An analysis of the common characteristics of intervention strategies used in secondary education

Michael Power


This paper considers the question ‘what are the common characteristics of intervention strategies used in secondary education?’ This is an important question because understanding the characteristics of intervention strategies allows for a clearer understanding of the resource cost and unintended implications of the use of intervention strategies in secondary schools (Outhwaite, et al., 2020). Although this paper doesn’t explore the resource cost or implications of these strategies, it provides a framework through which practitioners can begin to analyse the intervention strategies used in their own settings.

The study aims to identify the common characteristics of intervention strategies within a sample taken from one comprehensive secondary school in the Northwest of England. This practitioner enquiry was conducted using thematic analysis to identify the characteristics of a sample of intervention strategies, alongside the study of commonality within the sample by looking at which characteristics are more prevalent when compared to the average number within the same sample. The research is situated within ‘post-positivism’ which straddles both the positivist and interpretivist paradigms (Grix, 2004) and makes use of both interpretivist and positivist methods through thematic analysis of characteristics and the statistical analysis of commonality.

The two most common characteristics within the sample were found to be reaction to a trigger or stimulus such as underperformance in a test, which was present in all 23 intervention strategies. Having a measurable outcome, such as improving reading age, was present in 22 of the 23 intervention strategies in the sample, making it the second most common characteristic from this sample. The least common characteristic was for intervention strategies to focus on the child’s motivations, for example intervention strategies that make use of things students are interested in, such as football. This was present in only 5 of the 23 intervention strategies.

Power, M. (2021) An analysis of the common characteristics of intervention strategies used in secondary education. Educationalfutures, [online] Vol. 12(1). Available at: [Accessed 14 Apr, 2024].