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Why are there placements for Oak Hill students? 

The church is Jesus’ frontline, and the focus of all our training. Placements are a therefore a key part of the learning experience for students, and we’re very grateful for the many churches and ministries receiving our students on placement.  In the light of the intended direction of your ministry (church leadership, youth work, crossing cultures and so on) and your individual goals for growth that are identified using the Graduate Profile, placements give you a ministry context in which to set specific goals and gauge growth.

Placements aim to:

  • acquaint you better with local church life and ministry patterns in a given context
  • develop your own Christian character and some ministry competencies
  • provide an opportunity for you to develop self-awareness and theological reflection in relation to the dynamics of church life.

What makes London a fabulous city to train in?

London is one of the most remarkable cities in the world. There is greater diversity in London than in almost any other city anywhere. More than half the people who are now living in London were born in another country. This astonishing mixture of cultures brings plenty of challenges, but God has been in work in bringing Christian brothers and sisters to London from the nations of the world. There are ethnic churches near College and across London, as well as churches with greater diversity than in most other parts of the country.

The College placements offer an opportunity to learn from and worship alongside Christians from other cultural backgrounds, in ways that strengthen and stretch our capacity for cross cultural empathy, and in ways that enrich and deepen our appreciation of Christ and his gospel. We can learn to see and hear what Christlikeness looks and sounds like, through the lived experience of a sister or a brother from another cultural context.

At some point in their College experience, we are eager to see every student and student family step beyond the familiar, with a taste for adventure, to make a deliberate decision to discover more of God’s grace with help from Christians from other cultures. This can be done either in the weekly placements which last for an academic year or in the optional, shorter placements explained below.

What placements are there?

1. Compulsory weekly church placements

All undergraduate students and postgraduate ordinands take part in a Weekly Church Placement during their programme (the placement module codes are MP1.7 and MP2.7 - see below for specific details), with the nature of the placement tailored to your training needs: for example, whether you are an Independent or Anglican student or whether you are training for ordination in the Church of England. Assessment of each placement will be by means of a portfolio of reports and reflections written during the placement. 

So in summary students take the following placement modules:

Full time undergraduate students:
• CertHE: MP1.7 in year 1
• DipHE: MP1.7 in year 1 and MP2.7 in year 2
• BA (Hons): MP1.7 in year 1 and MP2.7 in year 2

Part time undergraduate students
• CertHE: MP1.7 in each year of the CertHE
• DipHE: MP1.7 in each CertHE year; MP2.7 in each DipHE year
• BA (Hons): MP1.7 in each CertHE year; MP2.7 in each DipHE year 

Postgraduate ordinands
• MP1.7 in year 1 and MP2.7 in year 2

2. Optional ministry experience placements

You may also participate in an optional and very flexible Ministry/Mission Experience Placement (MP2.8), as part of which you may observe, evaluate and/or participate in ministry activities under the supervision of a minister or other mission leader.  This gives you the opportunity to have a more immersive look at a particular type of ministry setting e.g. in a prison or immigration detention centre, in a hospice among the dying and their families, or something of your choice overseas. Students also use this placement to widen, over an intensive week or two, their experience of church, sampling for example the breadth of the Anglican traditions or the glorious kaleidoscope of world Christianity gathered in London and described above.

There is also the option of taking a cross-cultural mission placement, for one month, normally overseas, during the summer preceding the BA (Hons) year of study (DM4.2).  This is followed by work to complete as part of the module. Unlike other placements, which are non-credit-bearing, this placement module is worth 20 credits at BA (Hons) level.

How do the weekly church placements work?

Anglican ordinands are required to do a different weekly church placement in each of your first two years.  If you are staying for a third year, you are free to choose which Anglican church you go to, in consultation with your personal tutor and/or the Director of Anglican Training, and you may decide to stay at one of the churches you were placed at in your first two years.  One of your placements needs to be ‘out of tradition’ - this is a Ministry Division requirement for ordinands to give you experience outside your own tradition and to increase your understanding of the spectrum of churchmanship in the Church of England.  This requirement can usually be met either through one of your weekly church placements in years 1 and 2, or through the much shorter but more intensive Ministry Experience Placement module.

