Cohort level interventions should be identified in response to the subject curricular targets, based on cohort data and from performance in lessons and on-going assessments. Typically, an art and design department may judge a Year 8 cohort as being particularly weak, in for example, observational drawing skills including proportion, perspective and tone. Equally they may judge a Year 9 cohort as having poor design skills. (see Unit 6 Module 6.2 Securing progression in art and design, Appendix 6.2 C.1 Curricular target setting in art and design – from the subject development materials, released as part of the National Strategy Assessment for learning Pack) downloadable from: http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/154656
In both cases, these need some unpicking of the detail and specific weaknesses, in order to define and layer some clear and SMART curricular targets such as for the Year 9 example:
Use can be made of support staff in several ways to enable effective intervention. They may be
in the room to support a specific student with learning needs or a small group.
In art and design, the tendency is to run coursework clubs after school for examination students in a slightly informal way. These are often also attended by KS3 students who are enthusiastic. Lunchtime versions also occur where time permits. These arrangements are usually too informal for some students who need more structured interventions, but do suit some students who are well motivated, but just need more time and individual guidance.
“I can’t draw!” This is probably the most common vocalization of the student who openly declares their need for support, either within earshot or directly to the teacher. This requires a diagnosis of needs and rapid remedial support targeted at the required skill or competency. Often more associated with a confidence issue than a real lack of skills, although sometimes the student is correct and they have not previously been well taught. In these situations as stated above, it is often helpful to identify several students who would benefit from being brought together to actively engage in some focused and structured learning to cope with the current task. More development may need to be postponed to the next lesson where these students can receive a carefully structured set of activities to diagnose and tackle the larger issues of why they believe they can’t draw.
Students who have low self-esteem may well either seek to become invisible in the classroom
or use poor behaviour to mask their problems. In all cases, early intervention is essential in
preventing these problems escalating and students losing any motivation they feel they have for
the subject and activities. Low self-esteem can be identified through many characteristics such
as: small-scale drawing, avoiding starting an activity, minor disruption, excessive pencil
sharpening, invisible drawing etc, all of which describe different outcomes of a lack of
To build students’ confidence they need to have some rapid successes, often gained through a
series of short, well structured intervention activities that build skills and capacity to return to the
Artists in residence are always a positive experience in the classroom and students usually benefit greatly from the opportunity to work with an artist and see the creative process at work. We often see this as being of particular benefit for our strongest students, but we also know that the experience of working with an artist can be transformational for all students. For our weakest students, this transformation in understanding and successful creation can be most profound. The right artist can also have a motivational effect, engaging students interest and helping them understand what to do and how to achieve their best outcome.