About Us



Science roots

In 1999, Simon Walker, a Biology graduate from Oxford University, began researching how to train people to relate better. He used his science background, as well as further research study as a psychologist and theologian, to develop a set of tools to improve what he called ‘Human Ecology’.


Training leaders in business

Over the next nine years, Simon was commissioned by corporate organisations like Accenture, PWC, KPMG, Astra Zeneca, as well as government organisations, schools and charities to train their leadership by improving their Human Ecology. More than 1,000 leaders were trained across four continents, and Simon published his work in a series of books titled The Undefended Leader.


Fire-fighting crises in schools

In parallel, from 2002 Jo Walker was working as an advisor for the Oxfordshire Authority in the UK to support schools with social, emotional & behavioural difficulties. Jo became frustrated that schools had no tools to provide them with a whole-school overview of pupils with increased risks. They were engaged in constant firefighting but not strategic development.


Whole-school approach

In response, Jo pioneered a new whole-school approach, winning a County award, but which relied on teacher’s assessment of pupil needs rather than hearing the pupils’ own voice.


Collaboration and vision

By 2009, Simon was clear adult leaders were often too old to change their behaviours. Jo was clear that teachers needed better tools to help hidden children earlier. They decided to combine their work to build a new set of tools to transform proactive, evidence-based targeted pastoral care in schools.


Action learning in pioneer schools

Over the next three years, Simon and Jo worked with five pioneer schools, Monkton Combe in Bath and four of the Thomas’s London Day Schools, to develop AS Tracking. They used a process of ‘action learning’ developing, testing and revising iterations of the tool until it was robust and able to meet the demands of implementation within pressurised school environments.


Doctoral research

At the same time, Simon ran a series of large quantitative studies involving more than 10,000 pupils, across 25 mixed type, age & demographic schools. He published his findings in a series of papers, identifying a specific function of the mind the tool measured, which contributed to children’s social, emotional and cognitive health.

Over the next three years, Simon and Jo both completed doctoral programmes to evidence and understand the data they were measuring through AS Tracking.

Jo's research articulated the mechanics required to implement systematic, proactive whole-school tracking of steering biases, to reduce mental health risks, through case study and action learning.


The mind: engine and steering

The mind: engine and steering Central to Simon’s findings was that the mind, like a car, had both an engine and steering.

The engine, measured roughly through IQ tests, assessed how fast and accurately the mind could process data.

The steering of the mind, controlled what data the mind paid attention and responded to in the first place. Simon identified that the two were statistically independent; the two did not predict the other. He found that the ability to steer contributed to children’s social-emotional competencies; their mental health risks and their ability to learn effectively across the curriculum.


Breakthrough assessment tool

Simon and Jo refined the new tools to measure pupils’ steering. This was a breakthrough for mental health assessment because, up to now, mental health tools measured the symptoms of consequences of the ‘emotional/behavioural crash’.

By measuring the steering biases children were developing, Simon and Jo were able to identify children at risk of crashing earlier, before they crashed, and provide targeted guidance and strategies for teachers to signpost those children back onto the road.

It was a proactive approach, based on not doing more pastoral care, but doing it more precisely and at the right time.


The launch of AS Tracking

Founded now on secure empirical data and a reliable method, AS Tracking was launched in 2015 as a pioneering pastoral care tool.

New features were quickly added, including an Online Training Programme for all teachers; an Action Planning tool to support pupils and Year Groups; a Data Analytics module to benchmark your school against national steering trends.



Over the next three years, the impact of AS Tracking on pastoral risks began to be evidenced. Schools supporting at risk pupils using the AS Tracking action plans showed almost twice the impact as the normal school pastoral support. About 80% of such pupils reduced their steering biases in the coming months.

Tracking the impact over the long-term was also possible for schools. Many now have 3 or four years of data showing the impact of their entire education system upon their school cohorts.

In addition, the impact on teachers’ pastoral skills grew rapidly. Many schools began to build regular staff CPD around the AS Tracking online training programme. This provided them with a consistency of pastoral skill & approach across their staff.



Between 2015 and 2018 the numbers of adopting schools began to rise quite rapidly from 10 schools to 100 schools. As of September 2018, 1,000 teachers will have been trained and 30,000 children will be being tracked & signposted using AS Tracking. The tool is now being adopted by pioneer schools in Australia, Europe and Asia.



The STEER team now includes clinicians, scientists, teachers and technology developers. We are committed to developing new tools in partnership with educational institutions. At present, we are incubating USTEER and CAS Tracking within schools and universities in the UK.



In 2019 STEER will pilot CAS Tracking- a new tool to improve steering in the classroom. We will also launch USTEER- our post-school app which will enable students to take ownership of their AS Tracking journey and continue developing the ability to steer well in work, study and life.

The challenges facing young adults entering the world of work and life are getting harder. Equipping them with the ability to steer will help young people sustain healthier relationships, better emotional regulation and more productive working behaviours.

The origins of STEER lie in transforming leadership in business, government and society. Our goal is to prepare the next generation of leaders for these roles, starting from the age of eight. We began this project 18 years ago and have now engineered the machinery which, we believe, will produce lasting human impacts, measured over decades not years.


AS Tracking in the news

Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Children’s charities and education specialists have long been warning that for the thousands of disadvantaged children who are not in school at the moment due to the coronavirus outbreak, catching up with lost learning, may simply be impossible. While many children in wealthier homes are enjoying...
Monday, May 18, 2020
"The STEER 'supporting vulnerable pupils' tool has been an absolute game changer. Why wouldn’t we want all our parents to have this app in a time of such anxiety?" Just two of the comments from schools receiving STEER's support during lockdown. STEER has used its technologies to remotely support...
Thursday, March 26, 2020
STEER's response to the Coronavirus pandemic has five core strands. We are providing schools with the ability to remotely support the wellbeing and mental health of their students, teachers and parents whilst schools are shutdown. For each pupil, coping with the pressures of a sustained school cl...