The history of the School from 1936 to 1996 is contained in Dr Noel
Gibbard’s book: “Taught to Serve: The History of Barry and Bryntirion
Colleges” (1996) (Bryntirion Press). There was a connection with the
1904-05 Welsh Revival in that one of the leaders, Rev R B Jones of the
Rhondda Valley established a Bible institute in Porth and employed Rev B
S Fidler as one of his tutors. It was this same man who established a
Bible College in Barry, 10 miles west of Cardiff, in 1936 - a few years
after the death of Rev R B Jones. It was originally called the Barry
School of Evangelism and was evangelical and interdenominational but did
not embrace reformed teaching until the 1960s, particularly when Rev
John Waite was appointed and it became an interdenominational free Bible
school. The qualification achieved by both male and female students was
its own Bible study diploma.
Bridgend – Evangelical Theological College of Wales (ETCW) (1985-2006)
The Evangelical Theological College of Wales was formed as a new
independent Bible college in 1984 and became functional in September
1985 at Bryntirion House, Bridgend. Dr D Eryl Davies took up his
appointment then and became Principal. ETCW had its genesis in
discussions between the trustees of the South Wales Bible College, Barry
and the Evangelical Movement of Wales. In response to demand, a
research degree was made available in 1988 and a Diploma in Higher
Education (1992) and BA (Hons) (1993) course in Theological Studies, all
validated by the University of Glamorgan. The Master of Theology (MTh)
course was introduced in 1996 and the MA in Pastoral Studies in 2000.
In 1999 the BA course became available by distance learning. The
College’s own teaching staff devised, wrote, taught and assessed all the
courses taught, subject to external moderation. In time all theological degree courses were validated by the University of Wales, Lampeter. In 1985-86 there were 22 students. By 2004-05 there were 130.
Bridgend – Wales Evangelical School of Theology (WEST) (2006-)
Dr Eryl Davies retired as Principal in 2005 (and took up the post of
Head of Research). The new Principal was Rev Jonathan Stephen. The
following year the name change took place – WEST was more memorable and
"School" worked better internationally than "College". The Binary Course (Graduate Diploma and MA Theology in Contemporary Church Leadership) was introduced in 2007. The School has continued to grow and in 2009-10 had 170 students.