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Supporting teachers to implement effective mathematics – intervention strategies

Created on 06 April 2011 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 25 September 2013 by ncetm_administrator


Teachers implementing any form of mathematical intervention can face many hurdles.  A major challenge is often trying to decide on the best strategy for the targeted pupils and the most appropriate resources.  Teachers in this situation are aiming to provide a tailored curriculum for their targeted pupils, and for those pupils who work with teaching assistants in small withdrawal groups.

To explore how teachers can implement effective mathematics intervention strategies, eight networks across the country received funding from the NCETM to trial a range of ways to support groups of underperforming pupils.

A background information paper was also developed for the networks. This document provides a broad base of background information and related research around mathematics interventions and was used as a ‘starting point’ for network activity.  The eight networks explored a variety of different strategies, from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4, to improve the outcomes of intervention in their organisation.

These included:

  • supporting teaching assistants with developing pedagogy
  • mathematical subject knowledge or strengthening assessment practice
  • creating bespoke intervention programmes aimed at addressing the specific needs of a group of pupils
  • exploring ways in which to engage parents as a means of support and addressing issues with Using and Applying Mathematics.

Full details of the project can be found in 'Supporting teachers to implement effective mathematics intervention strategies – An Evaluation'. Each of the networks’ activities and outcomes can be found in a set of case studies, along with ‘Top Tips’ for any other teachers who wish to engage in similar projects. Links to ‘off the peg’ resources used by the networks can also be found within the case studies.

We hope these resources provide good starting points for enquiry and that they stimulate teachers into investigating intervention strategies in any classroom.

Case Studies

Beverley High School, East Yorkshire

One of the strategies explored by staff at Beverley High School, in order to improve Keys Stage 4 results, was to involve parents in a series of workshops that focused on key study skills as well as introducing parents to the wealth of resources available from the department and other sources. 

Chapel Fields Junior School, Solihull

This network of KS2 teachers and teaching assistants focused on the question, ‘How can we design an intervention programme that will reduce the gap in attainment between our average (on track) achievers and our borderline (off track) learners in years 3 and 4.

Comberton Village College, Cambridge

This intervention project focused on improving basic numeracy skills with the lowest attaining pupils in year seven and finding strategies to engage parental support.

John Blow Primary School, Collingham

John Blow Primary School’s project aimed to support a group of teaching assistants to develop their knowledge and pedagogy of the area of mathematics, counting and understanding number, to support the implementation of intervention for early years to year 3.

Pot Kiln Primary School, Suffolk

This project aimed to provide effective intervention groups for lower attaining pupils in maths.  Two intervention groups were set up with two teaching assistants using the Numicon programme. 

Sandhill Primary School, Barnsley

Staff at Sandhill Primary School used a range of small group and whole group interventions to develop the strand of using and applying mathematics across the whole school.

Thorne Brook Primary School, Doncaster

The concept of this project was to enable Teaching Assistants from Key Stage One and Key Stage Two to work in collaboration to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the mathematical strategies and resources currently being used; thus developing their own pedagogy.

St Augustine’s RC Primary School, Solihull

The CPD training in this project supported  teaching assistants in using the Assessing Pupil Progress (APP) process as the main tool for AfL to support class teachers in KS1 and KS2 and to identify where intervention was needed.


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