You will have been aware over the last few months that we have been undertaking a major process of review, and the statement by the Bishops of Penrith and Blackburn presents the results of that process. I would like to add to the Bishops’ statement my own regret for any uncertainty or anxiety that may have been caused by the need for discretion around what were quite sensitive and confidential discussions.
It would be unsurprising if this announcement were not to cause some of you anxiety about your studies. In addition to the assurances contained within the Bishops’ statement, I would like to make the following points:
- The three partners in LCTP (Carlisle and Blackburn Dioceses and the University of Cumbria) are committed to funding LCTP until the end of the academic year 2015-16. This will allow all our existing students to be taught to the end of their academic awards. The only group of students not covered by this arrangement are IME 2 students on the MA programme who would be due to undertake their dissertation during 2016-17. LCTP and the University of Cumbria are already in discussion about this, and arrangements will be put in place to ensure that any MA student who wishes to complete their dissertation will be able to do so.
- LCTP is committed to maintaining the quality of student learning and experience which we have always felt was key to the theological education we provide. Resources are in place to ensure that the quality of student learning will not be affected whilst our existing programmes are being taught out.
- As of now, LCTP is unable to enrol any new students on University-validated programmes. This directly impacts IME 2 students who have just completed their first stand-alone module, and who cannot now be enrolled on the BA Top-Up or MA programmes. We deeply regret this situation, but wish to assure those students that the IME 2 programme will continue to run in both dioceses on its current basis. This means that the content and structure of curacy training will remain the same, but that students will not be able to gain University credit for work done. If any students are concerned about this, please contact your IME 2 Officer, who will be glad to discuss the situation with you.
The LCTP Staff are saddened by this announcement, but remain committed to maintaining our support and provision for all our current students until their studies are completed. We thank all students for their understanding, and their support in recent months. We look forward to continuing with you on your journey of vocation in the coming year.
Acting Principal of LCTP