What are Scripted Interventions and How Can I Introduce Them into my Classroom?

May 23, 2023
Group of students walking in a school corridor

In our blog we answer the question about what are scripted interventions and how can you introduce them into a classroom. Read more today.

What is a scripted intervention?

A scripted intervention is an intervention you might use with a pupil who has dug their heels in, you have no idea why they’re refusing to work, why they’re angry, or why they are particularly frustrated with your lesson.

Regardless, the pupil has now stopped working and you have already given them a few small gentle nudges but now it is clear that you’re going to have to apply a sanction to that child to try and draw a line and reinforce the boundaries with them.

This is a conversation that you have with many pupils in many schools, once, twice, even 10 times a day.

The scripted intervention is a clear plan for how you’re going to have these conversations.

It details how with the most challenging students you’re going to get in, deliver the message and get out, with your dignity intact and the dignity of the child intact.

How would a scripted intervention benefit me?

A scripted intervention gives us an understanding of where the conversation starts, where it is going, how to deal with the child’s reaction and how to withdraw with grace so that you’re not standing over the child waiting for them to ‘be good for you’.

A scripted intervention covers all these factors in a quick way lasting just 30 seconds.

Although every child is different, it doesn’t mean we have to intervene differently, when you have given the pupil a few chances and they know the expectations and the rules and they’re deliberately trying to step over the boundaries then this is the time for being stern (not angry!), just firm.

What we find children dislike most of all is when teachers they really respect and like, drop their tone and move into a scripted intervention.

Then the student starts to realise they’re not going to be able to deviate that adult from that conversation and they start to realise that their behaviour has an absolute consequence, and there is a certainty as to how the adult is going to respond.

You will need to memorise your own scripted intervention but that is the easy part, the difficult part is structuring the intervention so it can be used in lots of different circumstances so it can be utterly predictable.

Your scripted intervention should encompass the same process with the same words in the same tone and in the same order.

Scripted intervention example

Physical approach

Do not lean over the child, drop down to their level, kneel next to them, pull a chair up or invite them to stand at the end of the classroom and stand side by side to talk with them. Ideally you would like the child to be looking down at you and the conversation must be as private as possible.


Do not start a dialogue with the child by asking a question. Start with "I have noticed..." eg ‘I have noticed you’re having a problem getting started with your work".

Second line

These are when your rules and expectations come into play. "You know our rule/expectation about joining in with group work."

Third line

Here you land a sanction and you need to be clear. "You are going to need to speak to me for five minutes at break time today."

No arguing

Do not argue with the child. It is likely they will protest your third line, "no I can’t see you at break…" but you do not need to argue with them, you must ignore it.

Reminder of positive behaviour

You need to have done your ‘pre-work’ here of previously noticing good behaviour. "Do you remember last Monday when I sent a positive note home to your mum because you were fantastic at…"


Leave before the child has a chance to protest. This is a quick 30-second intervention and it should not keep the child under the spotlight for long.

Get in, deliver the sanction, remind them of previous positive behaviour and get out.

In full

"I have noticed you’re having a problem getting started with your work Tom. You know our expectation about joining in with group work and helping your classmates. You are going to need to speak to me for five minutes at break time today. Do you remember last Monday when I sent a positive note home to your mum because you were fantastic at working as a team? This is the behaviour I need to see from you."
For more information on the Classroom Culture train-the-trainer programme, our Hearts & Minds INSET, or how your school can get a Behaviour Health Check, go to our Classroom Culture programme page and fill in the consultation form.

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