Intervention Programmes

At Ruislip High School we believe that every child has a right to learn and that in order to access the curriculum every child must have the basic literacy and numeracy skills required. 

Core principles for Ruislip High School’s intervention

  • We believe all students should be able to fulfil their potential irrespective of any barriers to learning.
  • We believe intervention is important to support students with low levels of literacy and/or numeracy.
  • We believe intervention needs to be led by classroom teachers through a co-ordinated and strategic leadership approach.
  • We believe intervention should be preventative from the outset, eg. anticipating the types of students who are likely to struggle with different topics and concepts.
  • We believe intervention should be the responsibility of staff at Ruislip High School and ideally should not require external support.
  • We believe intervention should have measurable success criteria, including students’ attainment and achievement, engagement in extra-curricular activity attendance, and attitude to learning as well as parental engagement.
  • We believe barriers can be overcome through planned and targeted intervention with measurable outcomes.
  • We believe it is vital to monitor and evaluate intervention to ensure the model is flexible and responsive to the needs of students.
  • We believe parental engagement is vital to ensure intervention is sustained, and has a long-term impact.

Students who have struggled to develop as readers find it hard to cope independently with the reading challenges in secondary schools and see reading as a problem rather than as a tool for learning or simply a source of pleasure. Ofsted have reported that as many as one in five students entering secondary school have a reading age which is below their chronological age. Similarly a significant proportion of students arrive at secondary school with what has been termed ‘maths anxiety’ making them less resilient in a subject providing essential life skills. Our approach to intervention is multifaceted as outlined in Figure 1.

Students starting Year 7 with literacy and numeracy levels which are below age-related expectation are place in personalised intervention programmes. This could take a number of forms including:

  • Core Kick Start (this is discussed in more detail in a separate section) which starts when students are still at their primary schools;
  • specific small group intervention programmes for five hours per week (during the school day) focusing on development of literacy and numeracy skills;
  • one-to-one literacy and/or numeracy sessions;
  • additional small group support with specific skills including handwriting.

Students in one or more of these programmes consistently show improvement in the basic literacy and numeracy skills.

In the small group interventions, pre- and post-assessments are taken three times per year and average improvement calculated; students in the programme consistently show improvement in basic skills. During each year, students have increased their reading ages by double the length of time of the intervention, for example the average progress during a six-week period is three months. This average increase in progress (that is an average of two years' progress in one year) has remained consistent during the last three years. An example of the progress made by Year 7 students at two assessment points during the academic year 2018-19 is shown below in Table 1:

Table 1: Average progress in reading age (in months) based on two assessments

Average progress in reading age (in months)

Length of time between pre- and post-test

All students (number of students receiving intervention is between eight and fourteen)

Disadvantaged (DA) students

Other students

3 months (summer 2018)




1.5 months (autumn 2018)




2 months

(spring term 2019)




If students reach age-related expectations in either literacy or numeracy during the year they return to either two or three of their mainstream subjects so attend fewer intervention sessions.

Data and teacher recommendations are used to select Key Stage 3 students on a termly basis for one-to-one literacy or numeracy. The students will typically be those who are working below their targets. A pre- and post- assessment is given at the start and end of term. Results show that students’ comprehension and writing scores increase by an average of between 5% and 10% and average numeracy scores increase by between 15% and 20%.

Termly reports are written for governors describing all the interventions which are undertaken at Ruislip High School including breakdowns of data by subgroup. These reports are available on the school’s website.

Students are extremely positive when asked about the additional support they receive. Comments include:

“I feel much more confident in class and put my hand up more.”
“I learnt how to break down a problem into simpler steps so it’s less scary.”
“ I now totally get fractions!.”
“I read much harder books than I used to.”
“I am not so scared of big words.”
“Overall I am learning much more in all my subjects now.”

Teachers have commented that students who have had intervention sessions are more confident in class, for example:

“Her class maths score went up by 20% after half a term of one-to-one maths sessions - it obviously helped fill the gaps in knowledge and gave her the confidence that she can do it!”
“He puts his hand up to answer more frequently.”
“I noticed that his reading was a lot more fluent after the one-to-one sessions - as much to do with confidence as it was to do with the basic skills improvement; also he was more able to interpret what he had read more quickly.”
“His spelling has definitely improved!”
“She is not afraid to get the wrong answer any more.”
“Her fractions addition and subtraction is so much better!”
“The one-to-one sessions really gave him the confidence and belief that he can do maths.”