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.



When the pandemic hit in 2020, STEER Education was one of the very few organisations in the UK which was in a position to both provide historical benchmark data, and to collect real-time data on student mental mental health, during lockdown.

STEER's technology enabled schools to continue to track students during lockdown providing a unique insight into the effects on different populations, demographics and ages of students across the country and indeed, internationally. We are now advising the DfE and PHE on the response to the pandemic, now tracking and safeguarding 70,000 students.


2021 and the future

The origins of STEER lie in transforming leadership in business, government and society. Our goal is to prepare the next generation with the human skills they need to thrive in life and the workplace. We began this project 20 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

Wednesday, July 28, 2021
The prestigious award from BETT recognizes STEER’s market leading and innovative solution for safeguarding young people’s mental health. LONDON – 28 July 2021 – Today at the annual BETT Awards STEER Education won the 2021 award in the major category of Best Leadership and Management Solution, ahe...
Monday, May 10, 2021
STEER Education has been tracking pupils’ social-emotional development across Ys 3-13 for six years. We now track 70,000 pupils. From our data we have found 8/10 secondary age girls will now hide their needs from teachers, a rise of 30% since the pandemic. Boys have also seen a 20% rise. A crisis ...
Wednesday, May 05, 2021
It used to be the case that most pupils with challenging EBD needs were difficult to miss. Challenging needs almost always meant challenging behaviours. But not any more. Find out below how your school can respond to the growing number of pupils who are hiding their mental health needs. A gr...