Education Endowment Foundation:2. Targeted academic support

2. Targeted academic support

Evidence consistently shows the positive impact that targeted academic support can have, including for those pupils who are not making good progress across the spectrum of achievement.

Some pupils may require additional support alongside high-quality teaching in order to make good progress. The evidence indicates that small group and one to one interventions can be a powerful tool for supporting these pupils when they are used carefully.

These interventions should be targeted at specific pupils using information gathered from assessments and their effectiveness and intensity should be continually monitored. Some pupils may have made quick gains once they returned to school full time, so assessment needs to ongoing, but manageable.

Evidence can help to support schools’ decisions around which interventions to adopt in their setting. Where schools deliver one to one or small group tuition, they should consider factors that are typically associated with positive learning outcomes:

  • Learning in one to one and small groups is carefully linked with classroom teaching.
  • For one to one tuition led by teaching assistants, interventions are likely to be particularly beneficial when the teaching assistants are experienced and well-trained.
  • Small group tuition is most likely to be effective if it is targeted at pupils’ specific needs.

Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) have the greatest need for excellent teaching and are entitled to provision that supports achievement at, and enjoyment of, school. It is right that these learners are at the forefront of our planning for the new academic year.

It is tempting to talk about the challenge of SEND as a specific and distinct issue. Yet, far from creating new programmes, the evidence tells us that teachers in mainstream schools should instead prioritise familiar but powerful strategies, like scaffolding and explicit instruction, to support their pupils with SEND. Refreshing a repertoire of high-quality teaching with colleagues is something schools are thinking about as they plan staff CPD, including supporting early career teachers.

Developing a holistic understanding of the needs of pupils, and strategies to support those needs, will require consistent and purposeful engagement with parents and families.

The strategic deployment of Teaching Assistants (TAs) will also be important in ensuring pupils with SEND are supported, and TAs should be fully prepared for their role, supplementing rather than replacing high-quality provision from the class teacher. Schools must continue to avoid unintended consequences, such as prolonged separation from peers and teachers, and select evidence-based, targeted interventions that are closely monitored.

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Support for education professionals

1. High-quality teaching

Evidence indicates that great teaching is the most important lever schools have to improve outcomes for their pupils.
Read more about1. High-quality teaching
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Support for education professionals

3. Wider strategies

Wider strategies relate to the most significant non-academic barriers to success in school
Read more about3. Wider strategies