"Children can only aspire to what they know exists ...!"
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 University of Birmingham.
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 Learning quality 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.
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.
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.”
Solihull Children’s University
Solihull Children’s University launched in May 2011 with the support of Birmingham Children’s University, following demand from schools mainly in the north of the county.
The University of Birmingham very kindly agreed to be the host for the first official Solihull Children’s University Graduation Ceremony in 2015.
The Solihull CU Chancellor is Professor Carl Chinn, MBE, Chair of Birmingham Community History, University of Birmingham.
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 members
“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!”
Helen O'Donnell - Chief Executive and Director of Partnerships
Helen joined Children's University in November 2015, having previously served as Chief Executive for the Cheshire Community Foundation (CCF). It was at CCF that Helen first encountered Children’s University by funding one of our local centres.
Helen has extensive experience in the third sector with a particular focus on education and helping young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds access educational opportunities. Most recently this involved acting as Head of Development at the University of Liverpool where she was responsible for securing charitable investments.
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:
Click here to visit their website: www.childrensuniversity.co.uk