Guild HE - The Guild Higher Education Group

Guild HE

What is the Guild Higher Education Group?

The Guild Higher Education Group, also known as Guild HE, is a group representing 19 UK universities and colleges. The Guild has a focus on smaller institutions, especially those offering courses in agriculture, art and design, drama, music and teacher training. Guild HE was formerly known as the Standing Conference of Principals (SCoP).

Purpose of the Guild HE

Article _guildhe 02The Guild exists to represent its member institutions at the highest levels, lobbying and influencing government policy on education. The Guild also works to ‘make the case for educational diversity and distinctiveness’ within the education sector as a whole.

The Guild HE also works as a collaborative body, sharing best practice and providing a forum for member institutions to discuss and address issues of common concern.

The Guild HE vision

The Guild believes in a diverse and sustainable higher education sector that works to broaden access to higher education and deliver well educated and socially inclusive graduates that can play a full and valuable role in the development of the UK and world economies.

An education knowledge base

To provide a strong, evidence based case for its lobbying and policy influence, the Guild has created an extensive knowledge base, which is available to all of its members. This Guild resource gathers data, information and statistics from a wide range of sources, including UCAS, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and various funding and research agencies within the education and business sectors. The Guild HE also commissions its own in-house research.

This information is distributed to members through regular reports and newsletters, as well as through a member’s only area of the Guild HE website.

Guild HE Networks

Alongside its main committee, which discusses issues of general importance to member institutions, the Guild has a number of specialist networks, which focus on specific areas of education. These include:

  • Guild Higher Education GroupAdmissions
  • Estates management
  • Finance
  • HR
  • International issues
  • Press and PR
  • Quality management

These networks are formed by appropriate representatives from each institution, such as college heads of finance, HR teams and marketing departments. Members of these networks not only meet to share best practice and discuss issues, but also represent the Guild as specialists at various conferences, consultations and lobbying exercises.

Guild HE Members

There are 19 full members of the Guild HE Group, and 8 associate members.

The 19 full members are:

Details of these colleges and universities can be found in the table below.

The 8 associate members of the Guild HE Group are:

Institution in the Guide HE group


Proportion of graduates in work or in further study*


Academic focus

Student facilities

Recent news

Arts University Bournemouth

Bournemouth, south coast of England


Devoted to creative subjects, including design, arts, media and performance. Offers more than 20 degree courses in these specialist areas

Specialist arts teaching offering courses in art, film, fashion, performance, photograph, architecture, acting, textiles

Arts Pavilion, Museum of Design in Plastics and The Gallery showcase creative design and innovation

Granted university status in December 2013. Voted best Creative University in the Which guide to universities 2012

Bishop Grosseteste University




Traditionally focused on education and teacher training but now offers wider range of courses.

Nearly 60% of students are over the age of 21. Rated top in the UK for Drama (student satisfaction score)

Modern refurbished library open 24/7 in term. Virtual blackboard, the Venue (theatre) and a quirky tea shop.

Granted university status in December 2013.

Buckinghamshire New University

High Wycombe and Uxbridge (split campus)


Attained university status in 2007. Built and developed major facilities including the Gateway building, which houses music and video production studios and a fitness centre.

Around 50 undergraduate full time degree courses plus part time. Arts, Business, Education, Law, Nursing, Media, Social sciences, Sports, Aviation

Student Union offers ‘The Big Deal’ which provides free entertainment, free sports and events

Upgrade of facilities, including student accommodation in progress and due for completion Sept 2014

Central School of Speech and Drama

Camden, London: University of London’s Drama Conservatoire


Offers 16 full time undergraduate courses with an arts performance focus.

Acting, Drama, Theatre, Media degrees available at this specialist institution for performing arts and theatre.

Near to the Hampstead Theatre and the Roundhouse. Top notch facilities including the Pscenium Arch Theatre, rehearsal and performance studios.

Awarded the title of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in December 2012

Falmouth University

Falmouth, Cornwall; Woodlane Campus in Falmouth and Tremough Campus in Penryn


Regarded as an innovator as a specialist institution in the arts.

Specialist in design, art, writing, media and performance.

Major development of facilities ongoing for completion in 2015.

Recently given a high ranking as a university for international students. Granted university status December 2012

Glyndwr University / Prifysgol Glyndwr

Wrexham but some campus facilities located throughout North Wales


Specialist business, enterprise and innovation university.

All courses have a focus on enterprise and business, with high relevance to business and industrial applications.

Centre for Creative Industries, Centre for the Child, Family and Society are situated at the Wrexham campus. The university’s Advanced Composite Training and Development Centre are at Airbus in Broughton.

Research at Glyndwr University was described as ‘massively impressive’ by Business Secretary Mr Vince Cable in March 2013.

Harper Adams University

Near Newport, Shropshire, half way between Shrewsbury (west) and Stafford (East)


Specialises in agricultural studies, rural and land-based studies, food related degrees, animal husbandry, engineering and agricultural business.

Agriculture and related subjects. Combines theory and practical, hands-on experience.

University farm education and crop centre, Engineering and Design Centre (Bamford Library), Companion Animal House, Countryside and Environment Resource Centre.

Awarded full university status in December 2012.

Leeds College

of Art

Leeds, West Yorkshire, close to Leeds University and Leeds Trinity University


Focus on art and practical subjects, including engineering and jewellery making.

Full time and part time courses in arts related, creative subjects. Postgraduate and short courses.

Extensive workshops and studios, fully equipped to industry standard, including printmaking, film, video and audio, 3D workshops and woodworking.

New courses for 2013 included Illustration BA (Hons) and Animation BA (Hons).

Leeds Trinity University

Leeds, West Yorkshire, close to Leeds University and Leeds College

of Art


Originally a teacher training college, Leeds Trinity still has an education focus but also offers courses in creative subjects, marketing and management and sports and health sciences.

