With changing patterns of work and social life, there will increasingly be those selected by the Church for training who cannot, for a variety of reasons, become full-time residential students for two or three years, yet can for short periods create more time for intensive study than most non-residential students. For such people, the College offers dual-track training. A keynote of this pathway will be flexibility, and each person taking it will need individual discussion to plan their programme. Through our partnership with the Church Missionary Society, we are also able to offer training for Ordained Pioneer Ministers.
Students training by this means will be based with the Oxford Ministry Course, West of England Ministerial Course or Portsmouth Pathway and are likely to do the bulk of their learning through evening and weekend lectures; but a variable amount of involvement in College life will be encouraged, dependent upon the student's availability. For example, the College runs Themed Study Weeks during the year on such topics as Death, Dying and Bereavement; Interfaith Encounter (a week in a multicultural city); and Sexuality, Family and Marriage (a week run by RELATE). Most dual-track students will not have to be local, but will usually be able to travel from a home base to Cuddesdon regularly for some of their residential learning.
Students on dual-track training will demonstrate their progress by the Portfolio system, typically this will lead to their Foundation Degree in Arts. This enables learning gained by various means - through this College or through previous study or experience - to be demonstrated in a set number of gifts and competencies. Each student has a Local Tutor who is a focus of support and guidance. This is not a member of staff but typically a person of experience and wisdom living in the area of the student. In addition each student demonstrating learning by Portfolio usually has a Mentor who guides their progress and their presentation of work.
Both the residential and non-residential students tend to generate quite profound but different experiences of belonging in a community: residential students through living together, sharing food, worship and study daily; non-residential students through the shared challenge of fitting learning around other ongoing life commitments, focussed on the weekly and weekend meetings. Dual-track learning offers the opportunity to join both of these communities with their different advantages and sacrifices. For some it can be an exciting and practicable way of developing their ministry, especially, but not solely, towards ordination.