Below are 10 pastoral intervention strategies which can be used to support struggling learners to get back on track and make progress in their education.
Know who they are! This is fundamental. You can’t intervene if you don’t know who to support. Ask key pastoral figures such as Form Tutors, Heads of Year and Heads of Key Stage. Many teachers will also have vital information from their daily interactions with pupils which will give you a clue as to who needs additional support.
- Solicit the help of external agencies.Sometimes you’ve just got to recognise when you don’t have the capacity to support a particular child. Ensure you are familiar with local organisations that you can call on for support.
- Utilise your school’s Counselling services if you have this resource. Not only should they be able to help with social emotional challenges, but also barriers to learning such as motivation and behaviour which stand in the way of progress.
- Peer mentoring. Sometimes children and young people may respond to a peer more so than an adult. Peer mentoring systems can be great for this.
- Adult mentoring. Perhaps there is an adult in the school who can spare an hour each week to support the young person.
- Find out personal interests and whether the curriculum can be extended to support their interests. I can recall one school in which I worked where they had an after school/holiday programme which involved learning to fix motorbikes. Some of the students who were more hands on and less typically academic thrived on this.
- TAC meetings. Team Around the Child meetings can be highly effective in getting various people together to form an intervention plan. The different perspectives offered are helpful in getting to different solutions to resolve more complex cases.
- Target setting. Having clear goals can help students to focus on what is important.
- Leadership opportunities. Change the narrative of the naughty and disruptive child by presenting leadership opportunities which can bring out their higher qualities.
- Parental and family support. The African proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ should resonate with every educator. Educators, where possible, should always seek to involve the family in key decision making and action plans.