Education Case Studies

A and A* results significantly improved by Self Awareness profiling at Trent College...

Trent College
Long Eaton Derbyshire

Trent is an independent Co-education, 14-19 School.

Lisa Yates is Head of Yr 9 and follows the cohort through to Yr 11. Lisa has 11 colleagues who act as tutors to the 9-11 year groups.

Services used

  • Student Self Awareness Workshop
  • Teacher Training
  • online Footprint® diagnostic
  • Know Yourself reports
  • Approach to Learning reports
  • Getting Serious reports
  • Working in Teams reports
  • Approach to Teaching reports
  • In-Tune® (tutor-student harmony indicator)


Trent has a long history (2004) of using the Self Awareness student workshops to introduce new Yr 12s to the different culture expected in 6th form at Trent.

In July 2010, Self Awareness was asked to support an innovative Parents’ day at the school where Yr 10 students and parents were introduced to a new curriculum/exam regime. The day included the workshop and subsequent Know Yourself reports. The subtext being to improve parental involvement in the process so that they could provide better support from home.

The day’s huge success prompted Lisa’s visits to some of our other partnering schools. There, she discussed how they use profiling and underwent Self Awareness profile training.

Based upon Lisa’s findings, Magnus Cowie (Deputy Head, Pastoral) took the bold step to form a close working relationship with Self Awareness and become a Centre of Excellence school. A new Self Awareness programme is now being rolled out throughout all of Yr 9/10 and will be extended in 12/13 academic year.

The challenge

Trent was seeking to find a way to help staff work more closely with their students’ natural learning styles, reflect on their own teaching styles and consider how these related to their students’ styles. They also wished to achieve parental engagement and, in doing so, raise their awareness of the importance Trent placed upon pastoral development… not just exam success.

The solution

It was decided to introduce Trent’s teaching and tutorial staff to Self Awareness’s cutting-edge profiling techniques – for both staff and students – and then to raise awareness with parents of students on the programme.

Firstly, detailed teacher training was delivered – in the use of Self Awareness profile data. Magnus Cowie laid out his ambitions for the programme at the start of each teacher training session:

“Our goal is that the [Self Awareness] programme at Trent will eventually embed SA profile data in all aspects of progression and development for each student. Teacher training is seen as the first major step to achieving that goal”

Secondly, each Yr 9 student was invited to complete an online diagnostic questionnaire (called a Footprint®). This takes 11 mins on average and is designed to capture natural working and learning pattern data. The test has been validated by the Psychometrics Department, University of Cambridge.

Thirdly, each student was handed a unique Know Yourself report, based on his/her test responses. The report is written in supportive and empowering language, enabling students to explore their natural approach to work and learning in a safe environment.

Lisa Yates believes that:

“the non-accusatory language gives a great return for a student’s psychological investment in the test”…

adding that

“…the establishment of a common language, to help a student see himself or herself as others do, is a major breakthrough when we begin discussions about personal learning goals and challenges”

Lisa comments that the Self Awareness programme is “of the moment” in that the school is currently working hard towards improving its understanding of how we all work and learn.

Lastly the Know Yourself report is seen as just the beginning of a three year progression for each student, which features working in teams and reviewing exam (revision) strategy as significant milestones.

The results

The programme has outperformed Trent’s expectations in some surprising ways. It not only underpins many aspects of pastoral development, but also informs teaching styles and making students more aware of how they work best and what they have to offer…

Lisa Yates believes that this increase of confidence and self esteem is a significant factor in...

an improvement in Yr 9 exam results (a statistical increase of 7%) meaning that 50% of all exam grades are A or A* for her students

This fantastic news has prompted staff to measure results against profile data. They are also eagerly awaiting Cambridge to publish its new study linking exam success with awareness of learning preferences.

The future

Two Self Awareness sessions for parents are planned for the summer term 2012. The goal is to explore with parents how to tap into and use Self Awareness data for their children. This is expected to align parental support with the school’s exam strategy for each student.

These sessions will also underpin the launch of a new tutor resource for staff at Trent. The Explore your Approach to Learning output is an exercise in adapting teaching styles to encourage communication, reduce stress and improve the chances of exam success.

School Self Awareness champion Lisa Yates is also keen to develop a mobile phone ‘app’ to help each student reinforce their understanding of their own style and potential.