Last month I visited 17 schools that either already use SAM Learning as part of their Targeted Intervention strategies or are looking to begin using it in the very near future. I travelled from Glasgow to Kent, and pretty much everywhere in between, via car, train, bus, and tube.
Visiting schools and talking face to face with school leaders about their intervention strategies is something that I believe is incredibly important to the success of SAM Learning (and one of the key reasons that an independent report by The FFT showed a 4 GCSE grade improvement for the lowest 20% of students).
After all, giving a school access to SAM Learning’s incredible and award winning range of tools and resources just isn’t going to get them the attainment improvements they desire, unless there is a highly focused and targeted strategy underpinning everything.
And that leads me nicely onto this week’s proven targeted intervention strategy, shared with me by a Head Teacher who recently took his school from Inadequate to Outstanding Ofsted rating: Effective Pupil Progress Meetings.
Pupil Progress Meetings (PPMs) are a key strategy underpinning all targeted intervention, however, I think many schools’ approach to these suffers from lack of direction and focus.
What I love about this strategy, and why I think it was so effective, is that it recognises the importance of working smartly when it comes to targeted intervention in schools. Sure, your school could (as I believe many schools do) have pupil progress meeting weeks where all pupil progress meetings take place in the same week. However, with this scenario key staff members will leave the meetings with so many actions that their workload will become unmanageable and many of the actions will simply not be delivered.
The Outstanding Head Teacher I spoke with implemented a rolling programme of pupil progress meetings (e.g. Year 7 PPMs in week one, Year 8 in week two, etc.). This ensures that Senior Leaders can focus on a particular year group, or in the case of a secondary setting, a particular subject and implement the required actions.
To me, this approach makes far more sense and is proven to be highly effective. I see on a daily basis how much more successful SAM Learning is for schools that are using it smartly within a focused and targeted strategy. Trying to do too much in one go is always likely to weaken the impact of any intervention strategy.
Another important aspect of effective PPMs for this Head Teacher was Venn diagrams.
The use of Venn diagrams is an excellent way to analyse an individual pupil’s potential. Looking at pupils on track in English, Maths and Science and analysing the pupils who are achieving in one or two of these areas and not the others, will highlight at an initial high-level those pupils to target. E.g. if a pupil is achieving in 2 out of 3 of these areas, then the third area becomes the area of focus.
Taking this to another level, within the subject of underperformance, the criteria within the subject can be analysed to identify the gaps in attainment – these areas can then be specifically targeted, rather than generic ‘catch-up’ programmes.
All of these approaches mean that your intervention strategy is manageable, deliverable, and most importantly, highly effective.
I hope this gives you food for thought for your own targeted intervention strategies. The beauty of this proven approach is that it won’t cost you anything but it may very well significantly improve outcomes for your students.
If you’d like to have an informal chat with me about your school’s current intervention strategies then give me a call on 0207 025 0621 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.