Film ID: YFA 7 Video of YFA 7 Ripon Training College RIPON TRAINING COLLEGE 1955 Visitor TabsDescription This film was taken at Ripon Training College, a women’s teaching college, in the mid 1950s. The film includes footage of pupils as well as staff and documents some of the activities that take place during a typical school day including art and physical education classes. Title – The Training College Ripon The film opens with the exterior of Ripon Training College showing several coats-of-arms. A group of girls are chatting near a doorway, and there is a plaque of Mary and the baby Jesus. Inside the college, a student plays in organ, another studies at a desk, and others sit together in a common room. There are also students studying in the library. Members of staff and the Chaplain arrive, walking through the flowered grounds of the College. A woman rakes and hoes the vegetable patch in the garden, and, in the Rural Science Department, students tend to plants in the greenhouse. Outside the grounds, a student sits drawing, and inside, several students work on potter's wheels. Again, outside on the lawn, students are doing various physical exercises such as jumping, using a pommel house and vaulting horse, and a balance beam. Then it is onto Ripon Cathedral and Skellfield Terrace as viewed from the River Skell. A group of students are at the south side of the Cathedral. On another field trip to Robin Hood's Bay, the students come out of a building and head down to the bay where they collect specimens from the shore before making their way back. The girls board a coach to return to the College, and back on the College drive, a man goes over some tarmac with a heavy roller. At Holy Trinity School, a group of younger children are outside painting where their teacher watches over them. The Army are levelling the College sports field using bulldozers and other heavy machinery. The film closes with the end of term when the students load cars with their luggage to leave college for home. Context This film was discovered in a cupboard in the College around 1991, and found its way to the Yorkshire Film Archive, which was based there at the time. In all probability the film would have been made by someone at the College for internal use, as it perhaps focuses too much on filming the staff to be a promotional film – but this is speculation. At any event, it gives a good portrait of a College of this kind in the 1950s. The YFA also has a film from the previous year documenting the opening of St. Margaret's Hall at the College, and other films of the College from the 1960s. The College began inauspiciously with just one student at Monkgate, in York, back in May 1841, joined by two more students in September. At that time there was precious little by way of training teachers – other countries, such as Germany, were well in advance in this respect. The growth of Church schools, both Anglican and Non-conformist, meant that there was a great need for such training. In 1811 the ‘National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in principles of the Established Church’ was established, and this was instrumental in opening schools and directing state policy on grants. It also led the way in training teachers, setting up Diocesan Societies in each county. At the time there was much debate, and conflict, as to the relative weight of the Church and the State in influencing education. This dispute had special significance in Ripon with its ancient Cathedral going back to the seventh century, as demonstrated in the essay by Hagerty (References). The Church was keen to maintain its dominant position in education, and hence the establishment of Church teacher training colleges. These were aimed at improving the standards of teachers, but also aimed to go beyond the narrow curriculum of public schools to provide an education for the lower-middle classes – incorporating subjects like practical mechanics. The College drew its students from a wide range of backgrounds, many upper-working class who themselves had a poor education. In 1845 it moved to a purpose built building at its present site on Lord Mayor’s Walk, with a girl’s training College taking over at the Monkgate site. A Yeoman School was also established at the Lord Mayor’s Walk site with an adjacent extension in 1846, later merging with Archbishop Holgate's Grammar School in 1858 – see the Context for the film of this name from 1932. In 1859 the ‘Female School’ buildings were finally judged as unfit, and the Governmental body, the Committee of the Privy Council – upon which the College now depended for funding – approved a plan for the York architects J B and W Atkinson to build a new College in Ripon. It opened in 1862, without the long serving Lady Superintendent, Mary Cruse, who had led the College for fifteen years, and who had to retire on health grounds; without, according to Gordon McGregor, proper compensation or acknowledgement. Moving on to the 1950s, the College, under the direction of Principal Valentine Hall, expanded its student accommodation and opened a new block in May 1954, half funded by the Church. It was a transitional period in the development of teacher training. There was little national co-ordination, and the supply of teachers didn’t match the requirements. This was not helped by inadequate funding for students: it was only in the following year, 1956, that LEA grants to students were standardised, and the three year course agreed upon in 1957 (coming into effect in 1960). Moreover, the Crowther report of 1956 recommended raising the school leaving age to 16. Yet despite increasing state involvement the College remained very much Church based, requiring at least half its intake to be committed Christians, and the other half to be sympathetic to the College’s Christian ethos. Given the pressure to expand the size of colleges, the future of Ripon was in the balance as it was felt to be too small and isolated – the quota for students at the College was 180. In 1959 the Church Board agreed to more than double this number to 400, and approval was given to £4 m of new building. This is well after the work on the College grounds seen in the film – Gordon McGregor mentions the Royal Engineers work on the grounds in removing top soil in 1949, so this maybe a continuation of this work (1969, p. 164). 1949 was the year the Corps of Royal Engineers was formed, and the army has a had long links with Ripon – see Scenes at the Ripon Highland Sports (1916). Moving on again, the Colleges of Ripon & York St John merged in 1974, becoming a College of the University of Leeds in 1990. By 2001 the site at Ripon had closed, transferring to York, and it became just York St John, gaining university status in 2006 to become York St John University College. Gordon McGregor, in his recent book Life More Abundant, has traced these developments (this Context has been heavily indebted to Gordon McGregor’s researches). But this brief overview of the College history, however, gives us little of the flavour of actually attending the College that this film does. The film demonstrates the wide ranging subjects of the curriculum, with a strong emphasis on practical, ‘hands-on’, activities. This very much mirrors the educational policy in schools after the Second World War. This is illustrated with the children at Holy Trinity School painting outside; and also in three films of schools from this same period on YFAO: Joseph Rowntree Senior School New Earswick (1947), Free To Grow Up (1956) and Kindergarten (1958) – see the Contexts for these films. References J M Hagerty, ‘Wadministration of Local Affairs’, in Ripon: Some Aspects of its History, Ripon Civic Society, Dalesman Books, 1972. Gordon McGregor, A Church College for the 21st Century: 150 years of Ripon and York St John, University College of Ripon and York St John, 1991. Gordon McGregor, Towards true education: essays in celebration of the first 150 years of the University College of Ripon and York St. John, University College of Ripon and York St. John, 1994. Further Information Gordon McGregor, Life More Abundant, University College of Ripon and York St. John, 2009.