STEEP - Identify Barriers And Solutions in Your Environment

This section provides a multi-agency action planning tool that may be used to evaluate particular barriers to achievement and identify potential solutions.

Pupils study in the classroom
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

What Exactly Is a STEEP Analysis?

STEEP means Social, Technical, Educational, Environmental, and Psychological. A STEEP study is a method for auditing the effects and surroundings of a school and its pupils. This data is then utilized to create strategies for overcoming barriers to CLA aspiration, access, and success.

For almost a decade, in business and industry, STEEP analysis (and its derivatives such as PESTLE, STEP, ETPS, and PEST) has been widely employed.

A school cannot solve all of the Social, Technical, Educational, Environmental, and Psychological issues that it and its pupils face, but a STEEP analysis can provide a way to understand the larger school environment and its influences and challenges, particularly those faced by specific groups of pupils.

The Goal And Approach

As part of London Fostering Achievement, the STEEP analysis attempts to mobilize a diverse group of school employees and stakeholders to work cooperatively to unearth and analyze the difficulties and hurdles to CLA in the school.

The challenges and barriers highlighted may be large or little, and may contain themes and concepts that are so clear to some stakeholders that they are easily disregarded - for example, some concerns that appear obvious to a teacher may not be obvious to a governor or a caregiver.

The following are the keys to doing an effective STEEP analysis:

Techniques for cooperatively identifying concerns and solutions in schools include:

All parties work together to identify concerns, roadblocks, potential solutions, responsibilities, and timeframes. These findings are then documented, disseminated, and utilized to guide service planning. In addition, any beneficial activities or initiatives that are currently in place should be included in the solutions.

The STEEP analysis is not intended to give all possible solutions. Rather, the study will start the process of thinking about CLA's needs, identifying some of the difficulties those pupils encounter, and offering potential modifications to practice and approach. The STEEP analysis will also provide a solid foundation for the Virtual School Head, School Champion, and Achievement Coach's work in the Fostering Achievement Project.

STEEP Model for Learning in Family Teams

The STEEP contains the following element elements.


Social factors are obstacles related to the social environment and lifestyle of the pupils.

These environments may include the school, the foster home, community centers, youth centers, commercial social places; or virtual spaces where pupils interact with one another and other children and young people.

Stakeholders should avoid making erroneous assumptions about their pupils' social networks and norms (real and virtual). Barriers should be based on educated observations without naming or identifying any specific kid or sub-group of learners.


Technical factors are those that limit access to and use of technology and information. This concept encompasses not just access to, and the good and bad elements of, digital, online, and social technologies but also concerns of access to other technologies such as printed books and newspapers, telephones, television, radio, calculators, kitchen scales, and even alarm clocks.

Stakeholders should avoid making assumptions about pupils' access to technology and caregivers' abilities to manage technology usage and model the proper use of digital devices and information. For example, caregivers who have access to a wide range of technologies and information may be under-informed about online safety and responsible access, just as caregivers who have limited access to technology may perceive cutting-edge knowledge and online resources to be a part of their daily life.


Educational considerations concentrate on challenges in the school environment, teaching and learning, and caregiver support for educational performance.

The impediments mentioned in this area should be specific to the CLA group. Still, they should avoid criticizing any single teacher's practice or the behavior or views of any caregiver or child. On the other hand, positive present practices and interactions can be noted as solutions if they are thought to be transferrable to other settings or classes.

It is suggested that stakeholders be encouraged to explore challenges beyond practice in teaching and learning, such as:


Environmental elements are those barriers relating to:

Stakeholders should avoid criticizing individual surroundings (particularly specific foster home circumstances) when identifying environmental barriers, instead focusing on the more generalized barriers and affects of the contexts occupied by pupils and young people. As an example:

Stakeholders may inadvertently base their analyses of environmental obstacles on the circumstances of specific pupils. While this should be avoided, individual insights might help form a "composite image" of the pupils' surroundings.


Personal psychological conditions of pupils and how individuals engaging with the kid (at school, at home, and elsewhere) affect the child's psychological and emotional well-being are examples of psychological obstacles.

As with the other STEEP categories, stakeholders should avoid referring to particular barriers experienced by specific pupils or caregivers or specific interventions being implemented at the school or in collaboration with any health or social agencies. Instead, stakeholders may utilize their knowledge to identify common impediments that groups of pupils may experience. These might be, for example:

Goals And Solutions

STEEP analysis solutions and aims should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound).






A Fictitious Example of a School Utilizing a STEEP Analysis

In the following example, a secondary school identified a CLA group, all pupils who were also recognized as having poor behavior, attendance, and achievement.

On a Saturday morning, a session for stakeholders was arranged (to assist increase caregivers' and governors' access to the process), which was aimed at addressing the difficulties specific to this group of pupils.

The workshop was led by the Head of the School, the Virtual School Head, a Fostering Champion, the School Champion, and the Achievement Coach. In addition, teachers, support personnel, children's services experts, and governors were among those invited. To ensure that all caregivers were included in the session, the Designated Teacher called and emailed them.

The session leaders described the activity's goal objective and established the workshop's ground rules:

The first session focused on identifying barriers. The facilitating teacher informed each group of the ground rules before scribbling the barriers their group identified on a flipchart. After 15 minutes, each group reported their results to the other four groups and solicited feedback.

During a coffee break, the facilitating teachers converted the five flip charts into a single 'group' level list of barriers in the five STEEP categories.

The groups reassembled after coffee. First, the facilitating teachers presented the notion of SMART solutions. Each of the five groups was then asked to provide solutions to the barriers discovered in a STEEP category distinct from the one they had previously explored.

Following this session, the groups passed back their comments to the other four groups (who were also encouraged to provide any good parts of practice that they had 'recorded and parked' in the first session).

After the workshop, the facilitating teachers and session leaders compiled the analysis from the entire stakeholder group. This document was then used to inform a meeting of the Senior Leadership Team and teachers to add duties and timeframes. This final 'product' was then distributed to all stakeholders present at the workshop and used as a significant reference document in formulating strategies and methods to be implemented as part of the school's Fostering Achievement in London journey. Governors monitored the progress of the action plan.