Growth and Development of Interventions
Interventions at The Rowans AP
Poor mental health undermines educational attainment. Surveys suggest that disproportionately large numbers of pupils with conduct and emotional disorders fall behind in their overall educational attainment, missing school and/or being excluded. (Green, McGinnity, Meltzer, Ford and Goodman 2005)
Emotional well-being must be a larger part of any learning, and by association, the educational agenda … Schools may be the optimum sites for buffering the impact of stress and, building resilience and enhancing individual capacities for learning. (Nagel 2009)
Good leadership is essential to closing the attainment gap, high quality teaching is also crucial. Pupil Premium should be spent on reducing the attainment gap, the funding is not ring-fenced in schools and there is no official requirement to spend it on any particular activity. Schools have autonomy to choose how to spend funding…..but they will be held to account for their choices. (Funding for disadvantaged pupils, DfE 2015)
Reading intervention was introduced at the Rowans in September 2012. Initially there was a lot of resistance from staff and reluctance to release pupils for intervention. The Head of English was instrumental in promoting reading and modelling the intervention. With hard work and perseverance intervention has grown at The Rowans and has gone from strength to strength. It is now recognised by all as being very important in terms of both academic and social, emotional welfare and support.
In September 2013 an interventions TA was employed, and this allowed interventions to grow from just reading into literacy, numeracy and exam preparation, this was very successful and helped year 11 to achieve better GCSE grades in English and Maths. The importance of intervention was acknowledged and accepted by the wider staff and the impact across the curriculum was therefore more measurable.
In September 2014 the intervention team grew further with the appointment of a further TA and the redeployment of a 1:1 teacher. The head of maths and the SENCO also became part of the team, allowing it to further develop its skill set. Music intervention became part of the interventions offer.
In September 2015 the Deputy Head, Fiona May, took over responsibility for the interventions team, and it further grew with the addition of cooking, life skills, art therapy, Take Ten and Lego therapy. Interventions expanded from academic interventions to incorporate therapeutic interventions, thus offering a holistic approach and one which met the individual needs of the pupils. The interventions team for the first time supported pupils and parents with wide and varied issues, from supporting at medical appointments to helping with housing issues and leading CAF/TAF meetings. Interventions also included 1:1 teaching where necessary until full re-integration was possible. For the first time interventions also targeted the more-able, being able to offer further challenge-this happened for 2 pupils (one year 8 and one year 9) in maths. Communication with parents/carers was improved with letters being sent home at the start of each intervention explaining which intervention their child was having and the importance of the intervention.
2016 saw the introduction of a range of SPAG interventions as well as gardening becoming higher profile alongside the development of the garden area. 3 members of the interventions team attended training to enable the school to issue Medway foodbank vouchers. Mrs Jones also began a fortnightly coffee afternoon for parents and carers to come and share experiences and seek advice. EAL became a high priority with daily input for targeted pupils. Public Health England produced a toolkit for ‘measuring and monitoring children and young people’s mental wellbeing’. This was used by the interventions team to decide on the most appropriate measure for therapeutic interventions.
2017/18 saw the first complete academic year with two full time members of the interventions team. This resulted in a wider range of interventions being offered to pupils both academic and therapeutic.
Therapeutic interventions have had a greater emphasis and as such a review of the measure of progress used was taken. After spending time investigating the measures included in the measuring and monitoring children and young people’s mental wellbeing: a toolkit for schools and colleges. We decided to use the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale as this was best suited to the needs of The Rowans AP. This is then used at the start of a therapeutic intervention to identify difficulties, to measure the progress made by attending the intervention and to identify any needs that can be targeted at the end of the intervention (2 terms)
More gardening interventions were allocated on the timetable with the introduction of the polytunnel, this meant that the interventions were now all weather. Students have worked hard to produce bumper crops of fruit and vegetables which were then used in cookery lessons.
Cookery interventions were introduced, these have been successful in providing practical skills and a platform for therapeutic interventions to take place.
The school counsellor, Tina, spent her first full academic year working with pupils. She works with set pupils for 1 session a week and is in school for 6 sessions a week. Pupils have engaged well with Tina and she has worked closely with the Welfare lead.
Reading interventions had fantastic results across the school with over 50% of pupils accessing them. The average reading progress made by a pupil attending a reading intervention in 2017/18 was 32 months. This is measured by the Hodder reading assessment across the whole school three times a year. The Holborn reading scale is used at the beginning and end of the interventions to track progress.
The importance of the physical and emotional wellbeing of the pupils continued to be a priority and support offered to both pupils and parents/ carers. The interventions team is supported by all staff, with the first point of call often being the form tutor or form TA.
Interventions Review 2018/19
Interventions continued to be an integral part of the Rowans curriculum offer, supporting individual needs and closing attainment gaps. The interventions offer grew with academic interventions being delivered by fully trained English and maths teachers and there were a greater range of therapeutic interventions. Over the academic year 2018/2019, 60% of pupils accessed at least one intervention. There are two full time interventions staff and a school counsellor, who between them offered 81 intervention sessions per week throughout the year. The interventions sessions offered and accessed this year are:
- Extended maths
- Changing loves through horses
- Lego therapy
- Puzzles and games
- Welfare support
- Hygiene intervention
- Life skills
New interventions in 2018/2019 were the ‘Changing Lives through horses’ programme and an enriched life skills offer. The changing lives through horses programme was an external course which we bought into to allow identified pupils to develop their social and emotional skills and wellbeing alongside learning key equine skills. This programme was extremely successful with 3 pupils going each term. The pupils gained a wealth of knowledge and skills including positive work ethic, teamwork, resilience and the importance of hobbies and aspirations.
The enriched life skills offer targeted pupils who lacked positive adult role models or who lacked positive childhood experiences. The programmes developed were bespoke based upon individual needs and baseline data analysis.
All interventions are thoroughly tracked and outcomes recorded. The academic interventions target a specific gap in knowledge or understanding, identified by termly data and subject-specific input. All pupils who had academic interventions in 2018/2019 made progress. Therapeutic interventions are tracked using an adapted version of the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental and Well-being Scale. 85% of pupils who attended a therapeutic intervention had recognisable positive changes to their wellbeing, as measured using the SWEMWBS. Of the remaining pupils, some had significantly poor attendance and others did not give an accurate response, for fear of exposing their emotions.
The interventions offer was continually reviewed throughout the year and feedback shared with all staff.