About Us

Education for
the whole person

Answering life's
big questions

What does a meaningful university education mean today?

What role should universities play in our modern world?

The Cathedrals group of universities have been educating people for almost 200 years. We've seen education change radically in a rapidly changing world. We believe today, more than ever, that eductation must focus on a deeper purpose, a commitment to fairness, an inclusive ethos and a rounded view on how people grow and thrive.

Our origin as a Group is based on the common history of our members as church founded institutions. At different points over the past 200 years our members began as teacher training colleges and have, over time, transitioned into universities.

Today, as modern, globally relevant institutions, we still proudly provide teacher training, but as part of a much broader suite of courses across a wide range of disciplines.  

Our members believe a 21st century education is at its best when it focuses on the whole person, when worth is understood as your contribution and wellbeing, not just your earnings.

At Cathedrals Group universities we develop the human skills that hold the greatest value today. We promote understanding of how higher education can recognise, release, and celebrate human flourishing in its many and varied forms. Our work together builds on common features in our:  

  • Ethos: Emphasising education for the ‘whole person’, intellectual, moral, spiritual, and experiential learning.
  • Offer: Smaller institutions providing high quality student support and a ‘name not a number’ approach.
  • Student intake: Many of our members are sector leaders in widening participation and outreach.
  • Community impact: Deep roots in our regions forged over decades working with schools and local services.
  • Research agenda: A focus on social justice issues, community projects and societal wellbeing.  
  • Economic influence: Key pipelines for public service workers, local ‘start-ups’ and the creative industries.

Stronger together

Cathedrals Group universities work in close collaboration because we recognise a number of collective strengths that we benefit from sharing and developing. These include: 

Collectively educating over 110,000 students a year, with a high proportion coming from backgrounds that are underrepresented in English higher education.

Training 20% of all primary and 15% of all secondary school teachers.

Benefiting from a broad geographical spread of locations that covers many of the county’s major cities, plus rural and coastal areas – despite being just 15 institutions, we reach all ‘four corners’ of England.

A history of adaptability and the size and experience to move quickly in adopting new ways of working.

Common values and approaches built on ‘community’ and the centrality of the student experience.

Meet our members

How we work

The Cathedrals Group is led by a committee of the Vice Chancellors from its member universities, alongside representatives from the Church of England, Catholic Church and Methodist Church. That Group meets several times a year to steer its wider work. Several sub-committees specialising in different areas support this work. The group also holds several regular events, including its annual Choirs Festival.

The Group is supported by the Cathedrals Group office.

Meet our chair

How we work