Cambridgeshire Steps

Cambridgeshire Steps Overview 

The Steps name was drawn from an inclusion statement: ‘The process of taking necessary steps to ensure that every young person is given an equality of opportunity to develop socially, to learn and to enjoy community life.’

Developed by Angela Wadham, Cambridgeshire Steps is a therapeutic thinking and trauma-informed approach to behaviour management for all educational settings (mainstream, special, pre-school, primary, secondary and further education), grounded in evidence-based research, and founded on the ethos that "You can't teach children to behave better by making them feel worse. When children feel better, they behave better." (Pam Leo). It is the preferred approach to behaviour management within Cambridgeshire.

The Cambridgeshire Steps methodology prioritises the pro-social feelings of everyone within a dynamic. This means understanding the feelings and thoughts behind behaviour and considering the effect it has on all individuals’ experiences and emotions within a particular group. Comprehending and working with this results in long-term change of behaviour, rather than suppressing or punishing it.

The Cambridgeshire Steps training asks delegates to consider the effects of the current behaviour management systems on the broad range of individuals in their school. It assists in a review of current school policies on behaviour management, physical touch, restrictive physical intervention and the management of children with complex behavioural needs.

Who is the training for?

All adults in a setting should be trained, including (but not restricted to) the head teacher, senior leaders, teachers, teaching assistants, midday supervisors, catering staff, office or administrative staff and governors. The Cambridgeshire Steps approach works best when all staff have an understanding of the ethos and language involved, supported by senior management, policies and plans.

For any additional information, please contact Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead.

Cambridgeshire Steps is owned by the SEND Service 0-25 within Cambridgeshire County Council. Training and practice within settings is the responsibility of the head teacher and governors. Within other services it is the responsibility of the employer and management.

Peterborough works collaboratively with Cambridgeshire County Council and Steps forms part of this collaboration. 

steps organisation structure chart

Step on Tutor training

This ‘train the trainer’ three-day course concentrates on building your knowledge of therapeutic thinking and providing the tools to support senior leadership teams in the development of quality policy and planning, and improving staff confidence and safety. It allows tutors to train staff members within their own setting, so that that the expertise lies with the setting for ongoing continuous professional development as well as the initial training of Step On.  Day one is delivered in person and days two and three are accessed online.  Attendees are required to attend all three days at a cost of £450. The course includes exploration of:

  • pro-social and anti-social feelings and behaviour (both difficult and dangerous)
  • the inseparable links between leadership and management, policy and plans, and training and information
  • internal and external discipline
  • exclusion and outcomes for excluded children
  • the impact of attachment disorder, adverse childhood experiences and trauma on behaviour
  • mental health and behaviour in schools
  • thinking models to support inclusion
  • the therapeutic continuum and language
  • conscious and subconscious behaviour
  • consequences versus punishment
  • early prognosis and the function of behaviour
  • de-escalating scripts and body language
  • planning
  • group dynamics
  • how to use the suite of tools to develop bespoke plans.

Outcomes: attendees who complete the training course to a satisfactory level will be accredited as Step On Tutors and receive the certification necessary to train and support the staff in their school. This must be renewed annually at a Step On Tutor Refresher at an additional cost of £85. Refreshers are delivered online.

If you are within the East Cambridgeshire and Fenland Opportunity Area, or Peterborough as part of their twinning activity, there is a current offer available to cover this cost, depending on the size of your school.

To book the three-day Step On Tutor Training, click here. Click here for the Step On Tutor Training flyer.

Step On Tutor Refresher

For Step On Tutors only. This one-day course ensures that your knowledge of therapeutic thinking is current and brings new information and materials to further support your setting’s journey. It also deepens your understanding of the Cambridgeshire Steps approach as well as enabling networking with like-minded schools. Attendees are required to attend for the whole day.

Outcomes: attendees who complete the refresher to a satisfactory level will be re-accredited as Step On Tutors and receive the certification necessary to continue being a Step On Tutor. This must be renewed annually at a Step On Tutor Refresher at an additional cost of £85. Refreshers are delivered virtually online.

As a current Step On Tutor, you are able to access our half-termly virtual network meetings which explore different elements of Cambridgeshire Steps in more detail.

To book the one-day Step On Tutor refresher, click here.
Click here for the Step On Tutor Refresher flyer.

If you are within the East Cambridgeshire and Fenland Opportunity Area, or Peterborough as part of their twinning activity, there is a current offer available to cover this cost, depending on the size of your school.

Step On Whole-school Training

Step On Tutors should deliver initial training to all staff in their setting, either as one six-hour session, or two three-hour sessions. If you require support with delivery, this can be arranged through the SEND district team. Please contact Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead.

Steps training in school must be renewed annually with at least three hours of training. The most effective refreshers often focus on developing analysis and planning for named children or young people within the setting, rather than repeating content (unless this is particularly needed).

