Intervention: Narrative Solutions


“QEH Bristol MMB 03” by mattbuck
 The intervention aims to provide 13-14 year old adolescents starting to become disaffected from school with adult guidance and support to help them become re-engaged with their education.

During their time at secondary school most adolescents become independent and motivated learners who are able to manage their personal relationships with other students and their teachers. Some adolescents though, find it difficult to adjust to the greater independence and responsibility expected of them at secondary school and Ofsted (2015), in a report entitled “The Wasted Years?” highlighted the widening gap in performance between disadvantaged pupils and their peers at KS3.  Some young adolescents and those from disadvantaged backgrounds in particular, are often less able to adapt and manage their work, and they may feel less valued by their teachers who are not able to provide them with the same level of personal support they had from their class teacher at primary school.  In contrast to their more self-reliant peers they are finding it difficult to cope with the level of independence afforded to them at secondary school.  They become disaffected and start to associate with and are influenced by like-minded peers and their social status and peer relationships often become much more important to them than their academic progress.

The Narrative Solutions Intervention helps student to become more self-sufficient and independent learners by providing them with support and guidance and enabling them to re-construct a positive narrative about the progress they are able to make in their learning and their relationship with teachers. A constructive  narrative about school, which most of them had when they were at primary school.

The intervention also takes into consideration that adolescents’ personal story about school and themselves as learners, is embedded within the wider narrative of their family and community.  With this in mind, an essential part of the Fresh Start intervention involves working with parent/s to help adolescents make the connection between their lives at school and the wider context of their lives outside of school.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the intervention requires the young person to take action between sessions, to break the pattern of behaviour and help them create a new narrative about their time at school. Such a hands-on, solution focused approach ,has the advantage of not only engaging in “therapeutic” talk, which often has a limited effect on adolescents, but also requiring  adolescents to take action, which will challenge their assumptions and change their views of school.

Overview of the Fresh Start Intervention

Interventions take place over a 6-8 week period during which the mentor meets with the student on a weekly basis for about 30- 45 minutes (depending on the length of lessons in your school). To give you  a sense of what the intervention involves the stages of the intervention are summarized below.

Meeting with Parent/s and Student.To share with parent/s what the intervention involves and to gain their support. In addition, it is important to obtain an indication of parents’ and the students’ general hopes and expectation for the future.

Session 1: My life at school. The students are helped to talk about their lives at school.

Session 2: Narrative Solution Focused intervention. The application of a narrative/solution focused approach to identify what students can do differently, actions they can take, and to start constructing a new narrative about themselves as learners.

Session 3- 6+: Review and Progress: Follow up session in which progress is reviewed and new actions are planned. Here it is important for students to see themselves progress.

Final Session. Review of the progress that has been made and helping the student to create a more constructive narrative about themselves as learners.

Meeting with Parent/s and Student. To bring the intervention to an end and discuss how progress can be maintained and reviewed in a few weeks time.

 For a  more  detailed guidelines or a summary description please download the documents below:

Narrative Solutions Guidelines for secondary school

Summary Description of Narrative Solutions






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