The University of Northampton played host to the Northamptonshire Children’s University Summer Graduation ceremony on Tuesday 1 July, which saw over 100 young people receive certificates for their participation in learning activities outside of the normal school curriculum.
The Children’s University is part of the University’s schools engagement offering and has partnered with 40 schools throughout the county to support and celebrate learning participation through after-school clubs, sports clubs, arts clubs and tourist attractions for five to 14-year-olds. At the heart of the Children’s University is a focus on rewarding participation, raising aspirations, boosting achievement and encouraging a love of learning.
The activities can be delivered after school, at the weekends and during the school holidays and are delivered by many learning providers from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors.
Each child that joins the scheme receives a Passport to Learning to record their learning hours and once they complete a minimum of 30 hours, they are invited to an Undergraduate Graduation Ceremony. To encourage them to progress, the scheme also offers a Postgraduate level (430 to 800 hours) and a Doctorate Level (830 – 1,000 hours).
Tim Hodey, the Children’s University Lead at the University of Northampton, commented: “Children love being part of the Children’s University as it gives them an opportunity to express themselves and develop in a way that suits their needs at that point in their life. It is more than a huge range of non-curricula activities that children do outside of school; it is a movement that inspires, encourages and excites children to improve and develop a lifelong love of learning.
“Parents love being part of the Children’s University as it provides their children with an opportunity to gain confidence, learn new things and above all enjoy themselves. They also love the fact that participation in CU activities significantly improves school attendance and levels of attainment as well as raising aspirations and providing a greater awareness both of future educational and career options.
“Schools love being part of the Children’s University as it provides an ideal method through which to develop and manage a range of learning activities, clubs and projects that children love and that have been proven to improve attainment and attendance. In addition it provides ideal CPD opportunities for Teachers and support staff as well as being highly valued by Ofsted who see participation as a key factor in the overall effectiveness of schools.”