspects of being in a classroom. Some of the children who have initially been chosen are not those who are in danger of exclusion from school due to their “social, emotional and mental health needs” but they do need support. Some of the children chosen are, we know, more challenging to teach in a standard classroom but I hope that by being part of a well structured group with plenty of specific, positive praise, good modelling of conversation, turn taking, use of personal space and all of the other things that I know are planned, I hope they will also show improvement.
How will I measure the impact of this new group? Probably not in great leaps of academic levels over the next half term, hopefully Boxall profiles may show some improvement. Hopefully over a slightly longer period their confidence will enable them to engage more and make more progress, also that the PASS survey data will show happier children. In an age where academic achievement, with or without levels, still seems to be the main consideration I need to be able to show that my idea is effective. Only time will tell. I have an enthusiastic set of people to run the group, they have a clear vision of how this will help. I hope it does.
If my idea does not work I may just need to have a “social, emotional and mental health” group. A group where they may not benefit from being in it but the rest of the class gets a break. This is not my idea of an effective intervention in an inclusive school but on paper it may be the way that the most children make progress. I do hope not.