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Children's university

Children’s University is an award scheme for children aged 5 - 14, that encourages, tracks and celebrates their participation in learning beyond the classroom.  

Children receive a Passport to Learning and they can collect credits, also known as stamps, for each activity they take part in. Credits can be given for taking part in learning experiences and activities at after school clubs, sports clubs, museums, activity centres, and music groups. This learning doesn't need to be purely academic - often it is focused towards developing the skills that may help children go to university in the future and many of the activities link with university subjects. 

Children can keep a log of everything they do, and each hour of participation takes them one step closer to their next certificate. 

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By the time a child turns 18, they will have spent just 9% of their waking life in a classroom. Children’s University is about making the most of the remaining 91%.  

Research shows that participation in extra-curricular activities can positively impact on attainment, increase a pupil’s positive association with school, and build self-confidence and resilience. Research also shows that children that do not have access to these opportunities fall behind, lack confidence, and fail to develop career aspirations. The resulting attainment gap is so significant that 25% of children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds achieve below expected attainment levels. 

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. 

Independent assessments of Children’s University work confirm that not only do Children’s University participants attain more highly but that there is a positive correlation between the length of time children are involved with Children’s University activities and their performance in exams. 

Key outcomes we want for every child 

We want every child that takes part in Children’s University to feel 

  • That learning can be fun, aspirational, and lifelong 

  • They have enjoyed a range of new learning experiences and are motivated to keep learning in different ways 

  • They have grown in confidence and self-belief 

  • They have a broader range of essential skills in line with the Skills Builder Framework 

  • They are empowered to make positive choices about their future 

  • They can better cope with the challenges that life throws at them 

  • They are celebrated for their commitment to learning by their family, school, and community 

Contact the Children's University Team

The Children's University team can provide information about all aspects of the programme. If we don't have the answer, we can put you in touch with someone who does.

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2024

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021