CCRS twenty-five years on

Research findings about adult theological education

Ros Stuart-Buttle heads the Centre for Christian Education at Liverpool Hope University. She recently led the CCRS research project and authored the final report.

Over recent years, much of my work has involved theological teaching and learning for adult professional and vocational education. One key aspect has been a longstanding involvement with the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS), a course no doubt familiar to some readers. 1 The CCRS began in 1991–2 and has long been recognised as a benchmark award by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Records indicate that since 1992, more than 33,000 people have registered onto the course, although just under half have completed the whole certificate. As the CCRS is widely offered by dioceses and higher education providers across England and Wales, these numbers suggest that it has played a significant role and made a substantial contribution to Catholic education and formation. But what is the evidence for this, and what does it tell us about the nature of adult faith-based learning?

The CCRS research project
Earlier this year, in March 2019, a report called CCRS Twenty-Five Years On: One Size Fits All? published the findings from a two-year research project conducted across England and Wales. The start of the research coincided with the twenty-fifth anniversary since inauguration. The project systematically gathered quantitative and qualitative data about the CCRS from course participants as well as course providers and key stakeholders. The aim was to provide an opportunity for national conversation and theological reflection about adult education in light of today’s changing religious, socio-cultural and educational contexts.

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