Higher education postcard: Leeds Trinity University redux

This week’s card from Hugh Jones’s postbag shows the cutting edge of 1970s media training

Hugh Jones is a freelance HE consultant. You’ll find a daily #HigherEducationPostcard if you follow him on Twitter.

Greetings from Horsforth!

We’ve been to Leeds Trinity University before – in fact it was the first university featured in these blogs – but your correspondent is one board meeting away from finishing his stint as procedural external reviewer (like external examiner but focused on external assurance of the assessment process) at said university so we’ll have another look.

The earlier blog told the story of the university’s creation from two separate but linked teacher training colleges – one for men and one for women – and its expansion to university status. We also learned about its very civilised student occupation in 2012, something which is quite in keeping with the culture of the university.

Leeds Trinity is a Catholic university. This doesn’t mean that you have to profess the Catholic faith to attend as a student: I believe that only the vice chancellor must follow the Catholic faith. Certainly you don’t have to be a believer to be a procedural external reviewer!

It stems from the original foundation of the university as Catholic teacher training colleges to educate teachers for catholic schools. The Catholic Education Council was seeking to open a teacher training college near Leeds. Simultaneously, the Sisters of the Cross and Passion were looking for a site for their own college. The answer was for a linked pair of colleges – Trinity College, supported by the sisters, for women, and All Saints College, supported by the committee, for men. The colleges would share a site and also share an administration: an exercise in shared services.

The establishment of the college was supported financially by the state as well; and depended in part on the University of Leeds agreeing to admit the two colleges as members of its institute of education. Initially, the colleges were to have been built in Cookridge, a little to the north-east of Horsforth, but the eventual site chosen offered more room.

The university today has expanded into many disciplines beyond teacher training, and also is setting up a campus in the Leeds city centre. The postcard pictured is one of a set produced by the university to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2016, and shows practical work on the communication arts and media course, newly established in the 1970s. The facilities today are much more sophisticated than this – Leeds Trinity has a strong reputation for journalism.

There’s an unexpected (for me at least ) Gibraltar connection: the university’s alumni include the former Gibraltarian minister for culture, Steven Linares, and the current Gibraltarian men’s football goalkeeper, Dayle Coleing, which seems quite a lot of Gibraltarians for a small university and a small country. Rock on!

Also, and prompted by my writing this blog, here’s a philosophical/theological question for student records folk. How many FTE would the Catholic Holy Trinity count as in a Data Futures return? My guess is that this is another definitional question which remains to be answered.

Leave a Reply