Intervention Planning

Advice and guidance on planning an intervention. How to Plan, Do and Review!

Having identified an area of need the next step is to plan (or select) a suitable intervention for that individual or group with similar needs. The intervention is then put in place and its impact measured. It is vital that the PLAN, DO, REVIEW cycle is used. This reflects the problem solving process previously described.

Thought should be given not only to why an intervention is selected, but also to the quality of delivery and the impact of the intervention. Such evaluation is vital in not only planning next steps but in deciding if the intervention is a useful one to use with other individuals or groups of pupils.

When planning an intervention it is important to consider the following:

  • How have pupils been selected for the intervention? Do the objectives of the intervention match with the pupils’ identified needs.
  • How is the intervention impact going to be evaluated? Gathering information for the ‘Review’ needs to be done before the intervention begins.
  • Do you have all the information needed to complete the first parts of an ‘Intervention Sheet’ and know how you will be collecting the information needed to complete the sheet?
  • If planning a group intervention, do all pupils have needs that can be met by the same intervention? This does not necessarily mean the same needs, for example where social and emotional skills are being targeted it is often useful to have a group where some participants are skilled in areas where others have difficulties to enable sharing of strategies.
  • Does the person who is delivering the intervention have the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding? Are they familiar / confident with the content and format of the materials / approaches to be used? If there are training needs who will be able to provide this training – will it come from within or outside of school? Click here to view the Effective deployment of TA's
  • Is there a dedicated space for the intervention to occur in? Is this within or outside the classroom?
  • Are all those involved in the intervention aware of what it is and why it is happening? This includes the pupils.

You can view a checklist for a quality intervention here

When delivering an intervention it is important to consider the following:

Is there a method for recording / being aware of :

  • The number of ‘sessions’ that actually happen (often planned sessions may be missed due to other events within school) Record of intervention programme document here
  • Individual pupil attendance
  • Pupils’ attitudes towards the ‘sessions’ and comments they make about the intervention and themselves
  • The confidence of the adult in being able to deliver the intervention and beliefs about its usefulness

All of these factors can have a major impact on the effectiveness of an intervention and should to be taken into account during the ‘Review’ stage of the process. There is a Provision management record sheet that can be used to record some of this information

  • Are all the physical resources needed available? Is time available to prepare them? Is there somewhere to store them?
  • If an intervention is occurring beyond the classroom, is there a process for sharing information about the intervention and pupil progress with the class teacher? This is important so classroom practice can support the pupils in the areas being addressed. Good Practice (Withdrawal) Checklist here
  • Where an intervention involves supporting an individual / group with their work is there an awareness of the research into the impact of having support?

What is Evaluation?

Evaluation seeks to assess the impact of a defined project – a time limited intervention in this case. There are two clear purposes of evaluating an intervention:

  1. To measure individual pupil progress (or lack of it) enabling you to plan the next steps for their development. (Has their personal objective been achieved? Is further intervention needed? Should intervention take the same form ?)
  2. To decide if the intervention is useful – reflecting on the value of intervention for future use and how it can be improved. (Should the intervention be used again? What could be changed to make it more effective?)

Evaluation is important as it enables you to monitor individual pupils’ progress and make informed decisions about:

  • Whether an intervention is effective – is it having a positive impact on pupil outcomes?
  • What factors made the intervention effective (or not)?
  • Could any changes be made to make an intervention more effective? For example is the lead person confident in their skills? Is there a need for staff training? Did pupils enjoy the intervention? Did pupils think there was a point to them doing the intervention?
  • Should you continue with an intervention or repeat an intervention with another group?
  • Is an intervention is cost effective (in time or money) – could similar improvements have been made with no intervention / another intervention? (When interventions are formally evaluated the progress of a ‘control’ group – a group of young people with similar needs who are not receiving the intervention – is also assessed. This enables you to decide if the intervention group would have made the same rate of progress even if the intervention was not put in place.)

An effective evaluation is one that is:

Fit for Purpose

You need to be clear about why you are evaluating; what the results are for; who will use the results; and whether you have chosen the most appropriate assessment tools


You need to be careful that you are measuring what you think you are. If you use a complex questionnaire to get pupils to rate their confidence you may end up with information which says more about their literacy / language skills than their confidence!


