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Intervention Resources - Chapel Fields Junior School, Solihull


Created on 06 April 2011 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 10 April 2013 by ncetm_administrator

Chapel Fields Junior School, Solihull

Project Summary

Our project was organised around the key 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?’

We initially spent a lot of time looking at the current intervention programmes held in school namely Springboard, Wave 3, Overcoming Barriers and Securing Levels. We also spent time discussing other programmes and seeking advice regarding unfamiliar ones. These included Numicon and Springboard Mathematics which we disregarded mainly due to cost, although we would have liked to pursue Springboard further.

A group of children from year 3 and 4 were then identified who were off track in their Mathematics attainment. A small number of off track year 6 children were also identified to be included in the focus groups.

Areas for the intervention were then identified and the Teaching Assistant running the project planned lessons for the key areas. Unfortunately the Teaching Assistant left the school’s employment suddenly after six week’s work which meant the assistant that took over was not solely focused on the project work. Also, we had lost all of her expertise that had initially been built up.

The intervention groups have now been running weekly for about four months. We have gathered feedback from pupils, teachers and parents and assessed the impact of the intervention so far. The project will run until the end of the summer term.

School Context

Chapel Fields is a Junior School in Solihull. We currently have 16% SEN pupils, 13% EAL and 14% FSM. Parents are supportive of their children but there is a growing number of hard to reach parents and social challenges facing the school, which is having a negative effect on the children’s ability to learn.

Although we had previously run Mathematics intervention programmes, it was felt that they weren’t having the impact that we had anticipated. It was because of this that the research project was started. Findings from the project will be used to inform future interventions in Mathematics. A number of our children enter from our feeder infant school below age related expectations in Mathematics. Our aim for intervention is to bring these children in line with age related expectations before the gap widens further during Key Stage 2.

Aims of the Network

  • to devise a comprehensive tailored Mathematics intervention programme in order to support and improve the Mathematics learning of our ‘off track’ pupils.
  • to coach, guide and support teaching assistants in planning and delivering intervention
  • to develop an intervention network
  • to train and support the other teaching assistants, in order for the whole school to adopt a bespoke intervention system to reduce the gap in attainment

What did you do?

A number of meetings enabled us to plan our strategy in detail, which has resulted in a plan that will hopefully be sustainable over the coming years. The Mathematics Intervention Network (MIN) Starting Point information was used to familiarise ourselves with current research and thinking regarding intervention strategies. Targets were set, e.g. by the next meeting to have reviewed the current intervention resources and identify children in years 3, 4 and 6 requiring intervention.

These targets were met and new ones defined. Intervention has been planned, delivered and refined with ongoing assessment using APP.  Pupils and teachers have completed observations, questionnaires and interviews. Informal discussions with teachers and parents have also taken place. Short ‘catch up’ meetings are held between DHT and TA regularly.

What happened?

The Teaching Assistant worked in small groups with the year 3 and 4 pupils on areas identified between the teacher and TA. Children were withdrawn from lessons (not core subjects) for half an hour two/three times a week. Year 6 pupils were ‘tutored’ on a one to one basis for half an hour. An assessment grid was established and completed after each session to detail the progress of each child.

This was recorded as 'insecure', 'in the process of becoming secure' and 'secure'. Once the children were deemed secure, the next unit of learning was addressed. Feedback was given to the class teacher after each session and recorded in an intervention book. Children have thoroughly enjoyed working with the TA and a reward system was introduced from the start to acknowledge good attitude and hard work.

All teaching assistants have joined the NCETM portal and have begun to use the resources available. The project has enabled the TAs in school to develop their own mathematical knowledge using the portal and take a greater responsibility in planning, resourcing and delivering mathematics intervention. The liaison between TA and teacher has also improved and teaching staff are liaising directly with the TA to organise/report the intervention sessions.

The project has raised a number of issues for the school to consider in the future, namely assessment strategies during intervention, attendance of off-track pupils and dissemination of information to staff. The challenges faced in this project relate to all invention across the school. Keeping ongoing assessment records has clearly identified the poor attendance of some of the children, which of course exacerbates the mathematics difficulties they face.

Following the project, we plan to roll out a standardised assessment plan to ensure that all intervention groups are assessed and feedback is given to the teacher. Staff meeting time is always at a premium so it is very difficult to find appropriate time to disseminate information as a whole. Using our internal email system has helped enormously in updating staff and encouraging them to use the portal.
Data results

Name year 3

Sept
level

Nov level

Name year 4

Sept
level

Nov level

Name year 6

Sept
level

Nov level

Ma

2c

2b

J

2c

2b

N

2a

3c

C

2c

2c

S

2b

2a

S

2a

3c

Mo

2c

2b

F

2b

2b

M

3c

3c

A

2c

2b

Jo

2c

2b

 

 

 

 

Influence, impact and evidence

The impact of the project has been great and will influence our thinking in the future. Teaching Assistants have a greater understanding of ongoing assessment, which we will build on in the future. Also, Teaching Assistants are developing their role in planning and delivering Mathematics intervention.

