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Introduction to Kent Children's University

Kent Children’s University celebrates children’s out-of-school achievement by encouraging and rewarding learning through engaging activities.

Children’s University is all about developing practical and personal skills, building confidence, and discovering new interests and talents beyond the classroom.

We believe that learning outside school plays a vital role in helping children's development as young learners, confident individuals, and responsible citizens - as well as being vital to their wider well-being. That is why we work hard to bring together a network of high-quality learning providers in the areas we work, and to engage and support children to take part.

When children join, they are given a Passport to Learning, together with a login for Children’s University Online.

Children and families use Children’s University Online to search for fun and enjoyable learning activities that take place outside normal school time. Activities range from trips to tourist destinations, music lessons, sessions in sports clubs, learning a language and much, much more. Families can also access a range of free or low-cost materials to complete at home, such as a number of seasonal Children’s University Challenges. The list of learning activities is growing so the opportunities are endless.

Children who participate in Children’s University can learn in a rich range of contexts at home or further afield, 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.

Key Features for Schools

  • Tried and tested programme, embedded in schools across the UK and around the world.
  • Linked with thousands of activity providers and venues across the country.
  • Full training and support to help schools maximise impact and sustain delivery.
  • Access to data and reporting on wider learning and achievement for your pupils.
  • Boosts family learning and supports parental engagement with school.

What is Children's University™?

The Children's University™ (CU) aims to promote exciting learning opportunities and experiences outside normal school hours for children aged 5 to 14. 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.

What is a Learning Destination?

Learning Destinations are places and organisations to which children can ‘travel’ with their Passport to Learning. They provide high quality learning activities and experiences with a ‘wow’ factor and have passed the Children’s University’s™ own quality assurance process. As well as being an after-school or holiday activity organised by the school, a Learning Destination can range from a museum to a farm, or from an airport to a school. There are Learning Destinations across the country.

Validated sites display Learning Destination signs to demonstrate that they have been Quality Assured by Children’s University.

You can find out more about them by visiting www.childrensuniversity.co.uk

Recognising and Rewarding Participation

Children’s University™ students use Passports to Learning, in which they record the number of hours of completed CU validated learning activities. Children are encouraged to progress through the national certification scheme, based on the number of hours of attendance throughout their involvement with the Children’s University™.

In Kent and Medway, children can earn Learning Credits in five ways:

  1. through their school's validated extra-curricular activities (if their school is part of Kent Children's University™)
  2. by visiting one of the many hundreds of Learning Destinations across the country. These can be accessed via the National Children's University's website
  3. by taking part in activities with organisations that are Validated Learning Partners. These Learning Partners can be found on the National Children’s University™ website too
  4. through completion of at-home tasks and challenges. These are promoted through the Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as the e-Newsletters
  5. looking to be re-established in 2022 by participating in a CU Live! lecture and workshop. These sessions are organised by Kent Children's University™ and are open to all children across the country. The activities would take place during the school holiday periods.

Information about past and future activities can be found through our social media channels and
e-Newsletters.

What Does a Children's University Graduation Ceremony Look Like?

Children’s University graduation ceremonies are held at real 'grown-up' universities. Children wear real caps and gowns as they step onstage to receive their awards and certificates. It is a great evening out for the children, their families, friends and teachers.

These are inspirational and memorable events that send a powerful message of encouragement to children and parents: if you enjoy doing something, and persevere at it, you can achieve great things!

Learning outside school plays a vital role in helping children's development as young learners, confident individuals, and responsible citizens - as well as being vital to their wider wellbeing. Children’s University works hard to bring together a network of high-quality learning providers in the local area and nationally, and to engage and support children to take part.

Regardless of how far a child progresses through awards, Children’s University recognises and celebrates the individual journey they took to get there: the commitment and perseverance they showed, their willingness to try new things, and the new skills and interests they built along the way.

What is Children's University Online?

Children’s University Online is our new digital platform that is a fun, safe, and secure online space for participants to record what they are doing. Children will be able to use this alongside their Passport to Learning, collecting Learning Credits in their passports that can then be posted online where they will unlock additional information about their activities.

