Engaging Students with the Local Community: Children’s University at Newman University
Children’s University is an international, critically acclaimed, extra-curricular programme which aims to promote social mobility by taking learning outside the classroom. It provides 7-14 year olds with access to exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences outside the normal school day. Achievement is celebrated and rewarded through the award of National Certificates. Children are issued with a passport to learning which records the hours of learning, working towards the presentation of a Children’s University Award at a graduation ceremony. The aim of Children's University is to:

• Raise children’s aspirations, self esteem and confidence

• Encourage curiosity and a love of learning

• Enhance motivation and build resilience

• Improve life experiences

Newman University became a Learning Destination for local primary schools in 2013.

For more information, contact Jane Beniston - Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) Course Coordinator

What does the scheme entail?

Students from across a range of subject areas at Newman have planned a range of activities based on either children’s interests or to support themes undertaken in the classroom. Children have experienced a treasure hunt, sports activities, undertaken activities related to the Tudors, the Romans, Superheroes and children have also solved a crime! These opportunities have enabled students to understand how to work with children and the scheme has also generated much enthusiasm from the children who have got to know what it is like to be part of Newman University.The highlight of the year was the Children's University Graduation where over 200 children and 400 parents were invited to celebrate their children’s achievements in June 2016 and 2017

What support do you get from the University?

Children’s University has the full support of the Vice Chancellor, Pro Vice Chancellors and the Deans of Newman University who along with other academic staff participate in the graduation. Staff in subject areas such as Geography, Science, P.E, Maths and Early Childhood Education and Care engage with the Children’s University Coordinator to ensure a range of activities can be offered to the children.

What are the motivations behind the scheme?

The vision behind Children’s University is to inspire all young people, but particularly those who need it most, to discover innovative and creative learning outside the normal school day which boosts their self confidence and love of learning. Children are able to develop new interests and acquire new skills. Newman University was keen to be involved as a learning destination so that we could work both in partnership with students but also with Primary School settings.

Key benefits to the student

Through becoming involved in Children's University, students have the opportunity to become engaged in a scheme outside of the programme they are studying. It provides valuable, additional experience for those students who wish to go on to work with children once they have completed their degree and their involvement can contribute to their Higher Education Academic Record. It allows them to understand how activities can be planned so they are enjoyable, but also promote learning. Students have the chance to work with other students outside their subject area and to further develop professional relationships with academic staff, children and parents.

Key benefits to the University

For Newman University, Children’s University is an effective vehicle to further promote student engagement. In addition, it promotes widening participation as many of our students who come to Newman live locally to the university with 93% being classed as ‘commuter’ students. An overwhelming majority of students are from low to very low geographical areas which have the lowest participation in Higher Education.