Outcomes: attendees who complete the whole-school training to a satisfactory level will be accredited as Step On Practitioners and receive the certification necessary to practice Steps. A notification should be emailed to the local Steps office prior to any certified Steps training or refresher training: SEND.Training@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Step Up Tutor Training

Cambridgeshire County Council takes the view that Restrictive Physical Intervention (RPI) can be traumatic, not only for any children and staff involved in physical restriction, but also for the pupil and staff who witness an incident. Cambridgeshire County Council will therefore only deliver training for planned RPI where there is clear and appropriate evidence of risk to immediate harm that cannot be mitigated through robust analysis, planning and practice. In an emergency situation, usual rules of safeguarding should apply.

If Step Up training is agreed with Rebecca Salmon, County Manager SEND District Teams and Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead, it will be strictly limited to supporting an individual’s agreed risk management plan.

For Step On Tutors only. This bespoke two-day course, delivered and refreshed each September, delivers specific RPI skills and is only available to staff members who hold a current Step On Tutor certificate and where agreed as per the conditions above.

Please contact Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead, should you need to discuss this training.

Our team is developing a set of materials that you can share with different audiences to help explain Steps. So far, we have a parent leaflet and a governor presentation (and handout). Please contact Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridge Steps and Trauma Informed Lead to request a copy of these if you have not already received one.

We offer support through District SEND Steps tutors and link practitioners. You can also attend network meetings  which are held twice every half term. Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridge Steps and Trauma Informed Lead, is also available to support Step On tutors to embed the approach in their setting. Additionally, we offer a four-hour support package, detailed below.

Post-training support package

We have found that settings really benefit from our SEND Step On tutors’ support when it comes to embedding Steps. Our team now offers a four-hour support package (which can be split as required). This could include but is not limited to:

  • Behaviour policy (and/or other policies)
  • Step On tool guidance (walk through with specific pupil/s)
  • Mini plan for specific pupil/s
  • Individual risk management plan/s
  • Staff focus groups (thinking models, Steps tools and/or terminology)
  • Staff surgery
  • De-escalation, guides and escorts refresher
  • Whole-school audit of Steps journey so far and planning for next steps
  • Step On tutor coaching: monitoring and evaluation of Steps in practice

The cost of this package is £250 or four ‘school hours’. If you are within the East Cambridgeshire and Fenland Opportunity Area, or Peterborough as part of their twinning activity, there is a current offer available to cover this cost.

Please contact Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead, to discuss.

We recognise the financial difficulties that many schools are facing and have therefore put together the offer below:

  • For schools with fewer than 152 pupils, the cost for one Step On tutor will be £225 for the three-day course.
  • For schools with 152 to 250 pupils, one booked place will enable you to have another half price (£675 for two places).
  • In all cases, if the Head is of one those booked onto a course, we can offer a second place half price. All other Step On tutor places would be at full price.

No. of pupils

Offer

<152

One place is half price

152-250

For two tutors, one place is half price

Any

If Head books on, second place is half price

Opportunity Area (OA) offers

If you are within the East Cambridgeshire and Fenland (OA) or in Peterborough (as part of the OA twinning offer), there are current offers available to cover the costs of Step On tutor training and refreshers, as well as the post-training support package.

Book your training place via the Booking Bug website, selecting the ‘STEPS’ option. From there, you can choose your preferred training course date. All bookings must be made by July 2022. Spaces are limited so will be offered on a first-come/first-served basis for eligible applications. The number of places is dependent on the size of your school (see the table below):

No. of pupils

No. of tutors

>300

2

301-600

3

601-1000

4

1001+

5

Q: How does Steps and therapeutic thinking sit nationally?

A: Cambridgeshire County Council is working alongside 10 other counties that have either embedded therapeutic thinking or are on their journey to doing so. We have regular link meetings, share resources and expertise. In Cambridgeshire, Steps has been running since 2017.

Q: Can I ask for support in delivering training or if I have questions about Steps?

A: Absolutely. Please contact Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead to discuss.

Q: Does Steps really help reduce exclusions?

A: Absolutely. We have data from a variety of settings which demonstrate that where Steps is embedded, internal, fixed-term and permanent exclusions have dropped dramatically.

Q: Is Steps a permissive approach that ignores children’s anti-social behaviour?

A: No. It is an evidence- and research-based approach to understanding the feelings behind a behaviour so that the pupil can be taught and learn how to change it.

Q: As a Step On Tutor, can I train other schools in my Multi-Academy Trust?

A: No. The three-day course enables you to teach Step On to practitioners within your own setting or service.

Q: Can I train as many staff as I like at once?

A: The preferred ratio is two Step On Tutors to a maximum of 36 staff members. If you would like to discuss training group sizes larger than this, please contact Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead.

Q: Can I add in my own examples into the Steps PowerPoint?

A: No. What is written in the slides is research-based and evidenced. Additional information can be presented as professional opinion but must not be added to the PowerPoint.

Q: Can I change the PowerPoint slides?

