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St John's College

Welfare and Support

Durham is a wonderful place with rich opportunities to fulfil your potential. However, it is by no means unusual for some welfare needs to arise during a student’s time at Durham. Indeed, student life isn’t always plain sailing and there are stressful situations that you are very likely to be encountering for the first time. This includes financial, medical and emotional situations that may affect your ability to meet your academic commitments and achieve your best. There are, however, lots of ways we can help including the provision of information you need together with non-judgmental support and advice.

St John’s College and the University take the role of promoting the well-being of all our students very seriously and there is a wide range of support available to ensure that time spent here is enjoyable and rewarding. This support is provided both within the College, by University services and also external agencies.

Jeanna Spencer, Assistant Senior Tutor talks to a student

At St John’s we pride ourselves on our caring community and our excellent, multi-layered student support system that aims to provide every student with someone to whom you can turn to for support and advice as the need arises. The principal contacts for welfare and pastoral support are the Senior Tutor, Dr Rebecca Bouveng, and the Assistant Senior Tutor, Jeanna Spencer, both of whom can help you with any issue, including helping you get in touch with the right people. The College Chaplain, Reverend Susie Thorp, is part of the pastoral support network in College and is available to all students (regardless of faith commitment) to discuss personal, spiritual and other matters in confidence.

We recognise that you may not want to discuss a problem with a senior member of staff so we also have a SJCR Student Welfare Team who provide peer support. The team, which provides a confidential and impartial service including regular drop-in sessions, is led by the Welfare Officer who is elected annually. He or she works closely with the Senior Tutor and Assistant Senior Tutor.

Four postgraduates make up our Resident Tutor team whose role is to provide help and support between the hours of 22:45 and 08:45 throughout the year. Resident Tutors are managed by the Senior Tutor and are an important part of the College's welfare system.

On arrival at John’s, every undergraduate is assigned a Pastoral Tutor who can act as a first point of contact if you are facing difficulties. Our 25 or so Pastoral Tutors include senior postgraduates, academics, members of University staff and professionals from the North East. The role of the Pastoral Tutor is to check on your well-being and offer advice if needed; help you think about employment options; help you achieve your best and help you reflect on your academic progress and your personal development. The relationship between student and Pastoral Tutor is two-way in that you are expected to engage with him or her in a professional but friendly manner and to respond to invitations to meet on a regular basis.

It’s important that you appreciate that your Pastoral Tutor is not an academic advisor – you will be allocated the latter through your department.

If as a prospective student you would like to discuss a support issue before you come to St John's College, please contact

Order a prospectus

Durham University's Undergraduate Prospectus for 2017 entry is now available to order or you can view our full, interactive version online.

Meet a student

The reason I love St John's College is that it functions like a family. Being a small community there is a unity between the years and across friendship groups, which helps to create a welcoming and friendly dynamic. There is something for everyone: with bountiful sports teams, societies, music groups and theatre companies, John's is a place where each individual is recognised and celebrated for what they bring to the table. The college itself is charming - an idyllic row of houses in prime location along the Bailey - it truly feels and looks like a home. I adore the sense of college spirt, and am honoured to be part of such a lively, diverse, yet close-knit community. 

Flo, BA Theology

St John's College, Durham is a recognised College of Durham University and incorporates Cranmer Hall. Charity No. 1141701 Limited Company No. 113496 (England and Wales) VAT No. 334 6364 57.