Graduates as young as five donned their mortarboards and gowns to mark the end of another successful summer for Knowsley Children’s University.
More than 1,600 young people aged 5-14 took part in the three-week long Children’s University programme in June and July. The scheme organises fun and educational activities for children, designed to help them broaden their knowledge and skills while trying new hobbies and making friends. At the end of the programme the young people enjoy a graduation ceremony, hosted at Liverpool Hope University’s Childwall Campus.
“Our aim is to give young people a really fun and educational experience which helps them become enthusiastic learners for life,” explains Cllr Graham Wright, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services.
“The Children’s University allows them to try things they have never done before, meet young people from other schools and, above all, teaches them that learning opens up a world of opportunities that they might never have thought about before.
This year, children from 28 of Knowsley’s schools took part in the Children’s University, which started in 2008 and has grown in numbers every summer, now more than 3,000 children have graduated in total. It is expected that the number of Knowsley schools taking part next year will rise to 32.
Participating children receive different awards based on the number of hours of activity they take part in. The highest award presented this year was a gold degree for 400+ hours of extra curricular learning. Two children achieved this gold degree, Jamie Lee Waite from Eastcroft Park Primary School and Lucy Hughes from Malvern Community Primary School. Both have attended Children’s University for a number of years, enabling them to achieve this incredible amount of additional learning.
Children’s University is a national programme that aims to recognise and reward additional learning outside the classroom. At the heart of its work is the ambition to raise aspirations, boost achievement and foster a love of learning.
Earlier this year, Knowsley Children’s University gained accreditation from national organisation QiSS (Quality in Study Support and Extended Services), part of the Faculty of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University.
The QiSS recognition scheme focuses on the organisational and structural quality of a project, and how well it meets requirements such as safeguarding children.
One parent said: “I never went to University and I am so pleased that my daughter is now adamant that she is going, when she is older.”
Feedback from the schools whose pupils attend the Children’s University is equally as positive. Mrs Jan Cunningham, Head Teacher at St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Primary School in Halewood, said the graduation experience really helps raise pupils’ aspirations. “It’s a great day, the parents/carers love it and the children will remember it forever I’m sure.”
To learn more about Children’s University visit the national website www.childrensuniversity.co.uk .
Pictured top : Students from Huyton Arts and Sports Centre for Learning (right to left) Chloe Bell, Emily Gallie-Daly, Millie Wilson, Mia Livesey, Abbie Hancock and Rebbecca Pollock.and : Josh Hughes from The Sylvester Primary School in Huyton is presented with his graduation certificate by Mayor of Knowsley, Cllr Brian O’Hare.