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Retired, former Head Teacher

I have nothing but good memories of my time at Leeds Trinity. There was not a day that passed by that I didn’t learn something new and I always had at least one good laugh.

Why I chose to study at Leeds Trinity

I chose to study at TASC (as it was known then) as it was a new College with new ideas based on the small American University campus idea of everything available on site. I arrived in Horsforth during the last week of September 1966 and lived in a college hostel for the next three years.

Patrick O'Kane main image.

My student memories

I have nothing but good memories of my time at Leeds Trinity. Among those were a trip to the Malham Cove (pictured below) for a camping and outdoor pursuits weekend which included rock climbing and abseiling.

Patrick O'Kane Malham caves.

Our timetable was structured in such a way that we were always kept busy. Three mornings a week were given over to our elective course area and two mornings to basic courses and professional studies in English, Mathematics, Sociology, Philosophy and Religious Knowledge. The afternoons were reserved for CLASP (collegiate, leisure, academic and social pursuits) of which you had to choose at least two activities each term. There was always a very wide choice, ranging from looking after horses for a term to learning to drive. It was an opportunity to have a go at something you always wanted to try but hadn’t get round to.

As PE teachers we did a lot of our coaching courses during the afternoon sessions. These included an FA Preliminary Coaching Award, ASA coaching award, LTA, Rugby and Gymnastics awards.

Patrick O'Kane footie pic.

I am front row far right in this picture which I think is the first team to represent Leeds Trinity.

During the evenings we had cultural activities. These included history of architecture by Dr Grassi and talks with authors such as John Braine and Charles Davis.  We were very fortunate to have highly respected lecturers, such as Dr Bottomly, Dr Grassi and Dr Hickey.

An innovative education

At the time Andrew Keane’s idea of teacher training was innovative, comprehensive and futuristic. We had a good grounding in the basic subjects, a more comprehensive one in our elective course area (thanks to Leo Hendry, Jean Williams and Ann Fox in Human Movement) and plenty of opportunities to broaden our own education with a wide selection of other optional courses. This helped me immensely to face any challenges I met in my subsequent teaching career.

How my career panned out after completing my studies  

After completing my studies, I taught PE in a large Rugby College in Dublin. I was then awarded a post with special responsibility for PE at a small Roman Catholic Primary School in Folkestone. While there, I was on the board of the Folkestone Teachers Centre and I ran additional courses. During my second year there I was promoted to acting Deputy Head.

I then got a post in 1975 as Deputy Head with the Mine Trust schools in Zambia’s Copperbelt, with responsibility for starting up the upper junior classes for the children of expatriates and local miners. I was then Acting Head of Mufulira Mine School (which had over 500 children and 23 teaching staff) in 1977.

I left Zambia in 1978 and returned to Ireland with my wife and two young sons to join my brothers engineering and trading business. I looked after interests in the Middle East where I was involved in trading for the next eight years.

As my two boys reached their teenage years, I felt I needed to be based at home. So I spent the rest of my time until retirement in 2013 looking after marketing, maintenance and small engineering contracts with my brothers firm. I missed teaching but kept my hand in by coaching at the boy’s school sports teams and local community activities.

My advice to prospective students

I would say to any student considering a course at Leeds Trinity that the fact the college achieved full university status speaks volumes for the hard work and standards achieved by the staff.

I believe that I went into TASC a very narrowminded and insular young adult but I left as an open minded and tolerant person. I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed my years in the College and in teaching. There was not a day that passed by that I didn’t learn something new and I always had at least one good laugh.