The student body of St Stephen’s House is made up of all ages of people from a wide range of interesting backgrounds. The college community consists of ordinands who are training to become priests in the Church of England; PGCE students preparing for a career in teaching; and a smaller number of independent students, studying for both postgraduate and undergraduate degrees (undergraduates must be 21+). As a training institution for the Church of England, St Stephens House offers many opportunities for all students to engage in daily worship. However, despite a clear Christian ethos, people of all faiths (or even those with none at all) are welcome and enjoy life at St Stephen's House without any sense of pressure. One of the nicest parts of community life at St Stephen’s House is meal times. The whole community has the opportunity to sit down together, which usually results in meals lasting much longer than the food and the cups of tea afterwards. Overall, St Stephen’s House is a warm, friendly community with a good support network for all students.
Meals are provided on a half-board basis in term time (breakfast and lunch or dinner), which is compulsory for students living in the main college building. Those living in the flats and houses may opt out. The catering charge is paid termly, at the same time as the rent. There is a kitchen for students to use outside of these mealtimes. A continental breakfast is provided Monday-Friday, including an early sitting for PGCE students who have to leave to get to placement, and a cooked breakfast is provided Monday-Thursday. At weekends, cooked brunch is served on a Saturday and cooked and continental breakfast is provided on a Sunday. There are 3 black tie banquet dinners per year, to which all students, staff and selected College guests are invited. These are big occasions of 120-150 attendees. One is to celebrate Christmas, one is held on our Founder’s Day, and one is to celebrate the leavers at the end of the year.
Accommodation is available for (almost) all students for as long as they require it. There are plenty of individual rooms of various sizes, both with and without ensuite bathroom facilities. As a mature college, St Stephen's also provides fully furnished on-site flats and houses to those who bring along their partners/families. There are several ramps for wheelchair users and disabled toilets in the main building, and the College is aware of its obligations to extend accessibility for people with disabilities; steps are taken to this end in consultation with members, staff, visitors and other institutional stakeholders.
Sport is very much a part of college life, and with the University Sports ground just opposite the street, St Stephen's House is perfectly located. The College has its own Boat Club, and students participate in a variety of sports, in recent years including rugby, football, cricket, tennis, croquet, triathlon, sailing, polo and shooting. The College also has a good musical tradition, and the college church is the home of SJE Arts, a concert and arts venue. There are often discounted tickets for students, and students have the opportunity to volunteer and see concerts for free. A choir made up from the student body performs the grace at the black tie dinners, and there is ample opportunity to get involved in the chapel and church services if wanted. Students get the chance to sit on various committees within the college to represent their fellow students. The general atmosphere at St Stephen's House is very friendly and as a student there, you will notice that College finds it important that students’ opinions are listened to and considered in all aspects of college life. There are regular general Common Room meetings in which all students can have their say about their Common Room and what they would like to see happen (and get a free drink!).
With its small close-knit community, the College has a very good support network and it really is safe to say that no one gets lost in the system. Many of the staff live on site, and eat and socialise regularly with the students, which enables them to get to know them on an individual basis and provide support where needed. This is also extended to partners and families living on site where necessary. Each student is also allocated a college advisor who checks in with them periodically and to whom they can go with any problems. There is also a dedicated Disability Lead and Coordinator for those who need support in that capacity. The Common Room President is also available to signpost the support available, within and outside of college.
Because of its small size, the College has just one Common Room, which is based on-site. This is run by a committee of students who organise many social activities, including quizzes, film viewings, gin tastings, pub trips, games nights, charitable events, black tie jazz evenings and more. The college bar is run by students, for students, as such means that there is great scope for influencing what is stocked! It is open at specific times, such as before and after formal dinners and Sunday lunches. It used to run on a tab system, but is currently adapting to be able to take card payment.
You might also want to take a look at the official college website.