Targeted Intervention: We Need to be Honest with Underachieving Students
Like most Yorkshiremen, I don’t tend to sugar-coat my views and opinions. I’d even go so far as to
say that I can be a little direct at times and I know my wife, Samantha would agree! I do believe in
straight-talking, especially when it comes to targeted intervention in schools.
Of course, we always need to be careful about how we talk to students who are underachieving, but
tiptoeing around the fact that they are underachieving is counter-productive. It fosters a situation
where underachievement becomes the status quo for that student. They can begin to accept
underachievement as something normal for them, which in turn has a negative impact on their
self-esteem, confidence, and career ambitions.
I’d much rather be open and honest with a student who is underachieving. As long as this honesty is
accompanied by a supportive plan to overcome this underachievement, and regular conversations
and interventions follow, then I find this infinitely preferable.
However, in my experience, honesty is just the first step in a successful targeted intervention
The next crucial factor is to ensure that targeted intervention is strictly time-limited. I’m not a fan of
underachieving students being consistently or semi-permanently allocated to catch-up or
intervention groups. Instead, I prefer to ensure that a school’s intervention strategy resolves an area
of underachievement quickly so that the student can get back to normal and we can move onto the
There are 4 key criteria that will determine whether you’re able to implement a successful
time-limited intervention plan. You must be able to:
● Identify underachieving students quickly before it becomes the norm
● Forensically pinpoint the specific gaps in each student’s knowledge
● Prescribe a short course of study that builds strength in those specific areas
● Instantly identify when a gap has been filled so the student can be moved on
(Then, of course, we should celebrate that student’s achievement!)
This 4-step approach is the main reason SAM Learning has been independently proven to raise
attainment quickly (for disadvantaged students, The Fischer Family Trust have shown that just 10
hours of SAM Learning through the academic year raises attainment by 1 GCSE grade in 3.5
Of course, I’d love the chance to show you SAM Learning so that you can see how it helps you to
ensure that intervention is data-driven, rapid, and automated. Just drop me an email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 020 7025 0621 and I’ll be very happy to set up an on-site
demo for you and your colleagues.
However, I don’t want this blog to be about selling SAM Learning. I want this blog to be your go-to
destination for improving your school’s targeted intervention – regardless of whether you use SAM
Learning or not. That’s why, over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing several proven strategies for
mastering targeted intervention.
These strategies have been shared with me by outstanding school leaders who have a proven track
record for achieving quick and sustained improvements to pupil attainment. They’re incredibly
innovative and I really hope you’ll stay tuned over the coming weeks as I share these with you as
they really can be implemented in any school – without putting any strain on your budget.
Stay tuned and thank you for reading.