All training takes place in a number of contexts: the contexts of the college community, the parishes where the student worships, the place where the student lives and the context of his or her own life experience. In addition, training for public ministry involves being exposed to church and social contexts by means of discrete placements. By making connections between their experience and observations in these placements and your classroom based learning in college, students are encouraged to develop the dispositions, knowledge and skills that they will need for public ministry.


Context based training is distinguished by the way that this interaction between classroom based and placement learning takes place:

  1. The student will be engaging in his or her placement throughout the time of his or her training, so that he or she will be able to make sustained and intentional connections between what is learned in the classroom and what is experienced and observed in the context.
  2. The student will be part of a cohort of context students with whom he or she will learn and reflect together as they meet week by week. This cohort of students will be involved in a cluster of adjoining parishes so that they will be able to share experiences and also, occasionally, be involved together in mission and ministry tasks.


There are a number of benefits to this approach. For example:

  1. The student will be learning to reflect and learn together with others, thereby developing collaborative skills in building and being part of a team.
  2. The student will experience the context over a longer period, so that they will be able to form relationships and play a more meaningful part in the life of the context than they were on a discrete 1 – 2 month placement.
  3. The student will gain a more in-depth and nuanced understanding of the context over this period of time, and, being immersed in it, will have a more realistic experience.
  4. The student will develop a relationship with the context supervisor (usually the incumbent) that enables the model of supervision to be more akin to apprenticeship as they learn from him/her over a year or more.
  5. The student will be experiencing the context at the same time as engaging in classroom learning, thus sharpening the focus of making connections between them, and enabling them to put in practice what they have learned as a result of reflection.
  6. Students will learn to take part in and facilitate corporate theological reflection. This is a transformative tool that they will want to hone and use in future ministry to equip and empower the whole people of God in their discipleship, ministry and mission in the world.


What is a context based training pathway?

  1. The student will be part of a cohort of students, all of whom will be assigned for the whole academic year to a parish or a cluster of nearby parishes.
  2. Ideally, the student will live in or near the parish for their context.
  3. The student will be supervised by the parish incumbent as well as by the context based tutor.
  4. The student will meet with his/her cohort, one or more of the pathway tutors and/or one or more of the pathway supervisors every week to worship, share a meal and learn together.
  5. The student will undertake particular activities and tasks under the guidance of his/her supervisor and tutor and prepare assignments related to these for assessment which will be incorporated into a portfolio.


How is teaching and learning structured?

Context-based students will be enrolled on a Common Awards ‘Corporate Engagement with Context’ module.

All students in the context based cohort will take part in the weekly meetings between the cohort and the tutor and/or supervisor. This will include

  • keeping a learning journal;
  • participating in corporate theological reflections, and following up the actions that arise from them, as appropriate;
  • taking turns to facilitate corporate theological reflections ;
  • carrying out a guided project which involves researching, analysing and interpreting the context of the parish in relation to an aspect of mission and pastoral care;
  • participating in teaching and learning about mission and pastoral care

In addition, the student will be offered and expected to take up opportunities to assist in leading worship, preaching and being involved in other parish activities as agreed between the student and the supervisor and college tutor.


How is context-based study assessed?

Students doing the Corporate Engagement with Context module will need to compile a portfolio that includes a number of different components (depending on exactly which version of this module they are doing) which relate directly to their experiences in the context. The components are likely to include a written theological reflection, a presentation, a report about a project they have carried out.


What will the weekly schedule look like?

On average the student will be expected to spend the equivalent of 2 days per week in context based activities and involvement. Sometimes these may take place at other times than in the allocated ‘context days’. The student will be responsible (with the help of their supervisor and tutor) to manage their time so that the proportion of time approximates to 2 full days.