ST JOHN's College, Nottingham, will no longer offer full-time
residential training for ordinands, under new plans announced this
The theological college will continue to train men and women for
the priesthood, but only as part-time students, or full-time but
embedded in a parish or other context. The Principal, the Revd Dr
David Hillborn, said on Tuesday that the college would also look to
expand in other areas of training, including distance learning.
"There is a place for full-time residential training, but for St
John's our focus is going to be other forms of training," he said.
"We are planning to teach out our current students and then
transition to 2016 to a new model in which we develop new forms of
context-based and part-time training."
He said that he believed this was the prevailing wind around the
world in theological education. "[It may be] residential, not
necessarily on a dedicated college campus, but at the
Dr Hillborn said, however, that financial concerns did play a
part in the decision to reinvent St John's. He said that every
theological college in the Church of England was having to make up
a shortfall in funding for every full-time residential student it
"All the institutions are finding the current climate
challenging, and we would rather be ahead of the curve. Having
looked at this from every angle with some very talented people, I
believe that what we are announcing is actually very much within
the flow of where theological education is going within the Church
Some money to fund the changes will come from selling off
buildings on the college campus which will no longer be required
after the departure of the last residential students. Dr Hillborn
said that no decisions had been made on specific posts that might
also be cut, but there would be "new configurations", which would
be discussed with staff and students over the coming months.
"The consultation so far has been with our trustees, who are
unanimous in moving in this direction, and also our senior
management team, who again have been unanimous in voting for this
new direction," he said.
The only students to hear of the plans before they were made
public were their representatives on the board of trustees.
Last year, St John's announced a five-year renovation plan for
its entire campus, which included a £3.5-million appeal.