50 years: A force for positive change

This year marks 50 years since Leeds Polytechnic was established. From these widely respected foundations, the modern-day Leeds Beckett University has grown and developed.

The polytechnic brought together a number of specialist colleges to meet an increasing demand for professional and technical education in the city. It was the largest Polytechnic in Yorkshire with 3,000 full-time students and 4,000 part-time students with around 450 full-time teaching colleagues.

Today, Leeds Beckett University contributes £624m to the economy and is a community of more than 24,000 students and 3,000 colleagues. Its mission is to ensure that its knowledge and resources are used to make a decisive and positive difference to people, communities and organisations.

It provides academic, professional, vocational and applied learning, which contributes to the social, economic and cultural life of the city and region. Every year, the University’s graduates include the next generation of teachers, nurses, social workers, lawyers and many other front-line workers whose expertise benefits individuals, communities and wider society.

More recently the university has helped to establish, and now leads, a group of large local organisations forming the Leeds Anchors Network. This group is working together to help grow the Leeds economy and to foster inclusive growth, so that everyone can benefit from increasing prosperity.

The University has taken its role as an Anchor institution seriously. 51% of its purchasing spend is invested with Leeds based businesses, and £20m of this spend is with businesses in the top 20% most deprived areas of Leeds*.

Throughout 2020, the university will celebrate this contribution through stories which illustrate the impact on people, communities, business and the difference it will make in shaping the future of Leeds.

*Centre for Local Economic Strategies report 2019

A selection of photos on a green floor, a hand can be seen pointing at one

Psychological therapy - Making an impact in the city and the community

Leeds Beckett academics and our students across our University are making an impact beyond university life: drawing on our expertise to bring benefits to communities across Leeds and further afield.  In this article we share some of the positive impacts our Psychological Therapies and Mental Health team have made, and offer insights into how we were able to make these impacts. 


Expanded Polytechnic established in 1976

Battle Back

Providing mental health support for Battle Back

The university’s School of Health and Community Studies has begun work with Battle Back, a program led by the Ministry of Defence in partnership with the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes, supporting returning Armed Forces personnel.

Dark haired lady in blouse sat at desk

Meet our alumni: Kathryn Ladley

Kathryn was the first woman to complete our Quantity Surveying course, graduating in 1974.

Two school staff in a classroom discussing coaching

LBU report shows coaching helps head teachers to stay in role

A report by Leeds Beckett University researchers has called on the Government to support overwhelmed headteachers to address a crisis in the nation’s schools.

Sir Bob Murray shaking hands with a new graduate on stage

Meet our alumni: Sir Bob Murray CBE

Leeds Beckett University’s Chancellor, Sir Bob Murray CBE, graduated from the university in 1972, qualifying as a Chartered Certified Accountant.


1974 Leeds Polytechnic student population

Professor Paul Gately with an illustration of fast food on scales with a heart on the other side

Reshaping attitudes towards obesity

Professor Paul Gately has dedicated more than two decades of work to reshaping attitudes to one of the biggest health crises of our time: obesity.


How to lose weight and keep it off

Losing weight and becoming more healthy is often at the forefront of people’s minds at the start of the year.


Tackling obesity

This week is National Obesity Awareness week. The university has done considerable work to tackle this issue and in 2018 The Applied Obesity Research Centre was set up.

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