Children's University celebrates its stars

Youngsters have celebrated their achievements in style at the annual Devon and Torbay Children’s Universities (CU) graduation ceremonies.

Held at Plymouth University last month, dozens of five to 14-year-olds from all over the county received their gold award after completing 100 hours of out-of-school learning. From Scouts to swimming and crafts to climbing, they all accumulated their hours through a number of different activities and organisations.

The special ceremonies saw each child fitted with a cap and gown, before going onstage to collect their certificate from the Devon and Torbay CU chancellors, geologist and BBC presenter, Professor Iain Stewart and children’s author David Lawrence Jones, respectively.

The children and their families also enjoyed post-event refreshments and photographs outside Rolle marquee, on the main Plymouth campus.

Professor Stewart said that the events were fantastic and provided a perfect opportunity for children to expand their horizons.

“It was so great to see the kids on campus,” he said. “Universities might look dull on the outside, but inside they are such exciting places, full of energy and with lots of amazing things going on in strange laboratories and ordinary-looking offices. It was wonderful to share some of that sense of excitement and discovery with our young graduands: to let them see that the University is a place that they would enjoy themselves and develop their individual potential.”

The Children’s University initiative started as a Saturday school project in Birmingham in the early 1990s, and has grown to offer a variety of out-of-school hours learning experiences to children all over the country. Pupils are issued with a Passport to Learning in which they collect stamps for every hour of informal (outside the classroom) learning that they do. Certificates are awarded for bronze and silver levels locally and gold certificates are presented at larger, centralised events.

Schools which took part in the Devon CU graduation: Bere Alston, Bickleigh Down, Gulworthy, Hatherleigh, Horrabridge, Lamerton Primary, Lydford, Princetown School, Oke College, Oke Primary, Oldway Primary School, South Tawton, St Peter’s Tavistock, Tavistock Community Primary.

Schools which took part in the Torbay CU graduation: Brixham C of E, Curledge Street Academy School, Shiphay Learning Academy, Torre C of E.