All About Us

STEP’s mission is to unlock potential through personalised physical literacy. We strive to:

  • empower educators to make a difference
  • enable more individualised learning
  • give every student a better chance at success

The long term aim of STEP is to bring physical literacy into the lives of every child

What is STEP Physical Literacy?

Physical literacy is different from “sportiness”, it is not associated with how fast a child can run or how high they can jump but is concerned with how they think and move simultaneously. STEP defines physical literacy as:

the mastering of the core physical skills of balance, co-ordination and eye-tracking through personalised exercise. Children who can confidently develop their physical literacy are proven to learn more effectively, socialise more easily and participate more positively both inside and outside the classroom.

The STEP Programme is a whole child development programme that helps pupils overcome challenges with behaviour, concentration, self-esteem and academic attainment.

Where does STEP come from?

STEP uses repetitive exercises to embed core physical skills, making them automatic. The practise of repeating something until something is embedded has been around for millennium and has been used in military training, dance, sport, studying (remember learning times tables!) play, occupational therapy and household tasks. The idea that you can be thinking about something else whilst performing a physical action is not a new concept!

The genesis of the STEP Programme can be traced back to Dr Frank Belgau, whose work in the 1960s in balametrics led him to develop a fundamental movement programme that focussed on vestibular balance and hand-eye coordination which had a significant impact on struggling learners at school. For some children, tasks such as sitting still at a desk is not a subconscious act, it requires a lot of thought and concentration. One of Dr Belgau’s observations was that these children often had poor balance. He found that by using repetitive exercise to improve their balance they were able to embed skills such as sitting still, giving them greater capacity to concentrate and learn what was being taught in the classroom. Dr Belgau’s learning breakthrough programme is still in widespread use today.

Other programmes such as Wake’n’shake, Move to Learn and, Better Movers and Thinkers are all in the same family as STEP. There are very few educators who do not believe that there is a link between physical success and success at school. The STEP Programme however is the first to be able to deliver a truly individualised programme that adapts daily based on the needs of the pupil taking part.

The STEP Advisory Groups (STAG)

As STEP has been used increasingly widely by educators and teachers in the US and the UK we have listened and learnt from these teachers as to the changes and developments they would like to see from STEP. So, we operate in a circle of ongoing improvement: listening, measuring, refining, implementing. STEP is being driven by the feedback of teachers, educators and most importantly the students themselves.

The positive feedback that we have had from teachers from Ohio to Mississippi to Midlothian has been fantastic. It is their judgement not ours that counts and they will best decide what tools to use to work with the students in their care.

We are evolving every year and together with our technology partner Microsoft, we have a vision of how in the future we can use affordable technology to assist teachers to make STEP even more impactful and accurate. We will also be making it more fun for the students involved! In order to keep us offering the most up to date resources to schools we are fortunate to be advised by a group of people who share our passion to help pupils unlock potential through physical literacy.

STEP Partners - Technology - Education - Sport


Microsoft believes that technology, combined with education, provides the path to enable individuals, communities and nations achieve their potential. A well-educated population is vital to ensure a successful future. Harnessing the power of technology to support innovation helps people all over the world think differently and solve problems in ways never before imagined.

“I am excited to see how emerging technologies can be used to help people in ways we have never imagined. Innovations in technology have the potential to make learning fun and engaging and can lead to the learning process being an even more rewarding experience.”

Liam Kelly, Microsoft UK


The Independent Association of Prep Schools is a schools association, representing around 670 preparatory schools – the majority of IAPS’ schools are in the UK, with other locations including Africa, The Middle East, Singapore and the USA.

British Dyslexia Association

10% of the population are dyslexic; 4% severely so. Dyslexia is identified as a disability in the Equality Act 2010. Many of the dyslexic people across the UK, whether adults or children, are unable to fulfil their potential as a large percentage of the population still do not understand what dyslexia is, the difficulties which the condition presents and do not know how best to support them. Dyslexia is not an obvious difficulty; it is hidden. As a result, dyslexic people have to overcome numerous barriers to make a full contribution to society.

The BDA is the voice of dyslexic people. We aim to influence government and other institutions to promote a dyslexia friendly society, that enables dyslexic people of all ages to reach their full potential.

UKactive kids

UK Active is a not-for-profit body comprised of members and partners from across the UK active lifestyle sector. The UK active focus is a long-standing and uncompromising vision to get more people, more active, more often.

ukactive kids works with its partners to:

Help inform government policy with insight from the playing fields, playground and sports halls of thousands of schools and community settings across the country

Shape the direction and strategy for the sector, with a direct voice through to the ukactive board.

Create a vision and structure for delivery and influence the lives of hundreds of thousands of children for years ahead

Define standards and good practice, helping to ensure the safety of children who participate in member led activity

Where needed, work with key stakeholders to put in place regulations & accreditation in place to uphold standards

Stimulate the growth of the sector and the achievement of the vision of more children, more active, more often

Children in Scotland

STEP is proud to support the work of Children in Scotland - the collective voice for children, young people and families in Scotland, and organisations and businesses that have a significant positive impact on children’s lives.

Entergy Mississippi

STEP Schools

  • Akeley Wood School
  • Martello Primary School Folkestone
  • Morehall Primary School Folkestone
  • St Luke’s Primary School Midlothian
  • St David’s Primary School Midlothian
  • Lawfield Primary School Midlothian
  • Gorebridge Primary School Midlothian
  • Balbardie Primary School Westlothian
  • Dalmilling Primary School, South Ayrshire
  • Sacred Heart Primary School, South Ayrshire
  • St Cuthbert’s Primary School, South Ayrshire
  • Wester Overton Primary School, South Lanarkshire
  • Fettes College Prep, Edinburgh
  • Gracemount Primary School, Edinburgh
  • Irvine Royal Academy, Irvine
  • Riverside Primary School, Stirling
  • Garnteg Primary School, Wales
  • St Helens Primary School, Wales
  • Wellington Prep, Ayr
  • Ardley Hill Academy
  • Waddesdon School
  • Hazelwood Prep School
  • Holy Cross Prep School, Richmond
  • Our Lady of Lourdes

Physical Literacy 2019

If you want to start a STEP Physical Literacy Programme – Register Now.