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Enquire Blog

Staged Interventions – what’s it all about?

Staged Intervention

Understanding how your child’s learning and support is planned can help you when you are talking to the school. Here we explain staged intervention.


Throughout a child’s time at school their teachers will routinely be reviewing their progress and considering their support needs. Every child may need  little bit of support at some point and this is usually provided through the normal learning and teaching in  class. (This is sometimes called universal support.) It is only when a child requires something extra or different from other children that a staged intervention approach may be used. It is not something that parents and carers need to worry about as it will hopefully mean that a child will get the support that works best for them.

If school staff think it is in the child’s best interests they may suggest that a child be referred for specific assessments. If you’re worried you child has unidentified support needs you can at any time ask for their needs to be assessed. (More information about assessment can be found here.)

The information below is broad guide to how staged intervention works. Local authorities approaches may differ slightly depending on local procedures. There are  normally 3 – 4 stages of intervention:

Stage 1

School staff  are or become aware that a child may need additional support to get the most from their learning. Support at this stage is usually provided by staff in the classroom –  for example a teacher may adapt how a lesson is taught or provide a visual timetables to help a child cope with changes happening throughout the day.

Parents should be involved in discussions about their child’s needs, how support is being provided and whether any further assessments are needed. Depending on a child’s needs they may have a Individual Educational Programme or Additional Support Plan. However in many cases a child’s personal learning plan (which every child has) will be sufficient at this stage.

Stage 2:

A child may be moved to Stage 2 if staff believe they may need additional support. Examples of support at this stage  include extra help from a Support for Learning teacher inside or outside of the classroom or taking  part in a targeted programme (for example Read Write Inc) to help with literacy. Children who need help to cope with the classroom environment may have help at certain points of the day from a classroom assistant or have strategies put in place such as time-out or quiet space.  A child may have an IEP or ASP at this stage and parents and carers should be involved in planning how the school will meet their child’s needs.

Stage 3:

A child may be moved to Stage 3 if more detailed planning is required to meet their needs or they require input from one or more agencies outwith school. This might include speech and language therapists, occupational health workers, social workers or outreach workers. They would be expected to have a IEP or ASP at this stage and depending on their additional support needs may meet the criteria for a Co-ordinated Support Plan.

Stage 4

Stage 4 is for children with the most complex needs. In most cases before a child is placed or moved to Stage 4 their case will be referred to a local authority team that oversees support for children with with the high level of need. (In some areas they are called Joint Planning Teams or Staged Intervention Teams but your local authorities group may have a different name.) Children placed at stage 4  usually need an extensive range of interventions or support and require a high level of planning to meet their needs. At this stage the local authority may consider opening a Co-ordinated Support Plan.

If working well, staged intervention should mean that parents and carers, school staff and, if needed, staff from other agencies all work together to make sure a child gets the support they need.

More information

Local authorities should have information about how they support children with additional support needs available for parents and carers. If you want more information about how staged intervention works in your area check the education pages of your local authority website.

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