Our Vision, iMatter, Meet the Team and FAQs

Our Vision

Step’s vision is for a lively, relevant and consistent witness to Christian truth and standards to be established and maintained in all the secondary schools in St Albans and Harpenden. We seek to:
•Establish and support Christian witness in every school
•Create opportunities for local Christians to contribute to the life of each school
•Support and encourage all Christians involved in the schools in any capacity
•See young lives changed for the better
•See young Christian believers integrated into church, becoming disciples and growing to maturity.


At Step we care deeply about young people's mental wellbeing and how they feel about themselves. We also think the Christian faith can play a crucial role in tackling the growing issue of mental ill health. Self-worth is a vital part of our mental health so at the heart of much of Step work are our iMatter values because we believe exactly that - 'I matter' (say that out loud to yourself!) Below are the 5 iMatter statements we communicate to young people.

Meet the Step Staff Team

Chris Birch-Evans

Director (Full Time)
As well as directing Step, Chris coordinates our work in Nicholas Breakspear School and St Columba's College. He is also our Designated Safeguarding Lead

Geoff Sutton

Associate Director (Full Time)
Geoff coordinates our work in Sandringham School and Verulam School. He is also responsible for our operations and communications, including the website

Helena Trent

Schools Coordinator (Full Time)
Helena coordinates our work in Marlborough Academy, St Albans Girls School and Townsend CofE School. She is also our Deputy Safeguarding Lead

Mary Purkiss

Schools Coordinator (Full Time)
Mary coordinates our work in Roundwood School, Sir John Lawes School and assists Geoff at Sandringham School. 

Jeremy Bottrill

Schools Coordinator (Part Time)
Jez coordinates our work in Katherine Warington School and St George's School  while also working with Mary in the other Harpenden schools

Amy Cahill

Schools Coordinator (Part Time)
Amy coordinates our work in Loreto College. She also oversees our Leadership Foundations course and conferences

Charlotte Carthy

Schools Coordinator (Part Time)
Charlotte coordinates our work in Beaumont School and Samuel Ryder Academy as well as assisting Chris at Nicholas Breakspear. 

Terrie Bourner

Training and Volunteers Coordinator (Part Time)
Terrie coordinates our training and looks after our volunteers,  ensuring all our bookings are filled with enough people

Louise Chick

Office and Finance Administrator
Louise looks after our administration in the office and for our finances 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Step charge?

Step generally doesn't charge schools for any of the activities we deliver as we want our work to be a gift from the local churches. However, we sometimes ask schools to contribute to bigger expenditure such as covering the cost of hiring buildings offsite and providing refreshments for Step Days. Schools may choose to provide donations to Step so we can create/buy new resources, where we don't currently have the funds. Our Haven Schools course does incur a charge from 267 who provide the course for each student but Step will not charge for its delivery.

How would Step deal with a pupil disclosure?

Our staff and volunteers are trained in safeguarding and will not promise confidentiality to pupils. In the case of a disclosure they will contact the school’s DSL where needed, record details of the disclosure and inform Step’s Safeguarding Lead of actions taken. Our Safeguarding Lead will then liaise with the school to ensure the situation is dealt with. If you would like to read our Safeguarding Policy, please contact us.

What denomination is Step?

Step is not a church or affiliated with any one denomination. We have staff and volunteers from numerous denominations, including Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed and many independent churches. We have also enjoyed close links with the Catholic community and we are heavily involved in the life of Nicholas Breakspear School, St Columba's College and Loreto College.

What do I do if I need to complain about Step? (less frequently asked question but important)

Complaints about Step, while rare, are dealt with quickly and professionally. If for any reason you are unhappy with the work of Step or the conduct of our staff and volunteers, please contact us. We have a procedure designed to ensure that any complaint is clearly understood, dealt with at the right level and that appropriate action is taken. Please get in touch with the office if you would like to have a copy of our procedure.

Does Step want young people to become Christians?

The short and honest answer is ‘yes’, but we also believe that schools are educational institutions and proselytising would be inappropriate. Step seeks, through our lessons and activities, to give young people enough information and experiences for them to make an informed and individual choice about the Christian message. If there are young people who do show an interest, we can provide opportunities for them to link with local churches and youth groups but we are careful to do this in an appropriate and transparent way. The fact that Step has worked in local schools since the 1990s, and that we are continuously being asked to do more and more, is evidence we have built up a trusting relationship with school staff and students. We do have a complaints procedure (see question below) should you feel that any of our staff or volunteers are not acting to the high and appropriate standard we expect.

Does Step just teach RE lessons?

Step is famous for teaching RE lessons but we offer so much more. For more details, go to the 'What We Offer' section.

Where do Step's volunteers come from?

Step's volunteers come from the local churches. Some will be paid church leaders or youth workers who work with Step as part of their role, while others will be members of the congregation who want to give their time to serve their local schools through us. Each volunteer will be interviewed, DBS-checked and given training to ensure they are fully prepared.