What is the Children's
The Children's University is an international charity that
provides all 7 to 14 year olds (and 5 to 6 year olds with their
families) with access to exciting and innovative CU Learning
Activities and experiences outside the normal school
Our work is developed and delivered through local CU Centres,
situated across the United Kingdom and more recently overseas.
What is a local CU Centre?
There are just under 100 local CU Centres in the United Kingdom.
You will find details of your local CU Centre and their
contact details here.
Is there a cost involved?
Yes, we believe that everyone who benefits should contribute and
will become members of the Children's University, whether as a
national member of CU Trust, a Child Member, Membership as
a School/Academy, a Higher Education
Partner or a Learning
What is the cost of Child
The cost of CU Membership for each child is £5 for which each
- A CU Passport to Learning
- Access to CU Learning Activities provided by CU
quality assured Learning Destinations.
- Participation in a Children's University Graduation ceremony
where they will receive a Children's University certificate,
dressed traditionally in a graduation cap & gown, with an
invitation to parents/carers to attend.
Membership is renewed each time a new Passport to
Learning is required (on average we find this is once
every 18 months).
We recognise that for children from the lowest income families
this amount could be prohibitive. In these circumstances, please
speak to the school your child attends.
What is a CU Learning
Destination and what kind of activities are
CU Learning Activities?
CU Learning Destinations are places and
organisations that provide high quality CULearning
Activities. CU Learning
Activities are activities that have been quality approved
by the Children's Univeristy. We validate any activity that
will enable children or young people to develop skills or
knowledge, as long as it relates to a subject that can be studied
further in Higher Education.
A local CU Centre may offer art, astronomy or drama, music or
maths, science or sport, philosophy, poetry or photography, or any
combination of these and other subjects according to the expertise
Children's University learning provision can be in any subject
which can be studied as part of a degree programme at a UK
university, as exemplified onwww.ucas.ac.uk/students/coursesearch/ .
Is participation recognised and
Yes. We celebrate achievement and reward participation
through the award of Children's University certificates.
Raising children's aspirations is important to us and we aim
to develop the understanding that learning can be the
'satellite system to better places in life.'
What the benefits to my child?
Through participation in fun, high quality learning experiences,
we aim to grow inquisitive, confident, independent children and
learners. It's about enjoyment and a sense of achievement for
all. Membership to the Children's University provides each
child with access to a great range of quality assurance learning
Why are there two passports - a 'real' one and a
The 'real', hard copy Passport To Learning remains the
essential element in a child's journey
to independent learning and is highly valued by children, as
the 2010-11 independent evaluation found. The 'virtual'
E-Passport enhances but does not replace the hard copy
passport. Although it is very important that the
E-Passport is child-friendly, one of its most important
features is its use as an administrative and management tool at
school and local CU level.
Can I have one and not the other?
As the 'virtual' passport is an enhancement of and not a
replacement for the 'real' one, children can have the hard copy
Passport To Learning without the local Children's
University or schools engaging with the E-Passport. Local
CUs or schools cannot have the E-Passport
without already having hard copies of the Passport To
Learning in use.
How do I set up a new Children's University
In the first instance you should contact the Children's
University head office for a discussion and advice. In the
meantime, you can find out more about the Children's University
through the various sections on this website. You can also discover
more about existing CU centres, where they are and what they do:
existing centres will be more than happy to have an informal chat
How do I become a member?
You will become a member of the Children's University once the
CU Membership Agreement form has been signed and your
membership payment has been received.
How much does membership cost and what do I get in
Membership fees for local Children's Universities in the
British Isles were introduced in April 2009.
The membership charges were agreed by the CU
Trust following consultation with local CU centres. Annual
membership charges are as follows:
(£ per annum)
Beginner CU; no children; status for a maximum of one year
Small organisation such as a schools/academies
collaborative of between 1 and 10 schools.
Medium sized lead-organisation such as further education
institution, small unitary local authority working with a number of
between 11 and 50 schools.
Large organisation such as a higher education
institution, local authority working with a number of
between 51 and 200 schools.
Local authority or other very large organisation working with
number of between 200 and 350 schools.
Very large local authority working with more than 350
Annual CU membership gives local CUs:
Possible access to project funding for start-up, expansion and
Validation of learning (Planning for Learning)
QiSS quality assurance (Planning for
Annual CU Conference
National and regional CU Managers' meetings
Training by CU Trust and partners
Research and evaluation through Leadership for Learning
Partnerships and networks at a national and local level
A partner in a national voice for out-of-hours learning
What about quality assurance?
The CU is in partnership with QiSS (Quality in Study Support).
There is an expectation on local Children's Universities that they
will achieve the first of three recognition stages ('Emerged')
within the first year of membership. This CU process is known
as Planning for Excellence and quality assures local
Children's Universities organisationally.
Planning for Learning is a framework for validating the
quality of learning developed with Professor John MacBeath of the
University of Cambridge: the copyright is owned by the CU Trust. CU
trained validators will validate all learning provision and can
award the CU's Learning Destination status to both
external providers and schools. For schools, Learning
Destination status may form part of the evidence in
their Self Evaluation Form linked to OfSTED inspections.
External providers such as museums, libraries, discovery centres,
galleries and sports clubs seeking Learning Destination
status should contact their nearest local CU.
Children aged 7-14 who are members of the CU can use their
Passport To Learning in validated Learning
Destinations to work towards CU certificates awarded through
their local Children's University.
What funding is available? How do I apply for
Funding may be available from the Children's University. Funding
is available to help start up a new local CU centre,
or to help expand an existing CU centre. The funding period is
12 months and sustainability post the funding period is a key
criteria. The first point of contact must always be the Children's
University head office for an initial discussion.