Strong on theology and religious studies, which reflects its links with the Catholic Church.

Community spirit with tutors very involved in supporting students. Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, Department for Children, Young People and Families and strong primary education dept.

One of the first universities in the UK to offer an undergraduate courses in Sports Journalism and Forensic Psychology.

Newman University



A Catholic university with a continuing ethos based on traditional Catholic education values.

Offers theology, chaplaincy but a range of other subjects including Criminology, Media and Communication and Drama.

Has strong partnerships with other organisations, including charities, businesses and community groups to offer experience as well as academic teaching.

Obtained full university status in February 2013

Norwich University of the Arts



Arts and design and media – creative courses for undergraduates and postgrads.

Courses include Animation, Fashion, Fine Art, Architecture, Graphic Design, Photography and Illustration.

State-of-the-art digital design centre in the centre of Norwich – the Monastry Media Lab. The Garth – centre for photography and the Guntans studios for Fashion and Design.

Celebrated being awarded full university status in January 2013



Greenwich, London


Specialist university focused on design and digital media.

Vocational degrees with courses including Architecture and Interior Design, Film, TV and Broadcasting, Photography, Animation, Web Media, Music and Sound.

Has invested £16 million in a high definition facility for digital broadcast that is industry standard. A designated Skillset Media Academy (one of 17 in the UK).

In 2011, won the Royal Institute of British Architects awards.

Regent's University




Regent's University is one of the UK's most respected private universities. A not for profit organisation

Business, fashion and design, psychotherapy and counselling psychology, film, media and performance


Situated in Regent’s Park with access to all that London has to offer.

Became Regent’s University London in 2013

Rose Bruford College



South East London


A specialist theatre school located just 25 minutes by train from the West End

Theatre and the performing

Modern theatre facilities, including a 330-seat theatre-in-the-round, a 100-seat flexible theatre, rehearsal rooms, recording studios

In 2013, alumni have performed at Shakespeare’s Globe and even won an Olivier Award.

Royal Agricultural University




The UK’s leading centre for the study of agriculture.

Agriculture, food production and supply, equine management, land management, international food and agribusiness


Includes three working farms and a large stables for hands on study

Awarded university status in 2013 after 170 years as a college.


Southampton Solent University




A new university, formed in 1989 which achieved university status in 2005

Known for its maritime courses, the creative industries and sport

Advanced manufacturing centre

extensive maritime facilities

broadcast standard studios


£100m investment programme between 2010 and 2020.

St. Mary's University College Belfast


Part of Queen’s University Belfast


Catholic school. College of Queen’s University Belfast. Teaches in English and Irish.

Four courses in education and liberal arts

Shares many facilities with Queen’s University, while retaining its own identity and exclusiveness.

Celebrated 100% student satisfaction in BEd courses in 2012

St. Mary's University College Twickenham


Twickenham, South



Distinguished history dating back to 1850, but very modern outlook

Sport, media arts, education, religion & history

Superb sports facilities, used as Olympic pre training for China, South Africa, Ireland and Japan.

Many alumni made the 2012 British Olympic Team including  athletes such as Mo Farrah and Jo Pavey

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts




Famous performing arts college, founded by Sir Paul McCartney opened in 1996

Drama, dance, music, arts management, theatre and performance technology

Excellent facilities mean huge over subscription with just 4% of applicants successful

Purchased the former Liverpool College of Art building for £3.7million to expand teaching space

University College Birmingham




City centre college awarded university status in 2012

Hospitality, tourism and leisure management

Many real-life work training  facilities, such as bakeries, restaurants and sport therapy clinics, which are open to the public

Brand new £25m college site for 2013

University for the Creative Arts


Farnham, Surrey


A specialist college for the Creative Arts including art, design, architecture, media and communication.

Strong focus on the arts as a career, with industry links and staff who are working arts practitioners.

Students union. Excellent performance studios and modern media facilities


University of Chichester




A former teacher training college which became a full university in 2005

Primary focus on Teacher Training. Other courses include sport, health, performing arts and social studies.

Extensive library, media centre and The ShowRoom multi-purpose lecture, rehearsal and performance studio

New university sports dome. £4m new accommodation blocks. Awarded £8m by HEFCE in 2013.

University of St Mark & St John




Combines two former London teaching colleges with 175 years experience. Moved to Plymouth in 1973.

Specialises in sport, education, language and linguistics, journalism and the creative arts

Superb sports centre, journalism and media centre and digital music studios


University of Winchester




Founded in 1840 as a teacher training college. Achieved full university status in 2005.

Primary teacher training, along with business, history, performing arts and creative writing.

Student Centre offers a wide range of academic and career support as well as leisure facilities.

£9.5m University Centre,

£3.5m Winchester Sports Stadium

University of Worcester




Has awarded degrees since 1996 and became a full university in 2005. Originally a teacher training college est. 1946

Focus on teaching and early years education, along with a wide range of other courses from nursing to management

New library ‘The Hive’ includes 12 miles of historical records. All halls have internet access.

£60m joint university and public library. New City Campus in 2010

Writtle College

Near Chelmsford, Essex


A well established agricultural college with 120 years experience. Set within a 220 acre private estate.

Animal and Equine Sciences, Conservation, Horticulture, Agriculture, Floristry and Sport

Impressive facilities include the

Titchmarsh Centre for Animal Studies

and an equine Olympic-size indoor




York St John University




Achieved university status in 2006. Formerly a teacher training college with over 150 years of history.

Specialist in Qualified Teacher Status courses, along with BASES accredited sports degrees.

Well established student union with a range of clubs and societies. Excellent sports facilities

Brand new £15m De Grey Building, 57 acre site purchased for redevelopment