When children take part in a Children’s University activity, they make a note of it in their Passport to Learning. Then they log-in to Children’s University Online to claim their digital Learning Credits. By adding their Learning Credits to Children's University Online children will unlock further information, showing them the interests and skills they are developing through participation. All children will have their very own dashboard which will help them see how they are progressing towards the next award level; reflect on the skills they are building and help them find new activities. There are also online-only exclusive badges that can be collected between graduations.

Why Become Involved with Kent Children's University?

Children’s University is a charity that works in partnership with schools and families to develop a love of learning in children. This is achieved by encouraging and celebrating participation in extra-curricular activities in and outside of school. An EEF evaluation has shown the impact of these activities leads to an additional two months of progress. This positive evidence is why Children’s University is a valuable tool in creating a level playing field of opportunity and opening-up access to children of all backgrounds.

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 identification with school, 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 can 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. Children’s University know what it does works and has an incredible impact on the lives of children.

For every child that takes part in Children’s University, we want the following outcomes:

  • feel they have grown in confidence and self-belief
  • enjoy new experiences, in new places and want to keep exploring
  • believe they have a broader range of essential skills
  • feel empowered to make positive choices about their future
  • see learning as fun, aspirational and lifelong
  • feel their eyes have been opened to a multiplicity of learning activities and opportunities
  • feel celebrated for their commitment to learning by their family, school and community.

What Does Kent Children's University Cost for a School to Join?

There is an annual payment of £300 to be made to Kent Children’s University through The Education People. The £300 covers the training, support, presentations to families and staff and materials etc. There is also a £5 per pupil Passport to Learning subscription. On average, a Passport to Learning can last 18 months so the £5 would not be an annual charge. You would only need to pay £5 again as and when you need new Passports for new cohorts or existing children:

How Can an Organisation Become a Learning Destination or Partner?

Children's University works closely with all kinds of learning providers and activity leaders to offer children the widest variety of opportunities. To offer a consistent quality of activities we undertake a quality assurance process to validate these opportunities to confirm they meet certain standards.

There are no fixed rules about what a Learning Destination or Partner looks like. Whether it is a brilliant arts charity that provides community experiences, a maths organisation that offers free learning activities children can complete at home, a tourist destination families can visit at the weekends or in holidays, or a leisure centre that provides countless opportunities for children to learn and grow their skills. If it involves learning for young people, we want to work with you.

This validation does not require the completion of an excessive amount of paperwork. It simply involves learning providers completing an online form and putting time aside to talk to one of our Children's University managers about what is on offer for children and ensuring that our organisations are aligned in our commitment to children.

If you are a learning provider and want to validate your activities for children, simply click the 'Get Involved' button below. You will be asked to do a quick eligibility check and then invited to submit information about your activity.

Kent Children's University Family Membership - 50% Discount Until the end of December 2021

Whilst Children’s University used to be a solely school-based programme, we opened it more widely to families, where a child’s school was not involved or if the child was electively home educated.

Working in partnership with Kent County Council’s Reconnect programme, we can offer children not involved with Children’s University through a school a discounted enrolled fee of £12.50 for the year.

When children join, they are given a Passport to Learning, together with a login for Children’s University Online.

Children and families use Children’s University Online to search for fun and enjoyable learning activities that take place outside normal school time. Activities range from trips to tourist destinations, music lessons, sessions in sports clubs, learning a language and much, much more. Families can also access a range of free or low-cost materials to complete at home, such as a number of seasonal Children’s University Challenges. The list of learning activities is growing so the opportunities are endless.

Children’s University is all about developing practical and personal skills, building confidence, and discovering new interests and talents beyond the classroom.

We believe that learning outside school plays a vital role in helping children's development as young learners, confident individuals, and responsible citizens - as well as being vital to their wider well-being. That is why we work hard to bring together a network of high-quality learning providers in the areas we work, and to engage and support children to take part.

Children who participate in Children’s University can learn in a rich range of contexts at home or further afield, 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.

Where might your family’s adventure with Kent Children’s University take you this year?

To purchase a 12-month membership to Kent Children’s University, please click on the purple button on the right.
Please note that due to this special offer, this is a temporary website solution to be able to pay for the membership easily.
You will notice that it is an Event Booking Portal. Please be reassured, you will not be booking an event on any day. You will simply be purchasing the 12-month membership through this portal.

Contact Kent Children's University

For more information please email [email protected]

(Please note that the KCU office is only open on Thursdays and Fridays, until March 2022)