A: There must be no material changes or additions to the PowerPoints. Slides may be re-arranged or delivered in a different order to personalise delivery. Slides marked with a tick are compulsory unless prior permission is granted by Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead. All other slides are optional and may be turned off.

Q: Can I choose the bits of Steps that will work for my school?

A: Most schools embark on a Steps journey, which looks different depending on the school or setting. Some settings choose to wholeheartedly embrace all the Steps tools and practice. Some prefer a ‘nudging’ approach where they introduce ideas and elements at the most appropriate time in their setting. All the Steps tools and thinking models are compatible with other therapeutic approaches.

Q: Will Steps be compatible with my current records and behaviour logs?

A: You may need to re-think how you view and record incidents, depending on the current systems and format you use. The Steps approach encourages non-judgemental, accurate description of behaviours, alongside a reflect, restore and repair methodology.

Q: Will I have to re-write our behaviour policy?

A: Probably. You will certainly need to do a ‘highlighter test’ to check that all policy and plans are written to provide a comprehensive, clear and unambiguous set of instructions and planned response for staff’s reference. The good news is that we have developed a Behaviour Policy Guide available to all currently certified Step On Tutors, which provides a framework to complete all the sections needed for a therapeutically thinking policy. Please contact Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead for more information.

Q: Will I have to fill in loads of forms for all my pupils?

A: No. Your behaviour policy should cover the high expectations you have for 80-90% of your students. Those not covered by the policy will need individual plans. An electronic Excel toolkit leads you through all the forms you need to complete, driving information from one tab to another, meaning less work for you and other staff members. It is fully editable and printable and the information is stored for when you come to revisit the plan. Hard copy forms are available for those that prefer this method.

Q: I can’t find some of the forms or PowerPoints. Can I have another copy?

A: Of course. So long as you are currently certified as a Step On Tutor, you can ask Jacquie Woodcock,  Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead for any missing documentation you may need.

Q: I’ve got a question about a student with complex behaviour. Can I speak to Angela Wadham directly?

A: You will need to contact your setting’s link practitioner in the first instance for any queries regarding individual cases.

Q: I can’t attend the whole three days training. Can I catch up at a later date?

A: No. An hour missed for an urgent safeguarding issue, for example, could be caught up. Anything longer will mean missing important areas of the training and we will therefore be unable to certificate you, but you will still be charged.

Q: I did Steps years ago in another county. Can I just do the refresher?

A: Contact Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead if you are in this situation as we will consider this on a case-by-case basis.

Q: I’m not a Step On Tutor, but I know lots about therapeutic thinking. Can I just do the refresher?

A: No. If you attend a refresher without being a Step On Tutor, we will be unable to certificate you and you will still be charged for the session.

Q: If I trained as a Step On Tutor in a Cambridgeshire school and move to another Cambridgeshire school, can I train the staff members?

A: Yes, if your Step On Tutor certificate is still current.

Q: If I trained as a Step On Tutor in another county and move to a Cambridgeshire school, can I train the staff members?

A: Contact Jacquie Woodcock, Cambridgeshire Steps and Trauma Informed Lead if you are in this situation as we will consider this on a case-by-case basis.

Primary School, Wisbech

‘Step On training has made staff more knowledgeable about the communication behind children's behaviour which has changed the way that staff respond to children. This has strengthened relationships and reduced conflict. We have been able to support a child who was at risk of exclusion to stay in school through using the Steps approach.’

Primary School, East Cambridgeshire

‘Training in Steps has supported staff to have a deeper understanding of therapeutic approaches to managing behaviour and within a whole school approach. The tools within Steps such as anxiety mapping has supported staff to meet the needs of children more effectively.’

Secondary School, Cambridgeshire

‘We have rewritten our behaviour policy to reflect the therapeutic approach to behaviour, and the understanding of behaviour underpins the school’s commitment to authentic care. Below are our fixed-term exclusion figures since implementing the Steps approach:

2017/2018: 85
2018/2019: 27
2019/2020: 15

We continue to develop our behaviour policy and approach to understanding behaviour, with the majority of the work now being able to focus on preventative and early intervention, rather than fire-fighting.’

Special School, Cambridgeshire

‘The introduction of Steps at our school has had a significant impact upon the number of incidents of physical intervention at school. Prior to introducing Steps the average number of restraints per week was 8 and now it has reduced to 0.3. Along with the Steps approach we have introduced some more therapeutic approaches to behaviour like using PACE language and restorative approaches to behaviour. We have two trained ELSA practitioners who support students in classes and individually with students. All of these combined efforts has meant a more pupil centred approach at our school.’

Special School, Cambridgeshire

‘Steps has really transformed our school. We are looking at difficult and dangerous behaviour through more empathetic eyes and incidents of these behaviours have reduced as a result. Staff are able to use the Steps tools to analyse patterns and causes of behaviours and our reactions are more consistent, fairer and reduce rather than create flash-points. 

I would recommend Steps to any school – we are a Special school, but Steps would work equally as well in a mainstream Primary or Secondary setting, AP or PRU.’