The difference we make
Children who participate in Children’s University have the opportunity to learn in a rich range of contexts, experience new places, visit universities and attend their own graduation ceremonies. This adventure introduces children to the joy of learning, brings a sense of wonder in the world around them and develops their confidence and aspirations for the brightest futures. We know what we do works and has an incredible impact on the lives of children. It’s not just us saying this.
Children’s University evaluations
State of the Nation: Evidence and impact of the importance of learning beyond the classroom in 2021
Two years after launching our digital platform, Children’s University Online (CUO), the insights we’ve collected from over 22,000 children’s participation in more than 8,000 activities has informed our first ever State of the Nation Report. Everything we know from CUO has been collated visually, alongside all we know about why learning beyond the classroom matters.
Nesta, University of Sussex and Skills Builder: The impact of Children’s University on the development of essential skills in children
In 2021 Children’s University published the results of a research project into the impact of Children’s University on the development of essential skills in children aged 11+. Funded by Nesta and supported by the University of Sussex, results from the project showed a direct link between participation in Children’s University and the use and improvement in essential skills development in line with the Skills Builder Framework. This is the first time that Children’s University can accurately illustrate and quantify the impact that our programme has on skills development.
EEF - Children's University Evaluation
In 2017 the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) released an evaluation of Children's University. Like us, their fundamental mission is to ensure that the education of young people offers a level playing field that enables each and every child to aspire, attain, and succeed.
Designed to assess the efficacy of extracurricular activities in increasing attainment and providing important life skills and attitudes, the project’s positive feedback serves to reiterate our firmly held belief in the worth and importance of learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Results showed that children participating in Children’s University made 2 months additional progress in maths and reading at KS2. For those on Free School Meals this was 3 months.
UFA Young Researchers and Evaluators - Children's University Evaluation
In October 2017, Children’s University had the pleasure of being evaluated by a group of our participants as part of the University of the First Age’s Young Researchers and Evaluators programme.
Utilising child-led, hands-on research, the evaluation was conducted by UFA's youngest ever researchers, providing them with invaluable research, analysis, and evaluation skills as well as acting as a vital opportunity for us to hear directly from our beneficiaries.
The Cambridge Network
In 2012 an independent evaluation of the work of the Children’s University was undertaken by ‘Leadership for Learning – The Cambridge Network’ led by Professor John MacBeath of the University of Cambridge in partnership with Fischer Family Trust. This recognised that “Children's University pupils attend better by virtue of the activities which enhance their school experience … achieve better by virtue of renewed self-confidence in their own potential … enjoy learning more because they extend their repertoire of interests and see learning in a new light.”
Sheffield Children’s University – How does it make a difference?
Each year Sheffield Children’s University analyses the impact of Children’s University participation in Sheffield. This report provides an analysis of results in Sheffield comparing academic performance in Key Stage 2 SATS taken in year 6 at primary school, and Key Stage 4 GCSE’s taken in year 11 with participation in Children’s University activities. Year on year, results of this analysis have continually shown a clear link between participation in Children’s University and achievement and attendance at school.
The University of Wolverhampton Children’s University
The University of Wolverhampton Children’s University - formerly known as ‘Black Country Children’s University (BCCU) – published an evaluation report in September 2018 by Tiller Research. Reporting on quantitative results alongside results gathered through discussion groups, the report highlighted the impact of Children’s University participation on children’s views of university, aspirations, attitude to learning and confidence and self-esteem.
As well as our own evaluations, there are plenty of external reports that reinforce the importance of what we do and the impact of extra-curricular activities.
Social Mobility Commission - An Unequal Playing Field
In 2019, the Social Mobility commission published An unequal playing field: extra-curricular activities, soft skills and social mobility. It is a report that highlights disparities in children’s participation rates across a wide range of extra-curricular activities depending on their social background. It is full of information that completely reinforces and evidences why what we all do is so important.
The Sutton Trust – Life Lessons: Improving essential life skills for young people
In October 2017 The Sutton Trust released a report by Carl Cullinane and Rebecca Montacute that highlighted the importance of extra-curricular activities for equipping children with the life skills they need. It stressed that giving young people from all backgrounds a greater opportunity to develop those skills can be an engine for opportunity and social mobility. This is what Children’s University aims to do.
NatCen – Out of school activities and the education gap
NatCen are Britain’s largest independent social research agency. Together with Newcastle University and with funding from The Nuffield Foundation, they published a number of reports investigating how out of school activities help children's learning. They investigated how involvement in different types of activities varies for 5 to 11 year olds from different backgrounds and what this means for their educational achievement.