Formation for Ministry

Formation is the term given to a student’s overall preparation for ministry in terms of his or her:

  • ability to think theologically and reflect critically
  • developing ministerial skills (as set out in the national learning outcomes for Reader or ordained ministry accordingly)
  • practical preparation for ministry
  • personal and spiritual preparation for ministry.

Formational assessment is holistic. That is, it takes account of students’ development through modules and placements, as well as in their personal and spiritual lives. It is not a matter of marks alone! Rather, it is ‘measured’ through regular conversations with your Director of Studies, taking into account all that is happening on the Course and in your local or placement church context. It is recorded in Annual Reports. These reports, which are always discussed with you, form the basis on which the sponsoring diocese (bishop) or church makes its decision about your future ministry.


Assessment on modules is part of the overall assessment of whether people are ready for public ministry but it is not all of it. Each year the Director of Studies produces a report on each trainee, making recommendations for their future development and an assessment on whether they are on track for licensing. Various types of information feed into the report, including results of assessments, discussion with the student and reports from home church and external placement supervisors. The final decision to license someone is down to the Bishop of the relevant diocese, but the reports from Directors of Studies are an important recommendation to the Bishop on a trainees fitness for licensing and any future development needs.