Full time independent students have a weekly church placement for both years of the DipHE and you are encouraged to be in the same church for that time (and longer if you are at College for more than two years).  You may have the option of changing churches for one of your years in order to gain more experience, which would need to be agreed with College.  In the light of your identified goal for ministry, your placement may be tailored accordingly.  For example if cross-cultural ministry is your goal, then you can have a first year placement that gives you a taste of multi-cultural Christian worship, followed by a second year placement intended to expose you to Christian worship in an unfamiliar setting, where the culture is significantly different from your own.

Part time independent students normally undertake your placements in churches with whom you are already connected.  From May onwards, once you have an Assured Place at Oak Hill, you will be asked to provide contact details for the person at your church who you expect to be your placement supervisor.  Again, in the light of your identified goal for ministry, we may discuss with you how best to shape the placements with you.  Where appropriate, there is the option for you to request a College-arranged placement.

Independent postgraduate students have the option to do a weekly church placement if they wish.  They can indicate this at application stage but would not be asked to confirm they would like to do it until the placement forms are issued (see below). 

How are the weekly church placements allocated for new students?

  • On the Application Form, you have the opportunity to make us aware of any relevant information relating to placements for you.
  • In May or when you have an Assured Place (whichever comes later), you will be asked to complete a Placement Form, which is an opportunity for you to specify your experience, your goals for ministry and anything in particular you want to gain from your placement, particularly in discussion with your sending church minister.
  • It is then College’s responsibility to allocate the placements.  Andrew Nicholls, as Director of Pastoral Care, has overall responsibility for placement arrangements within the College.  Placements for Anglican students are arranged by Johnny Juckes, the College President and Director of Anglican Training.  Independent student placements are co-ordinated by Graham Beynon, Director of Independent Training.  Placements for students interested in cross-cultural ministry are handled by David Baldwin (Director of Global Mission); Placements for students interested in youth and children’s ministry are handled by Ed Drew (

    • Full time students: Allocation is done by taking into account what you have submitted on your placement form, information from your sending church minister, and any other particular requirements e.g. from a BAP report for Anglican ordinands, and in consultation with any placement church.   Your sending church minister may be contacted, and if you are an Anglican ordinand, your DDO may also be contacted.  Johnny or Graham (as applicable) may also contact you as well.
    • Part time students: Part time students will be in a variety of situations, but you will normally be in a church with which you are already connected. College will make arrangements for your church to be your placement church, or allocate a different church placement if requested on the placement form
  • Potential placement supervisors are provided with a copy of the Placement Supervisors handbook, asked to sign a Placement Agreement and provide Oak Hill with a copy of their Church Safeguarding Policy (for part time students placed at their home church, we ask for this from your nominated supervisor in your home church). This takes place later in the summer before a new student’s programme starts.

When do I find out where I have been placed?

We will normally inform you of your placement later in the summer just before you start at Oak Hill, via your Oak Hill student email address, and give you the relevant contact details.  The formal start of your placement will not be confirmed, however, until:

  • the paperwork has been received from the placement supervisor (as above)
  • you have completed your online safeguarding training
  • your DBS clearance has come through (details about these last two items are provided over the summer in the ‘new student welcome information’).

For the purposes of placements, the College takes responsibility for your safeguarding clearance and confirms this to your placement church as soon as it is complete.

Can I stay in my home church for my church placement?

For full time students, staying in your home church as your placement would only be in exceptional circumstances, and this would need to be discussed and agreed with College. If you flag this as a question when you apply to Oak Hill, we can ensure you have a conversation at the most appropriate time.

How far away could my placement church be and are my family meant to come too?

There are many churches that are part of our placement scheme and they vary in distance from College/where you are living.  Be prepared to travel.  We encourage you and your family to make your placement church your home church together.  Attending as a family changes your experience and participation in the church, enriches your learning and provides your family with their own opportunity to reflect on different ways of ‘doing church’ which may be invaluable for the future.  There may be times when distance, churchmanship or other factors make this a harder option than you might otherwise choose, but we encourage you to make the most of it and to persevere with this learning opportunity.

Mark Selby - Current Student

Being plugged in and serving a church family in a different setting than what I've known before has been both an opportunity to be equipped for future ministry and a real joy."

Mark Selby

Current student