There is a greater awareness of small steps needed with children that are off-track and how important the liaison between teacher and TA is in order to move the learning forward. More time will be dedicated by myself in the future to observing intervention sessions and encouraging TAs to utilise the resources we have found so useful from our research.

Although we have seen some impact on data, the greatest impact has been on the children’s attitude and confidence. Pupil questionnaires have revealed that children identified a greater confidence when working in class – three children stated that they ‘put their hands up in class’ now (offer ideas). All the children liked having work tailored for their needs: one stated he liked it because ‘it is at my level’. Two year six children stated they liked the 1:1 intervention because there were ‘no distractions’ and ‘you don’t get disturbed’.

Teacher questionnaires have also been positive, revealing, for example:
‘S has been receiving 1:1 mathematics support since October. During this time she has developed in confidence, shown in her desire to participate in group/class activities more willingly. There has been a noticeable increase in her attempts to contribute ideas/answers to whole class discussion. S is able to recall multiplication facts up to 10x10 with increasing speed and accuracy and is keen to compete against others now in speed tests’.

M has shown significant improvement in recall of multiplication facts and is now able to apply this knowledge more in problem-solving contexts. She is able to use doubling and halving as a strategy for mental calculation and can now link this to multiplication/division by 2.’

An unexpected positive from the project has been building relationships with two of our hard to reach parents. The parents have become involved in their children’s learning and are interested in the weekly progress report given verbally by the TA. This has been established by two after school 1:1 intervention groups with year 6 children.

What have you and your colleagues learned from the project?

  • That developing bespoke interventions systems tailored to children’s specific needs are more valuable than using ‘off the shelf’ intervention systems
  • Sharing of information is key if intervention is to be successful
  • Action research is a valuable tool for improving practice in school

Although writing our own materials rather than using current intervention programmes is costly and time consuming, our children really seemed to enjoy having a bespoke session, which focused on the areas of Mathematics that they knew they either didn’t understand or found difficult. It enabled the TA to provide worthwhile intervention.

The sharing of information with staff is key if improvements to intervention are to be made. Having an open and frank discussion with the class teacher facilitated better learning for the children. The two-way conversations ensured the children were getting the best from the intervention, which was then reflected and extended in Mathematics lessons.

Through our action research, we have found ways to improve our practice in school and it has highlighted the need to further address attendance difficulties in some of the off-track pupils, which obviously has a significant impact on their learning. It has also highlighted the need for further training for TAs.

What will change as a result of this work?

Time for liaison between TAs and teachers is imperative to successful intervention. In the future, the TA’s timetable will rprovide some non-contact time in order for them to have time to liaise with teachers, plan intervention sessions and record assessment findings.  Expectations of TAs are high and I feel that some non-contact time should be given if we are to continue with high-class intervention sessions. During this time, TAs will need to have very specific learning foci for small groups and plan accordingly in conjunction with the class teacher. If budgets will allow, we would like to continue with the 1:1 intervention with year 6 children who are 3+ sublevels off-track and extend this to include year 5 children.

The children seem to be most positive about this sort of intervention, as they get older. I would also like to provide more training opportunities for the TAs although this is infinitely difficult with time and budget constraints. However, I think it will improve their pedagogy and allow them time to reflect on their own practice and learn from others. In this respect, I would also like to encourage TAs to observe each other to have a greater exposure to good practice and sharing of ideas.

Advice to teachers who may want to try something similar

I think the research project is excellent for evaluating, developing and improving our own practice in school. A clear plan and a huge amount of flexibility in order to cope with things that inevitably go wrong are required. It is easy to become quite insular in the project but very important that you ensure that it is having the impact on the whole organisation in accordance with the initial plan. I think setting aside some time each week to devote to the project is key to its success, as it is so easy to become enveloped in the rest of school life.

Useful Resources

The MIN starting point was really useful as was the guidance on intervention strategies provided by the LA together with the intervention resources listed on the portal. The TA with responsibility for the project has worked through the CPD area of the portal to identify her strengths and areas for development.

Sara Wilkes February 2011


 
 
 


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Comments

 


16 September 2011 08:50
Lisa - MIN stands for Mathematics Intervention Network. We've amended the text to make this clearer and have inserted a hyperlink to an explanation of this. You can find more at https://content.ncetm.org.uk/images/microsites/intervention/background-information-paper.pdf. We hope this helps!
15 September 2011 13:29
hi, I was very interested in your research. What is the MIN Starting Point you refer to?
By lisaholt
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