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Office for Students (OfS) turns down Spurgeon’s College registration application

Spurgeon’s College, one of the UK’s leading Christian Colleges and a Baptist institution with almost 100 years history in Croydon, London, has a distinguished and ongoing history of quality theological education.

Today the College regrets to announce that the new regulator, the Office for Students (OfS) has turned down its registration application as an English higher education provider.

The OfS determined that the College passed 4 of its 5 tests for registration, but did not meet its financial sustainability test.

The College fundamentally disagrees with this financial assessment and believes it has been made on seriously flawed assumptions.

This unfair and misguided decision by the OfS means that some of our hardworking students will be negatively impacted. In some cases, they will no longer be able to access any kind of student loan or financial help from the Student Loans Company. Those students still eligible for loans will not be able to access the full amount.

It is important to note that no question has been raised regarding the high quality of the College’s educational offer. Despite the OfS decision, Spurgeon’s College will remain open and will continue with its core mission to train men and women for Christian ministry.

The College has been training Baptist ministers for over 163 years. Our alumni are working across the world to support their communities. The OfS decision won’t stop this vital work, but it is a significant blow to the College and its students, and we believe it is contrary to Government policies encouraging diversification of the higher education market.

We are fully committed to doing everything we can to minimise any impact for students arising from this decision. The College is a charity with a robust balance sheet, funds in the bank and plans for the future. We are considering our options in relation to the OfS decision – including possible legal action.

We call on the Minister for Universities, Jo Johnson, to undertake a review into this flawed registration process.

About Spurgeon’s College: A registered charity, Christian theological institution and one of the UK’s leading Christian Colleges. For just under 100 years, it has remained an integral part of life in Croydon and South Norwood, earning a national and international reputation for excellence and theological education and ministerial formation.

The College’s significant contribution to the social wellbeing of the residents of Croydon, and much further afield, has continued to grow over the past 100 years. The College now has 800 students, full and part-time and currently has 92 ministers in training/placements in Baptist and non-Baptist churches. The College is supported by over 50 staff. As an approved partner of the University of Manchester, we offer a range of higher educational courses.

Courses such as pre-university lay ministerial courses, Bachelor of Arts Undergraduate courses in Theology, and postgraduate Masters in Theology are provided to a wide range of students. In the last two decades, the College’s provision has diversified considerably, with our student body made up of people from over 20 countries around the world. We celebrate the richness of being a diverse and inclusive community with over 39% of our 2018/19 student body identifying as coming from a BAME background.

We also offer a range of Counselling Training, validated by the Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB). Keen to maximise the accessibility of our teachings, we currently offer a number of bursaries towards tuition fees, and are exploring the possibility of increasing this offer. We are also working towards offering a diploma course in youth ministry, to those interested in working with young people.

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