Jo Steer is an experienced educator with a unique skillset and a passion for mental health strategies in the classroom, for students and staff.
Led by her own personal experiences of anxiety, as a student and later a teacher, Jo was drawn towards working with SEND students and those struggling mentally and emotionally. As acting SENDco/Year 6 teacher in Primary and later in secondary, as coordinator of both a SEND nurture group and a unique life skills curriculum for all KS3 students, she was able to explore the benefits of holistic learning.
Teaching skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, resilience, empathy, confidence, paying attention and more, only convinced Jo further in the power of metacognition and skill-based learning. When handed the tools of mindful self-awareness and self-regulation, students were able to actualise a growth mindset, with untold benefits emotionally, mentally and of course, academically.
Jo left her secondary role in 2017, keen to ‘spread the message’ of holistic, skill-based learning, free of the constraints of an increasingly data-focused school system within the UK.
Skills with Frills Education Ltd. (which had been Jo’s educational blog whilst teaching) began as an idea of upgraded supply cover; a means by which schools could cover lessons, minus the last-minute planning from staff, and ensure quality, long-lasting learning for their students based on the same range of life-skills Jo had spent years teaching.
Years later, this is still the case, only with mental health at the forefront of all that we do. Considering the figures on mental illness, amongst children and adults, as well as Jo’s first-hand experiences of the barriers that anxiety can present, it’s unsurprising that cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness-based approaches have become integral.
Jo is an avid writer and TES columnist, writing articles based on student and staff wellbeing for teachers and school leaders. See her articles here.
Alongside her teaching qualifications, Jo is trained in Mindfulness for children and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (British Mindfulness Institute) and CBT essentials (APT Accreditation L2.) She is also a qualified ‘Yogakidz’ teacher (listed in the UK directory here) and a L3 Forest School Practitioner (Archimedes Earth – Forest School Education.)
Jo is currently delivering a range of different services to infants, junior and secondary schools within West Yorkshire, from long-term PSHE supply cover placements (delivering the Skills with Frills upgraded PSHE curriculum) to one-off Mindfulness Masterclasses, Teambuilding Days, Forest School workshops and more!