The Centre for Christian Education
The Centre for Christian Education and Pastoral Theology is a University research centre in the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Education and Social Science, which supports and enhances research activities in areas relating to Christian education and pastoral theology at Liverpool Hope University.
We engage a broad range of academics, researchers, undergraduate, postgraduate taught, and doctoral students, and other stakeholders across church and education, to promote and challenge thinking about the interplay of religion and education across higher education, K1-12 school and lifelong learning contexts. The aim is to communicate and connect spiritual, moral, theological, religious education and philosophical reflection with both research and practice. This is done in a spirit of ecumenical dialogue between different denominational traditions and through interdisciplinary dialogue that bridges the gap between theology and education and between theory and practice.
We support a range of events throughout the calendar year, including professional development activity as well as research collaborations, publications and projects, building relationships with wider church bodies, cathedrals group universities, schools and other education partners. We welcome suggestions from all within the Hope community and beyond who wish to contribute.
If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Dr Peter McGrail (Associate Professor, TPRS Subject Lead)
The Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) is awarded by the Board of Religious Studies on behalf of the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales. It is recommended for anyone who wants to teach in a Catholic school as well as anyone seeking to deepen their knowledge and understanding of Catholic faith and theology. The CCRS is delivered as a two year rolling programme and requires completion of a total of eight modules: six core and two specialist modules. Four modules are offered each academic year and so it is possible to complete the course within two years or else take up to five years as allowed by the Board of Studies.
There are two options for taking CCRS with Liverpool Hope University: CCRS for full-time Hope registered students and CCRS Online for externals. In both cases modules are currently hosted in the university’s virtual learning site and there is no requirement for campus attendance. Media-rich learning resources invite independent study and reflection together with interactive activities for collaborative exchange among tutors and students. It is possible to transfer into the CCRS Online from another CCRS local centre providing that the entire certificate (all eight units) is completed within a period of five years following registration with the Board of Studies. The CCRS Online external modules currently cost £100.00, the Liverpool Hope student modules are £75.00.
Download the relevant CCRS Online leaflet.
For both options there is a £25 Board of Studies registration fee. Module registration and payment is made via the University online store.
For all enquiries relating to the CCRS course at Liverpool Hope University please e-mail email@example.com. Alternatively, find out more about the national CCRS award by visiting the Board of Studies website.
What is the CCRS and how can I do it?
The CCRS website is a good place to find out more about the CCRS course across England and Wales..
Can I do it within a year?
The Board of Religious Studies expectation is that it should take two years, and most course providers, including CCRS Online, structure their provision accordingly.
Do I have to start in September?
Some providers may require this; you need to ask them. The full CCRS consists of eight modules, six core and two specialist, which can be chosen from what’s offered by an individual provider. The CCRS Online course treats each module as separate so you can begin at any of the first three module start-up points in the year.1.
How much does it cost?
Each provider sets the charges for their own provision, so you need to ask them. Payment is often by module, so the cost can be spread out. CCRS Online charges are £75 per module, payable in advance for each module.
How do I sign up for CCRS Online?
You need to register your interest, simply by email to firstname.lastname@example.org We then place your name on the waiting list for the next available module; as explained above they can be taken in almost any order.
Does being on the waiting list guarantee me a place?
No, because we have to cap our numbers and our policy is to give ‘first refusal’ to existing students. The earlier in the cycle of modules you register your interest the better chance you will have.
How do I actually book?
A few weeks before the start-date of a module we will open Hope Online Store for bookings, and advise you of this by email. The online store is a simple, secure and very straightforward method of booking, by card. We are not able to invoice a school, parish or individual for module payment.
My school or parish have agreed to sponsor me. Can you invoice them?
No, payment must be by card. We will advise how you can handle this on request.
What are the CCRS online modules to be taught next?
IIn 2023/24 three core modules will be taught, Old Testament (autumn term), New Testament (January-March 2024), Person of Christ (April-June 2024), together with a specialist module, Curriculum RE in a Catholic School (June-July 2024).
What is the time commitment?
The Board of Religious Studies expectation is that each module requires ten hours attendance, plus further reading, plus the research and time needed to prepare and write the assignment. The equivalent is expected for CCRS Online course, with the attendance replaced by the reading of online material and contributions to online discussion forums and journals. Except for the intensive summer modules, all modules run for about eight to ten weeks, and the online activities are best handled on a weekly basis mapping onto the weekly release of the material. There is no set time when you must be online so you can manage your own study time accordingly.
Can I do it at my own pace?
There are no set times when you must log in. The modules do run to a timetable and have starting and closing dates as well as topic completion deadlines and the final end date by which you need to submit the module assessment. We always advise that those taking CCRS Online modules organise a weekly study schedule for themselves and try and stick to it. Regular engagement with the course enhances the learning experience of each individual participant and of the entire group.
Any further questions?
Please email email@example.com if you have further queries about the CCRS Online course. Note that we cannot answer any questions relating to specific jobs, which you will need to pursue with your school/parish/employer. Likewise, detailed questions relating to any other CCRS provider need to be directed to the specific provider and you can find details at the national website (address stated above).
CCRS National Research
Forming today's Catholics is a pressing issue for the Church. The CCRS National Research project took up this question to examine one of the main vehicles over the last 25 years called the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS). More than 20,000 adults across England and Wales have taken the course since 2000 in order to further their knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith, many of whom work in Catholic schools and parishes. While the research affirms the role and contribution of the CCRS to adult formation and celebrates all that has been achieved, it also raises timely and important questions to be considered.
Research findings across two data collection phases emerge from course participants as well as interviews with bishops, diocesan education directors, head teachers and local CCRS providers. The research gives hard evidence of the continuing need for adult theological literacy and the vast majority of participants greatly value the course and would recommend it to others. The research also identifies concerns about the curriculum that is needed and how best to enable adult learning with clear theological purpose and practical relevance for today. The final report makes a number of recommendations for church authorities to consider.
Dr Ros Stuart-Buttle, former Director of the Centre for Christian Education at Liverpool Hope University, who led this funded research project says, "It was a privilege to undertake this research. I was inspired by the many individual stories of how the CCRS has impacted on peoples' spiritual and professional lives. I was also challenged by the needs, perceptions and expectations that people bring to their experience of faith and stimulated, as a result, to see how modern day lay Catholics can grow in theological thinking that is relevant to our times."
Fr Des Seddon, Chairman of the Board of Religious Studies of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, affirms the importance of the research report and says, "the recommendations will provide the Board of Studies with a way forward for the next phase of developments for the CCRS. I would like to express my thanks to all those who were involved in the research."
To download the research report please click here
To listen to an interview podcast about this research please click here
The following research outputs are representative of the work of Centre members but is not an exclusive listing:
Stuart-Buttle, R. (2019) CCRS Twenty Five Years On: One Size Fits All?, Rejoice Publications, Matthew James Publishing Ltd. http://www.brs-ccrs.org.uk/images/CCRS-Twenty-Five-Years-On-WEBSITE.pdf
Shortt, J. (2017) 'Education for Shalom: dimensions of a relational pedagogy' in P M Bamber & J C Moore (eds), Teacher Education in Challenging Times. London: Routledge.
Stuart-Buttle, R. and Shortt, J. (2018) Christian Faith, Formation and Education. Palgrave Macmillan. See https://www-palgrave-com.ezproxy.hope.ac.uk/gp/book/9783319628028
Stuart-Buttle, R. (2018) ‘Research and Practice in Catholic Educational Studies’ in Whittle, Sean ed. (2018) Researching Catholic Education: Contemporary Perspectives, Springer.
Stuart-Buttle, R. (2016) 'Does RE Matter: What do Teachers Think?' in Shanahan, Mary ed. (2016) Does Religious Education Matter? Taylor and Francis.
Stuart-Buttle, R. (2016) 'Vatican II and New Thinking on Catholic Education: An English Perspective' in Whittle, Sean ed. (2016) Vatican II and New Thinking about Catholic Education. Routledge/Taylor and Francis.
Sullivan, J. (2017) ‘A space like no other’ in Does Religious Education Matter. Edited by Mary Shanahan (Routledge, 2016), pp.7 – 24.
Sullivan, J. (2017) ‘Relative autonomy and the Catholic university’ in Vatican II and New Thinking about Catholic Education edited by Sean Whittle (Routledge, 2017), pp.215 – 235.
Sullivan, J. (2018) ‘Living Tradition and Learning Agency: Interpreting the ‘score’ and personal rendition’ in Christian Faith, Formation and Education, edited by Ros Stuart-Buttle and John Shortt (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp.93 – 114.
Sullivan, J. (2018) ‘The Christian Academic in Higher Education: The Consecration of Learning (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). ‘The Role of RE teachers in Catholic Schools: Between Pedagogy and Ecclesiology’ in Religious Education in Catholic Schools, edited by Sean Whittle (Bern: Peter Lang Publishing, 2018).
Sullivan, J.(2018) 'The University', The Oxford Handbook of John Henry Newman, edited by Frederick D.Aquino and Benjamin J. King (Oxford University Press, 2018), pp.538-556.
Sullivan, J. (2018) 'The Role of RE Teachers in Catholic Schools: Between Pedagogy and Ecclesiology' in Religious Education in Catholic Schools, edited by Sean Whittle (Bern: Peter Lang Publishing, 2018).
We hold a range of seminars and other events throughout the academic year, offering a forum for students, academics and practitioners to share and develop their ideas in a collegial and supportive atmosphere.
We welcome collaborations from outside the university, and if you are interested in attending any events or sharing your own work, please contact Rev. Dr Peter McGrail (Associate Professor, TPRS Subject Lead) firstname.lastname@example.org
'New Research Report' - Children's Online Nurture by Dr Sarah Holmes, Liverpool Hope University.
This report considers Sunday School shutdowns during Covid-19 and how will this affect our children's faith nurture
Click below to view and download a copy.
To listen to an interview podcast about this research please click here
If you have a question about our research centre, please do not hesitate to get in touch:
If you have any questions, please contact the Centre’s Director