Reliability is the extent to which the measure would get the same result if you repeated it


Is the planned evaluation practical? Do you have time to collect and interpret the information. There is no point collecting information if you aren’t going to use it!

This document contains details of the Tools to assess the impact of interventions

An intervention’s impact should be measured in terms of how well it achieved the objectives set for it. For example, the impact of a reading intervention should be measured in terms of changes in reading skills.

An intervention may also bring about changes in other areas (for example children in a reading skills intervention may gain in confidence) and these are known as unintentional impacts. However, in the reading example, the intervention’s effectiveness is not measured by how much pupils’ confidence increases – although this could be an objective for the reading intervention the next time it is used!

The objectives for an intervention should be based on the pupils’ identified needs and what you hope the intervention will achieve. ‘SMART’ or ‘SMARTER’ goals / targets can be used:

Specific – worded in clear language

  • Measurable – written in a way that can be observed / counted / measured
  • Agreed – discussed and owned by all those involved in the intervention (eg staff, parents, pupils)
  • Realistic – achievable
  • Time Limited – a time frame is set
  • Evaluated – planned means to evaluate
  • Review – Use of evaluation data for future planning

In group interventions these may be different for each individual and will be recorded as ‘target competencies’ (document to be added shortly) on the Intervention Sheet.

Within the provision management software there are links to potential targets based on the National Strategies objectives for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening and Numeracy (National Curriculum Levels P Scale 4- Level 5).

For pupils where unwanted behaviours are the main concern, targets from SEAL may be appropriate where the behaviours reflect under developed social and emotional skills. SEAL Classroom observation checklist here.

Alternatively, it is suggested that schools work with pupils to identify mutually agreed targets and interventions are designed / selected to these. Behaviour Targets for July 2009 can be viewed here.

Your school’s Educational Psychologist and / or staff from locality based CEIT teams can work with schools on solution oriented individual target setting with pupils. Contact details can be found in the guide to local support services.

Evaluations need to be planned before an intervention begins. If we want to measure the impact an intervention is having we need to know where skill/knowledge levels were before the intervention so they can be compared to skill/knowledge levels after the intervention. We also need to know how we are going to measure skills/ knowledge.

In the reading example, if an intervention was designed to increase a child’s sight word vocabulary, we would want to know how many sight words the child knew before the intervention (the baseline measure) so we could compare it to how many sight words were known after the intervention. We would also need to know how we were going to measure this.

There are a selection of methods that can be used to measure the impact of an intervention, see ‘Tools to assess the impact of interventions’. This provides information about methods of assessments and potential advantages and limitations of their use.

The National Strategies suggest considering the following in deciding whether an intervention is effective.

Success criteria for an intervention should be:

  • At least double the usual expected rate of progress ie ratio gain of 2 or more / Ratio gain = Gain in months / Length of intervention in months
  • Progressing at least 1 National Curriculum sub level every 2 terms
  • For behaviour any success criteria must be negotiated with the child
  • It is accepted that for the 1% of pupils with severe and complex needs, their rate of progress may be slower.
  • What was the average progress for the intervention?
  • Was this equal to/better than/worse than the success criteria?
  • Did any pupils make exceptional progress?
  • If so – why?
  • Did any pupils make inadequate progress?
  • If so – why?

Other contextual points to consider

  • Pupil attendance
  • Pupil punctuality
  • Pupil attitude/self esteem
  • Pupil readiness for intervention is based on more than entry level
  • Other interventions pupil accessing
  • Sessions missed due to another school activity eg (trips)
  • TA absence
  • TA redirected to other duties
  • Quality of TA deliver
  • Appropriate teaching or learning styles
  • Quality of accommodation
  • Timing of sessions
  • Time of day
  • Is intervention taking the place of core subject entitlement?
  • Timetabling for convenience or achievement
  • Interruptions or distractions during interventions
  • Has the skills/knowledge gained from the intervention been transferred into the wider curriculum and made an impact on (a) NC Levels and (b) progress towards predicted levels as evidenced by school tracking system?
  • Is Teacher Assessment secure?