Over 45,000 children and young people from schools across the city have participated in the Sheffield Children’s University programme since it began in 2008. It is testament to its popularity with children and young people that CU now celebrates its 100th Gold awards ceremony.
The Children’s University is a national charity which works with schools to encourage participation in extra-curricular activities particularly with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Children attend special graduation ceremonies when they have reached a target number of activity hours.
Senior Project Officer for Sheffield Children’s University, Katie Hamshaw said “It has been hugely rewarding to see the programme grow and move forward. From the point when children start to collect CU credits at school as well as activity providers across the city through the Passport to Learning, to the day they receive an award in recognition of their completed out of school activities. CU makes a real difference to young people and their families.
“I am thrilled to be celebrating the 100th award ceremony for the Sheffield Children’s University programme this month. CU has gone from strength to strength since it started, seeing over 70,000 awards given and over 100 schools participating.
With activity well underway to expand across South Yorkshire as part Sheffield Hallam University’s South Yorkshire Futures project, it comes as no surprise that CU has attracted interest from outside Sheffield.
Katie explains “As part of our work with Sheffield Hallam University, I am thrilled to confirm that 13 schools in Rotherham have signed up to the Children’s University programme for this term. The CU has a unique brand and reputation and it is fantastic that Rotherham has recognised the success of the programme and the impact it has made in Sheffield. With support from Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, we are able to extend the reach of the programme beyond Sheffield, and with Rotherham on board we can expect more growth in future.”
Parent of one Children’s University participant, Stacey Bowskill, said “My daughter Evie has learned so much since participating in the Children’s University programme. She has made friends, joined in with fun activities and we have seen a huge improvement in her skills in Maths and English. As a busy working mum the out of school activities have been vital for me to be able to collect my child after school hours. I would recommend the programme to any parent looking for something enjoyable, educational and fun for their child to take part in. The awards ceremony has been her favourite part. She loved getting dressed up in her cap and gown to collect her award with her school friends.”
A link to growth in success rates in numeracy and literacy compared to non-participants has been found in the Children’s University annual report for 2018/19, which was published last month. The report, which measures the impact of out of school learning through the Children’s University programme in the past year, demonstrates a clear link to CU participation, improved academic achievement and attendance in school.
Dawn Walton, Sheffield City Council’s Director Commissioning, Inclusion and Learning, said: “Congratulations to all the children, schools and providers who have taken part in the Children’s University activities. With the 100th award ceremony taking place this month, it’s a programme everyone should be proud of.
“The Sheffield Children’s University is a really inspiring initiative. It’s a fantastic achievement that 45,000 children and young people have participated in the programme Sheffield-wide. It’s incredibly encouraging that Rotherham schools are also taking up the programme.”
To discover the full list of free, exciting activities on offer visit