Hope was the only higher education institution in Liverpool to achieve gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Assessors commented on “outstanding levels of stretch provided through judicious partnerships, good curriculum design and extracurricular activities”. The TEF panel also acknowledged a strategic approach to ensuring outstanding outcomes for all students, and recognition of the value of an inclusive community of diverse learners.
The university is an accredited Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award provider and bases the expedition at its outdoor education centre, Plas Caerdeon, in Snowdonia National Park. Hope’s own Service And Leadership Award (Sala) extracurricular scheme credits hours spent volunteering by students, who also receive training in health, safety, leadership and diversity and inclusion. Those who achieve their Sala earn an additional reward on graduation day.
Formed by the 1980 merger of teacher-training colleges, Liverpool Hope achieved university status in 2005. Teaching is based at the main campus, Hope Park, in the leafy suburb of Childwall, four miles south of the city centre, and at the Creative Campus close to the heart of Liverpool.
At Hope Park the School of Social Sciences building features a simulation suite, where social work students can tackle common scenarios and assess their performance via video and audio recordings. The physiotherapy and sports rehabilitation clinic provides access to clinical teaching and training spaces. An £8.5 million health sciences building houses laboratories for nutrition, genomics, cell biology and psychology, along with a 25m biomechanics sprint track.
Among resources at the Creative Campus are two theatres, an arts centre, studios for fine and applied art courses, a recording studio and dance studios.
Hope is in increasing demand. In 2021 more than 11,000 students applied to the university — an 11 per cent rise in applications year-on-year and the third uplift in a row. After a bumper year for enrolments in 2020 new student numbers returned to more usual levels.
The first students taking contemporary fashion design degrees began their courses in September 2022, as did those on new degrees in contemporary performance; digital creativity; human geography; and young work and community development. The curriculum gains a degree in creative business management in 2023.
The university remains in the lower reaches of our graduate prospects measure, however (119=). Work to boost employability is in hand through links between Liverpool Hope’s academic schools and related industry partners, such as Tate Liverpool, Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Chester Zoo and Facebook Technologies-owned Oculus.
Hope recruits the fifth-highest proportion (10.2 per cent) of white working-class students, the most underrepresented group in higher education. It draws 21.6 per cent of students from the UK's most deprived postcodes (10th) but its overall social inclusion ranking (69th) is affected by one of the wider black attainment gaps (97th).
The university has lost considerable ground on research quality based on our analysis of improvements in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). In the previous assessment in 2014, Hope submitted work from more eligible staff than most post-1992 universities. But as research standards rise across the sector, the university has sunk from 62= to 106th. Theology and education produced some of the best results in Hope's submission.
A flagship collaborative research project with Everton Football Club looks into brand loyalty and the socio-economic impact of the club in the local community.
Facilities at the university’s £5.5 million Sports Complex were refurbished in March 2022. Positioned within the School of Health Sciences on the Hope Park campus, the complex includes a sports hall, squash course, fitness suite, dance studio, relaid artificial pitches and outdoor tennis or netball courts. Access to all facilities and classes is £25 per year.
At the Aigburth Park residential campus, three miles from the Hope Park site, about £2.7 million has been invested with a focus on reducing the university’s carbon footprint. Accommodation is guaranteed for entrants who apply through the main cycle and the university works hard to accommodate those who apply through clearing.
All resident students receive a compulsory welcome talk that covers issues of alcohol use and abuse, drug taking and sexual consent. Training to tackle bystander negligence is part of a new suite of domestic abuse and sexual violence prevention training offered to students. The Students’ Union’s (SU) runs a buddy scheme, which provides another support network, and has also produced a city guide for trans and non-binary students.
Students also have access to advice on wellbeing and how to achieve a healthy work-life balance, and trained therapy dogs visit campus regularly to provide companionship and support.