University of Plymouth launches combined Devon and Cornwall Children’s University

The University of Plymouth is hoping to inspire young people across Cornwall to try new experiences after taking over the management of the county’s Children’s University.

Having supported the organisation for a number of years, the University has now taken on the licence to oversee its work throughout Cornwall.

The move complements its role as coordinator of the Children’s University in Devon, which has more than 80 schools and hundreds of young people participating every year.

In Cornwall, there are around 25 schools presently enrolled with the Children’s University but it is now hoped to expand that number to increase the range of opportunities on offer to young people.

Now working as the Devon and Cornwall Children’s University, the initiative is managed by specialists within the Widening Participation department at the University of Plymouth.

Charlotte True, Children’s University Manager for Devon & Cornwall, said:

“I believe this is good news for the University and for young people and schools across Cornwall and Devon. It will enable us to work to inspire more pupils across the South West, supporting them on the first steps of their university journeys. It also reinforces our support of the Children’s University initiative, and we recognise the outstanding learning opportunities and experiences it can offer young people.”

The Children’s University is an international critically-acclaimed charity which encourages all children aged five to 14 years to try new experiences, develop new interests and acquire new skills through learning outside of the school day.

Its activities are designed to raise aspiration, self-esteem and confidence, encourage curiosity and a love of learning, enhance motivation and build resilience, introduce new life experiences and offer progression in learning and personal skills development.

When young people sign up to become members of their local Children’s University they receive a Passport to Learning. The more they then learn the greater reward they earn, starting with a Bronze Award for 30 hours of activities up to a Gold Fellowship Award for 1,000 hours.

Children’s University Devon

With your Passport to Learning, you can collect stamps, awards and badges to wear to school.

Children’s University is an amazing project where you can get rewarded for having fun!

Find out more about the Children's University

Our commitments

Plymouth University has a regional, national and international reputation for its widening participation (WP) work. Our commitment is reflected in the University's ambition, 'raising aspiration and driving engagement', outlined in the University's Strategy 2020.

Our approach to WP is articulated in our interim Widening Participation Strategic Statement (WPSS) for 2012-13 and 2013-14 and embodied in our Access Agreements. It's a targeted approach focused on groups who are and have been historically under-represented in higher education. The strategy focuses primarily on three priority target groups, those disadvantaged by:

  • socio-economic class
  • disability
  • childhood experience in care. 

Our broader strategy also embraces work related to age, gender and racial equality. In addition it provides for locally based higher education provision in the South West through a large portfolio of higher education level courses available within our partner college network.

Policy and reports

The University's updated interim Widening Participation Strategic Statement (WPSS) for 2012-13 and 2013-14 was submitted to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in April 2013.

The University's Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory (PedRIO) has produced a Horizon Scanning Report: Widening Participation. The report includes:

  • a review of literature
  • examples of good practice throughout the full range of WP activities from outreach, induction and retention to employability.