200 local children to graduate in life skills from UWE Bristol's Children's University

Issue date: 13 July 2016

Children's University

Mini-mortarboards will be at the ready as local school children get the opportunity to celebrate their achievements and graduate in true university style from the Children's University (CU) at two ceremonies held at Bristol Cathedral on Friday (15 July).

The West of England Children's University is just one of the many initiatives run by UWE Bristol to encourage and inspire local children to achieve their full potential. The Children's UniversityTM programme aims to take education beyond the confines of the classroom, engaging with children from aged five to 14 and their families through a range of out of school hours' activities. These are designed in collaboration with member schools and learning destinations to demonstrate the real-world relevance of subjects studied at school, exciting children about the opportunities education can present with the objective of tackling underachievement which prevents many children from realising their ambitions.

Hosted by UWE Bristol, these celebration events will see 200 children aged five to 14 from 16 schools across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset take part in their very own graduation, complete with robes and mortarboards.

Professor Steve West, UWE Bristol's Vice-Chancellor, will be the guest speaker at the event. Jane Harrington, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Jo Midgley, Pro Vice-Chancellor, and Shawn Sobers, Associate Professor, will form the procession and present awards to the children.

Jo said, “This is one of a range of initiatives through which UWE is working with partners and schools to help inspire young people to progress to further and higher education. Our aim is to help young people progress to develop the higher skills they will need to enjoy successful careers and futures.”

The ceremony is the fourth for children in Bristol schools and the second for children from schools in South Gloucestershire. This year also sees the first children from schools in North Somerset recognised for their achievements.

Di Stone, West of England Children's University Manager at UWE Bristol, hopes the ceremony will be a proud moment in the lives of the children and their families and will raise awareness amongst head teachers, local authorities, community organisations and employers regarding the benefits to children of taking part in the project.

She said, “For a child, being part of the Children's University means that they have access to a wide variety of amazing learning destinations, activities and experiences that they may not have previously known exist. When children visit venues outside of school time, and take part in approved activities, they collect stamps in a passport which count towards their graduation. West of England Children's University is fully funded and supported by UWE Bristol which also hosts its own annual award ceremonies at Bristol Cathedral.”

The Children's University is an educational organisation that aims to promote social mobility by providing high quality, exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences outside normal school hours to children aged seven to 14 (and five and six year olds with their families) and engaging the wider communities as learning partners in the realisation of this. At the heart of its work is the ambition to raise aspirations, boost achievement and foster a love of learning, so that young people can make the most of their abilities and interests, regardless of background. Although open to all, the CU aims particularly to reach children and young people facing socio-economic and educational disadvantage through the targeting of grants to, and the promotion of activities in, areas of deprivation.

For more information on the work of the Children's University, click here.

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