50 years in london


50 years in london

Book your place Join us on 14 June at our London campus

Transforming Lives and Livelihoods: Celebrating a 50-Year Legacy in East London

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Urban Studies Centre in London, which opened in 1972 and took in its first cohort of students in 1973.  Our legacy institution St. Martin’s College joined the centre in 1976, laying the foundations for our campus in London and continuing to provide teacher training to the present. 

50 years later, the University of Cumbria has a flourishing campus on the East India Dock Road in Tower Hamlets, offering provision in business, health and social care, and of course in education. 70% of primary schools in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets have a Cumbria-trained teacher on staff, illustrating our impact in transforming lives and livelihoods in the local community. 

The London campus kicked off celebrations last November with the first in a series of three public lectures, which were successfully attended by students, staff, alumni and supporters both in person and, for the second and third lectures, remotely. Scroll down for details and to watch recordings of these lectures.


The final event takes place at our London campus on 14 June from 15.30-20.00

Introduced by Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell, there will be a keynote address from Amanda Wilson. This will be prefaced with a panel discussion with alumni of the London campus and breakout sessions with demonstrations of student work, and the event will finish with a barbecue. 

15:30 - 16:15 – Arrival and registration
16:15 - 16:30 – Word of welcome from Vice-Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell
16:30 - 17:15 – Panel discussion with alumni of the London operations during the past fifty years
17:15 - 18:00 – Breakout sessions with demonstrations of student work
18:00 -18:45 – Keynote from London Campus Alumna, Headteacher and Career Coach: Amanda Wilson
18:45 - 20:00 – Barbecue and networking – Café and garden
20:00 – Ends

Key speaker

Keynote Speaker - Amanda Wilson

Amanda graduated from St Martin's College at the Urban Learning Foundation in East London with a PGCE in 2001. She is a headteacher at a 1 form-entry primary school in Greenwich and has over 30 years’ experience in retail management and education.

Following an enjoyable period as a Learning Support Assistant, she decided to train as a teacher and went on to spend the next five years working at a primary school in Canning Town. She later spent five years working for RM Education as an Educational Consultant, became deputy headteacher in Greenwich and in September 2019 she secured her first headship.

She has a passion for supporting others and as a qualified coach with a Postgraduate Diploma in Coaching and Mentoring Practice, she uses her experience to help individuals become more aware of their abilities and move forward in their careers. Amanda is currently writing her masters dissertation which looks at the experiences of coaching for Black headteachers. Alongside this she is training to be a Transactional Analysis psychotherapist.

In 2011, Amanda set up her own independent publishing company and in 2014, after observing the lack of books aimed at Black British young people written from a Black British perspective, published the first book in the Letters to a Young Generation Series. October 2023 will see the release of the third book in the series - Letters to a Young Generation: Aspiring School leaders; a book of letters written by Black headteachers encouraging the next generation of Black school leaders.

Amanda is the founder of the First 100 Days Headteachers Conference, an annual event aimed at new and aspiring headteachers. She sits on the judging panel for the prestigious annual TES awards and is a member of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Educate Against Racism group.

Alumni panel discussion

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Chair – Professor Sally Elton-Chalcraft, Professor of Social Justice in Education

Sally is the Director of the Learning Education and Development Research centre at the University of Cumbria. She is the convenor of the Religions, Values and Education special interest group for the British Education Research Association. Throughout her career as a primary school teacher, teacher educator and academic, Sally has been passionate about exploring issues of social justice and making education accessible and thought-provoking, leading to a fairer world.   

Professor Sally Elton-Chalcraft