Children can only aspire to what they know exists

"I welcome the aspirational ethos of the Birmingham Children's University. It is encouraging that any child across the city can experience this. The diversity of the extra-curricular opportunities available in our communities is remarkable. The museums, country parks, libraries, local businesses and music services involved all add a richness to the children's lives. Together the University raises the confidence and attainment of our youth."

- Andy Street, CBE, MD of John Lewis Partnership



What is Children's University?

Children and young people aged 5 – 14 years old become members of Children’s University™, an (inter)national initiative which focuses on creating an excitement about learning through innovative learning activities and experiences outside normal school hours. We reward their participation in voluntary learning activities that will develop their skills and raise aspirations for the future.

How does it work?

It’s all about the Children’s University Passport to Learning! For every hour of voluntary, extra-curricular learning that is Children’s University validated, children and young people will receive a credit (in the form of a stamp in their Passports to Learning). These credits lead to staged certificates and CU Graduation Ceremonies at Aston University or Newman University.


The second independent National CU Trust™ Evaluation evidences that:

“Children’s University pupils attend better by virtue of the activities which enhance their school experience … achieve better by virtue renewed self-confidence in their own potential … enjoy learning more because they extend their repertoire of interests and see learning in a new light.”

View the latest National Evaluation >



Celebrating Achievements!

Celebrating learning is at the heart of the Children’s University. The use of the word ‘University’ is intended to inform and inspire children and young people. There are Bronze, Silver and Gold CU Certificates at CU Graduate, CU Postgraduate and CU Doctorate levels going all the way up to 1,000 hours of learning!

At certain levels, the children and young people have the opportunity to experience a University campus, wear the mortar board and gown, are presented with their award and have an official photograph taken. All watched by their families, school staff and special guests.




Learning Destinations

Learning Destinations are places and organisations which provide high quality learning opportunities and activities. These are validated by the Children’s University™ using the national CU Trust’s Planning for Learningquality assurance national framework.

There are two main types of Learning Destinations:

1. Restricted Learning Destinations

Restricted Learning Destinations are not publicly accessible, such as schools and clubs which have restricted membership conditions.

2. Public Learning Destinations

Public Learning Destinations are publicly accessible and advertise to a wider audience, e.g. Museums, Libraries, Outdoor Education Centres, Scout & Girl Guide groups, Sports Centres and many more.

Click here to see a map of the ‘public’ Learning Destinations.


Quality Award

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded with the Quality in Study Support (QiSS) Award. For more information on this nationally recognised Award, please click here

Birmingham Children's University

The Children’s University in the United Kingdom began as a Saturday school project in Birmingham in the early 1990s. It was instigated by Professor Sir Tim Brighouse and Sir David Winkley, then Chief Education Officer and Head Teacher, and supported by the King Edward Foundation.

Since then, thousands of children from across the City have been and are part of this aspirational scheme.  

In June 2012, the Birmingham CU Trust was formed and registered with Companies House (Company no: 8111554).

Our partner Universities:

Aston University have very kindly hosted the annual Children’s University Graduation Ceremonies for many years. We are proud to announce that the 2016 official CU Graduation Ceremony  Guest speaker will be Mr Andy Street, MD of John Lewis Partnership.  

Newman University is an official CU Learning Destination offering exciting modules of activity to pupils from locally registered CU schools on campus.  The activities have been developed by students supported by the Early Childhood Education and Care team.  Newman University are kindly hosted their first CU Graduation Ceremony in July 2016.

Anita Bhalla

The Birmingham CU Chancellor is Prof. Anita Bhalla

Anita is currently Chair of Performances Birmingham Ltd (Town Hall and Symphony Hall), Chair of the Creative City Partnership, Board member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and recent past Chair of MAC (Midlands Arts Centre).

Anita is also a Trustee on the National CU Trust™ Board

‘Newman University was delighted to host our first Graduation Ceremony with the wonderful Children’s University. Such events clearly inspire more girls and boys to aspire to higher education and this is exactly what Newman wants to achieve for our local communities by opening our doors so children can experience what a University is really like.’ - Peter Childs, Pro Vice Chancellor

We have appointed the first ‘Birmingham CU Young Chancellor', Lauren Williams (Birmingham Young Poet Laureate 2014)

Meet the Birmingham Advisory Board...

Central Children’s University (CU Trust)

In this area, the Children's University Centres in Coventry, Birmingham, Solihull, Warwickshire and Worcestershire are all working together. The aim is to create a regional 'CU Centre of Excellence' which will ultimately lead to an increase in the number and variety of opportunities for local children and young people.

The Central CU Trust is registered as a Charity (no: 1160033) and is kindly supported by The drb Group Ltd as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.

Meet the Central CU Trust board...

Simon Pearson, Headteacher at Wembrook Primary School, Nuneaton.

Simon Pearson, Headteacher at Wembrook Primary School, Nuneaton.

“From my experience Children University does make a difference. It can inspire children to complete a range of modules, culminating in a CU degree. It can give them the confidence and belief that a university degree in the future is just not for other people, it can be for them as well!”

Sofina Islam OBE, Headteacher at Stanton Bridge Primary School, Coventry.

Sofina Islam OBE, Headteacher at Stanton Bridge Primary School, Coventry.

"CU is life changing. It inspires the most vulnerable children, giving them hope, a platform of experience from which they can weave their dreams and turn them into passionate goals for a better future. That is why, I choose to advocate CU to our children as an educator."

Rob Bowater, CEO, The drb Group.

Rob Bowater, CEO, The drb Group.

Paul Kilgallon, Headteacher at St Barnabus C of E First & Middle School, Worcestershire.

Paul Kilgallon, Headteacher at St Barnabus C of E First & Middle School, Worcestershire.

Lee Fletcher, CTC Kinghurst Academy, Solihull.

Lee Fletcher, CTC Kinghurst Academy, Solihull.

Kevin McCabe, Headteacher, Jervoise Primary School, Birmingham

Kevin McCabe, Headteacher, Jervoise Primary School, Birmingham

National Children’s University (CU) Trust

With a network of 90 National Children's University Centres and a growing International network in South Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, together with plans to extend our work to China and Tasmania, CU Trust™ are working within local communities to encourage all children, but particularly those who need it most, to participate, voluntarily, in a variety of Learning Activities, delivered by our Learning Destination partners.

The CU Trust™ launched in April 2007 and is based in The Royal College of Music, Manchester. The latest Annual Review can be viewed here:


View Children's University Trust Annual Review 2015 >


Click here to visit their website: