The College traces its immediate origins back to 1948 when osteopathy sought to re-establish itself after the war. Even from these early beginnings, the grouping together of individuals from varied backgrounds and experiences proved to be a feature and strength, just as it is today.
A two-year Diploma course was introduced in 1961 aimed at mature students working in the medical field, and a professional body was established that later came to be known as The College of Osteopaths.
In 1978 Joseph Goodman, a graduate of the BCNO, was appointed Dean of the College and the Diploma in Osteopathy course was developed further. It retained its mature student focus, spurred on by the popularity and success of the Open University and its targeting of adult learners.
Following the 1988 report on osteopathic education prepared by the British Accreditation Council, the then president of the College, Jane Langer, became one of the few osteopaths involved with the King's Fund Working Party on Osteopathy (1989-1991). Significant developments that followed were the Osteopaths Act (1993) and the formation of the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) in which Jane Langer remained active until 2006.
In 1997, the Diploma course offered by the College was validated by Middlesex University as a five-year BSc (Hons) programme of study. In 2001 under the guidance of the then Principal, Caroline Stone, the course gained Recognised Qualification (RQ) status.
During 2002-03 the College provided an RQ programme of training for those who had been unable to enter the GOsC's register of practitioners. Graduates were awarded a Certificate in Osteopathic Competence and were subsequently able to register. In 2005 the Principal, Mark Lawrence, then sought to redress the geographical inequity in training provision by launching a pioneering programme in Staffordshire - the only one of its kind in the northern half of England. The BSc (Hons) programme was successfully validated by Keele University in 2005 and subsequently gained RQ status in 2008. The College of Osteopaths therefore became unique amongst Osteopathic Education Institutions by offering a pathway into the profession from the north and south of the country.
Our current Principal, Pat Hamilton, a graduate of the London School of Osteopathy, brings her expertise in science education and social science research together with valuable experience of partnership work in the higher education sector. Pat has steered the College's curriculum to the cutting edge of professional developments by introducing a strong business and employability strand, and extending the focus on research skills to all levels of the programme. This innovative part-time M.Ost programme, validated by Middlesex University and praised by peer reviewers, is to be introduced for the London-based students in September 2010 and for Staffordshire students in 2011.
The College is justly proud of its historical emergence and the active role it has played in shaping the development of the osteopathic profession. To this day the College ethos, the staffing profile and the programmes we offer reflect the diversity and expertise that has been harnessed over the years. We remain committed to widening access to osteopathic practice so that talented individuals of all ages can fulfil their potential, and our unique 100% part-time pathways into the profession reflect the long history of innovation and inclusiveness on which the College has built its reputation.