Leeds Trinity University is a public university in the town of Horsforth, near Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. Originally established to provide qualified teachers to Catholic schools, it gradually expanded and now offers foundation, undergraduate, and postgraduate degrees in a range of humanities and social sciences.
Previously known as Leeds Trinity & All Saints, the institution became a university college in 2009 after gaining the right to award its own degrees, and was granted full university status in December 2012. The university is a member of the Cathedrals Group and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
Leeds Trinity opened in 1966 as two Roman Catholic teacher training colleges for Yorkshire - Trinity College for women and All Saints College for men. At the time there was a great demand for new teachers in Britain due to the post-war baby boom.
Trinity College was composed of three residential halls to accommodate the female students: Shrewsbury (named after the birthplace of Elizabeth Prout), Whitby (Saint Hilda, who was Abbess of Whitby), and Norwich (Julian of Norwich). Located near these halls was a convent occupied by the Sisters of the Cross and Passion.
All Saints College, meanwhile, was built on the south side of the campus, with four halls constructed for male students: Fountains and Rievaulx (after Fountains Abbey and Rievaulx Abbey), St Albans (Alban), and Ripon (Wilfrid, Bishop of Ripon).
Both colleges appointed separate principals: Augusta Maria, a Manchester University physics graduate and former deputy head of a Grammar School, was put in charge of Trinity College, while Andrew Kean, a Deputy Director of the Leeds University Institute of Education, became the first principal of All Saints.
The colleges merged in 1980 to form Trinity and All Saints College, with one principal appointed for the new unified college - biochemist Dr Mary Hallaway.
In November 1970 Kean informed the governors that the colleges should diversify and offer other courses in order to survive - although the driving purpose of the institution would remain as preparing Catholic teachers for Catholic schools. As a result, new academic divisions were introduced including Humanities, Modern Languages, Mathematics and Sciences and Social and Environmental Sciences, enabling students to specialise in another subject in addition to their teacher training. The Postgraduate Certificate in Education was introduced for prospective secondary school teachers.
After the merger in 1980, the College was forced to justify courses deemed uneconomical. Consequently, course content was modified and efforts made to increase student numbers without diluting the College's Catholic identity. ]However, cuts still forced the closure of the Linguistic and Arts departments, with the Music, Science and Drama departments eventually meeting the same fate. Despite this student numbers gradually increased over the remainder of the decade.
During the 1990s Trinity & All Saints once again found itself in challenging circumstances. It faced increased competition from newer universities such as Lincoln, Huddersfield, and Leeds Metropolitan - all of which had been granted university status in 1992. On top of this, the government of John Major had continued a policy of spending reductions on smaller university colleges. Nonetheless, academic provision was able to expand, particularly in Communications and Media, and by 1998 the College numbered nearly 2,000 undergraduates and 250 postgraduates.
In 1991 Leeds Trinity was designated a College of the University of Leeds, and established a formal accreditation agreement with the university in 2001. In 2009 Leeds Trinity gained taught degree awarding powers from the Privy Council, and became a university college with the right to award its own degrees. In 2011 students at the new university college held the longest running sit-in in the country as a protest against the national increase in tuition fees.
In November 2012, following the government’s announcement that the qualifying threshold for university title will be lowered from 4,000 to 1,000 students, it was announced that it would be recommended to the Privy Council that 10 institutions, including Leeds Trinity, should be granted university status. The change of title was made in December 2012. In 2016 Leeds Trinity marked its 50th anniversary by holding a Mass at Westminster Cathedral. A series of high-profile guest lectures was announced. Among them was Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, who delivered a talk about her experiences during The Troubles.
In the latest editions of the main university ranking guides, Leeds Trinity was ranked outside the top 100 in The Complete University Guide - being placed 108th in the country out of 131 listed institutions. It was rated somewhat higher in The Guardian league table, placing 85th out of 121 institutions.
The university performed best in The Times/The Sunday Times table, finishing equal 67th alongside De Montfort University in Leicester out of 129 listed institutions. It is notable that Leeds Trinity is mainly a teaching institution and because of this has a low research output - contributing to a lower position in the major tables. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework it was ranked 145th out of 154 for research power, with only 20 research staff.
The university has traditionally performed better in other criteria, such as teaching quality. In the 2018 The Times/The Sunday Times University league table it was ranked in the top 10 for both teaching quality and student experience, and was ranked 39th for the percentage of students achieving either a first or a 2:1 during their degrees. In 2016 overall satisfaction from students was 81% (National Student Survey 2016), with 100% satisfaction in some courses such as Business and Management, English and Media.
We are Leeds Trinity University, one of the UK's top universities for employability.
We've been providing outstanding, student-centred higher education for nearly 50 years. You'll find us on a beautiful campus just six miles from Leeds city centre – one of the UK's best student cities.
We pioneered the inclusion of professional work placements with every degree, giving students a real head start when competing for their first graduate job. The results speak for themselves – 95% of our students are employed or in further study six months after graduating (DLHE 2017).
Our teaching staff have extensive professional experience in their fields and many are also active researchers, contributing to Leeds Trinity's increasing reputation for research excellence.
We're proud to offer a personal and inclusive university experience that gives every student the support to realise their potential. That's why our students are highly satisfied (according to the National Student Survey). Our students say it, our alumni say it, and our staff say it - you really are a name, not a number, at Leeds Trinity University.