This year’s Children’s University graduation ceremony, hosted by Southampton Solent University, has tripled in size since it was launched last year.
This weekend, 134 pupils from 12 schools across the region donned caps and gowns to take part in the Hampshire Children’s University graduation event – which is a collaboration between Solent University, Brockenhurst College and local schools.
The Children’s University (CU) is a nationwide programme that aims to engage, inspire, and motivate children aged from 7 to 14 years and 5 and 6 year olds with their families, to develop a passion for learning by offering them an exciting range of extra-curricular activities and events – from after-school activities on site, to visits to museums, businesses, exhibitions, sports activities and university lectures.
This innovative initiative aims to raise aspirations and inspire a love of learning for children from all backgrounds and abilities. It is also used to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds or those from families who might otherwise not think of further or higher education as an option.
Dr Jamie Mackay, Partnership Development Manager at Southampton Solent University said: “The fact that this event has grown since last year is a testament to the success of the programme and shows why it’s important to reach out to people from different backgrounds.”
The schools taking part included:
- St. Michael and All Angels CofE Infant School
- Netley March CofE Infant School
- Copythorne CofE Infant School
- Bartley Junior School
- Foxhills Infant School
- Blackfield Primary School
- Fawley Infant School
- Hounsdown Secondary School
- Hordle CofE Primary School
- Oaklodge Specialist Art College
- The New Forest Academy.
The graduates received a certificate from the local Children’s University Chancellor and Paralympics 2012 wheelchair rugby star, Aaron Phipps.
After completing a set number of hours of activity the pupils achieve different awards. Since September, some of the pupils have now completed over 200 hours of learning.
Fiona Adams, Headteacher at Hordle Primary School said: “We have over 25 clubs each term for our children to take part in and over 60% of our children participate. They love their out-of-hours learning and 260 club places are filled each week. Children’s University is an inspiring programme and over 100 of our pupils have signed up for a passport. We are thrilled that we have 35 children graduating; that’s a whopping 10% of our school in this first cohort. We are proud to be associated with the Children’s University and hope that our children’s aspirations for the future will be raised by this fantastic experience.”
Hampshire Children’s University was formerly the New Forest and Southampton Children’s University.
The Children’s University graduation ceremony was held on 21 June 2014, Guildhall Square, Southampton.