Effective intervention for SEN pupils using additional adults

Additional adults can help provide effective intervention to narrow the gap in science for special educational needs (SEN) pupils but be aware potential pitfalls.

Additional support in science lessons

Most SEN pupils receive support to help them learn alongside their peers.

In science lessons effective additional staff:

  • help plan lessons
  • use a range of appropriate, additional approaches
  • contribute to the objectives and outcomes of the lesson
  • are confident in basic health and safety
  • support pupils in using basic equipment and procedures
  • adapt resources to meet the needs of pupils
  • do more than 'keep the pupils busy'.

Effective additional support

Support will maximise progress and ensure the progress of pupils with SEN when it:

  • increases pupil inclusion in class
  • is discreet – not overwhelming
  • builds pupils' independence
  • is planned and skilled
  • uses subject expertise (e.g. attached to science department).


Sometimes additional adults take responsibility for the pupils' work which creates dependency or 'learned helplessness'. Pupils feel unable to make progress on their own and this can cut them off from their peers.

Additional adults supporting science lessons may be:

  • learning support assistants
  • general TAs
  • higher level TAs
  • science technicians
  • instructors
  • learning mentors
  • parents.

Most are managed by the SENCO or Inclusion Manager.