Before putting any type of intervention in place for a pupil, or group of pupils, it is vital for the staff involved in their education and welfare to carefully weigh the desired outcomes against the planning, input and energy required. If the latter significantly outweighs the former, then the intervention becomes an impractical solution. Enter the intervention overhaul!
Remember that not all interventions are created equal. A quick meeting and a strong word with a pupil may dramatically improve a previous under-performance, as could ten minutes going through their mock exam and giving them some pointers for improvements. Moving up the scale of input, some pupils benefit from a different task in class to bolster one area of their performance, others from having a specific website or textbook to work through at home. All of these low-input strategies can be high-yield for certain pupils. Who are they in your class?
For pupils needing more guided, targeted and regular input - think smart. Is an hour after school every week (some pupils are expected to partake in even more for individual subjects) the best way to get them focused on your topic? Could, for example, 20 minutes on a morning before registration, be a better time to ‘catch’ pupils who are exhausted by the end of a school day? Whenever you hold your sessions, remember that timing is everything. Short, sharp ‘walk and talk’ sessions on a single exam question are focused, clear and require minimal planning - just have the question ready and guide the pupils towards writing a model answer with you. Use their next homework, classwork or test to judge their improvement (or not) and decide your next move. No extra marking required!
Ultimately, be brave! Not all pupils need hours and hours of rehashing content - many simply need regular ‘pointers’ in the correct direction and they’ll make a good shot of fixing their own underachievement. This is not only much better for teenagers desperately seeking autonomy, it also leaves your time and energy free for those pupils in real need of it, day in and day out.