Group Intervention Approaches

After identifying individual and/or small groups of children and/or young people with additional support needs relating to and/or including SLCN, the SENCO is likely to plan interventions to develop speaking and listening skills at the universal, targeted and enhanced levels across the school. These interventions will form part of a pupil or group provision map. The types of interventions are likely to be different for primary and secondary schools and will need to be organised according to the area of speech, language and communication need, for example, receptive language, speech, functional use and social use of language skills.

Possible interventions have been divided into those ideally suited to small groups of children and/or young people in primary and secondary schools.

Please see below:

Receptive and Expressive Language
Speaking and Listening through Narrative Programmes, published by Black Sheep Press,
Black Sheep publish a wealth of resources, for example: Speaking and Listening through Narrative.  These programmes focus upon Nursery, Reception and KS1.This focuses the child on key concepts with regard to storytelling.  Children are given time to focus on Who, Where, When, What happened (and this is further developed into problem and solution at key stage 2) and end.

Barrier concepts/games
Black Sheep Press, has published a number of resources.
The focus of this intervention is for children to gradually increase their ability to respond to and give increasingly complex instructions.

Early Listening and Phonology
Letters and Sounds -
This is not just a phonological awareness and phonic letters programme but also it includes extensive and useful ideas and activities to encourage early listening and auditory discrimination.  These phonological skills are fundamental to the development of language and literacy skills.

Soundaround, Burnett and Wylie, 2002, David Fulton
• This is a phonological based intervention.  It focuses on ideas and activities that included in the early aspects of Letters and Sounds.  Children are encouraged to develop awareness of syllables, rhyme, beginnings and endings.  A sheet developed by T. Smith and J.Walton (SEND TST) explains and gives ideas to develop this. Please refer to the Resources section.

Other resources include:
• Sounds into Words J. Johnson, 2014
• Language for Learning, Worcestershire County Council
• Communicating Phonics is a useful resource for screening pupils with SLCN in preparation for key stage 1 phonic testing- Download your copy from

Social Communication
• Time to Talk, A. Schroeder, 2001, LDA. This is a programme that is very visual and aimed at encouraging communication with Early Years.  Children are presented with familiar characters and activities involving this character.  Games include colouring, role play and circle time.

• Socially Speaking, A. Schroeder, 1998, LDA.  This programme helps to develop social language skills.  Children focus on themselves and how to develop positive relationships with others

• Talkabout - published by Speechmark publications -
This is another programme encouraging social communication between peers.  This visual programme uses cartoon characters in order to teach concepts such as emotions, turn taking, non -verbal communication and managing behaviour.  There are a range of resources in this series which covers key stages 1-4

The main areas of difficulty presented at secondary school usually include:
• Understanding and use of vocabulary
• Verbal reasoning skills and understanding more abstract language
• Information processing, including speed of processing, working memory and attention and listening skills
• Narrative skills
• Social communication including understanding/use of non -verbal communication skills, conversational skills and developing and maintaining social relationships. There may be some overlaps with interventions for children/young people with autistic spectrum conditions

Below are some interventions that may be used to develop skills and strategies for children/young people to then generalise in classrooms and whole school situations with additional support:

Understanding and use of vocabulary
• Small group pre-tutor and review of key vocabulary and concepts
• Subject departments to work with learning support department to develop key word lists as well as key words across the curriculum
• The Vocabulary Enrichment programme: Enhancing language and communication in secondary school (ELCISS), V. Joffe.V, published by Speech Mark(2010)
• Talking Maths (Liverpool Local Authority) years 1-7. Supporting the language of maths
• Getting to Grips with word problems, QEd Publications, 2009

Verbal Reasoning Skills
• Small group English with additional opportunities for:
• guided reading and other reading comprehension activities
• locating information in text
• Synonyms and antonyms
• Highlighting and underlining key words
• Using contextual cues to support understanding
• Cause and effect
• Deduction
• Inference
• Prediction
• Use of visual materials to support understanding
• Teaching understanding and use of higher level questioning
• See Blank model in resources section
• Test of Abstract Language Comprehension (TALC 2) - see part 3 of this resource  re intervention strategies , Elklan( 2010)

Information Processing
• Teach active listening skills- good listening behaviours, listening for key words, auditory memory span, taking messages and following longer instructions
• Teach strategies to support working memory weaknesses, e.g. visualisation skills, rehearsal strategies and chunking/grouping information
• How to use a task organiser
• How to take notes, annotate text/power point
• How to use a Dictaphone and or other recording devices
• Support students to understand their personal learning style and self-monitoring
• See Active Listening for Active learning , M. Johnson , QEd Publications , 2012
• Also Help Children to hang onto your every word, M. Johnson, QEd Publications, 2010

Narrative Skills
• Key stage 1, 2 and 3 Oral to Written narrative, Black Sheep Press -
• The Narrative Intervention programme: Enhancing language and communication in secondary school (ELCISS) V. Joffe.V, published by Speech Mark (2010)
• Explicit grammar at word and sentence level, for example teach for understanding and use of connectives

Social Communication
• Social Use of Language Programme, R. Rinaldi NFER
• Nurturing Talk - key stages 1-3 for children/young people with social, emotional and behavioural needs. This is based upon the Talking Partners programme and linked to SEAL materials
• Talking Partners @Secondary - A 10 weeks speaking and listening programme
• Talkabout - A. Kelly, Speech mark
• Socially Speaking, LDA
• Use of Social Stories and Comic Strip Conversations, C. Gray, 1994