Every student on the Full-Time Context-Based pathway is based in a local church or mission context and has a supervisor who oversees their work. A Supervisor’s Handbook is available, but the supervisor is appointed by consultation between the College, the student and the local context. It is often the incumbent of the church in which the student is based, but does not have to be – it might be a lay person, or someone on the staff of the church – it simply needs to be someone close enough to the ordinand and their work to help monitor that work, and help the student develop. The supervisor’s duties include:
- To meet with the student at least once every two weeks to review their work, formation and progress on the course.
- To attend supervisor events and meetings held at SMC as often as possible. These will usually be one event a year and certainly no more than two.
- To be available for contact with the student’s personal tutor in SMC when appropriate.
- To contribute towards assessment of the student’s suitability or otherwise for ordination.
The College organises several supervisors’ training and consultation days each year, and it is important that supervisors make a priority of coming to those days as far as possible. These sessions involve a mixture of consultation with college staff, three-way discussions between student, supervisor and personal tutor and training in supervision and mentoring skills. The College will also send tutors for in-context meetings with the ordinand and supervisor.
The programme also involves some time spent involved in a church placement (a ‘Secondary Church Placement’) which is different in significant ways from their primary place of ministry. This will involve around a two to four-week period towards the end of the course. Contexts need to be aware of this and be prepared to release the student for such a placement, as this is a crucial part of their training and an important investment in their longer-term effectiveness in and readiness for ordained ministry in the Church of England.
Full details are available in the Supervisors’ Handbook which is sent to supervisors at the beginning of each academic year. Supervisors are always welcome to contact Hannah Steele, Director of St Mellitus College, London (Monday) if they have any questions or concerns.