Children’s University

Photo: Childrens UniversityChildren’s University (CU) aims to promote social mobility by providing high quality, exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences outside of normal school hours to children aged 7-14 years old and engaging the wider communities as learning partners in the realisation of this.

At the heart of its work is the ambition to raise aspirations, boost achievement and foster a love of learning, so that young people can make the most of their abilities and interests.


The Children’s University provides young people with exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences outside normal school hours. They celebrate achievement and reward participation through certificates at various levels and awards. Raising children’s aspirations is a key outcome and to develop the understanding that learning can be the satellite navigation to better places in life.

The strength of the Children’s University is its flexibility to meet local needs through local CU centres utilising local learning opportunities. Our different centres offer high quality learning in many forms. While this may be in ‘traditional’ academic subjects, the Children’s University also seeks to complement the work of schools by offering diverse opportunities and supporting innovative approaches to learning.

Some of the Learning Destinations may offer art,  astronomy or drama, music or maths, science or sport, philosophy, poetry or photography, or any combination of these and other subjects according to the expertise available locally.

Children’s University learning provision can be in any subject which can be studied as part of a degree programme at a UK university, as exemplified on 

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Oldham Children’s University is pleased to announce Shobna Gulati as our Chancellor. Shobna is thrilled and honoured to be Oldham Children’s University Chancellor and is committed to young people’s education.




Outcomes for schools, pupils, staff, parent/guardians and communities

  • Benefit spiritual development through developing their sense of self and their unique potential. Also to their understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Benefit moral development through an understanding of society’s shared and agreed values. Develop the skills to make moral decision and act on them.
  • Benefit social development through understanding the responsibility of being a member of a family or community and the ability to relate to others. Display a sense of belonging when attending an out of school hours learning destination.
  • Benefit cultural development through respecting their own culture and others and showing an interest in other ways of doing things. An understanding and willingness to contribute to culture.
  • Raise aspirations.
  • Raise participation levels and attendance.
  • Gain a sense of achievement.
  • Develop confidence and self-esteem.childrens_university_graduation
  • Engage in learning outside of school.
  • Commit to independent learning.
  • Develops skills and interests.
  • Develops life skills.
  • Foster a love of learning.
  • Take on challenges.
  • Confidence to try new activities.
  • Meet new friends.
  • Develop social skills.
  • Promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Promote attitudinal change.
  • Increase motivation towards learning.
  • Broaden awareness of available activities within your community.
  • Empower others to be actively involved in their learning.
  • Develops a sense of adventure and encourage others to learn in creative and exciting ways.


What difference does it make?

The leadership for learning team of the University  of Cambridge were tasked with evaluating whether or not the Children’s University has an impact on pupils’ attainment, attendance and attitudes towards learning. Evaluation and data nationally has been gathered.

  • Being in the Children’s University significantly improves school attendance.
  • Achievement is significantly better at KS 1-3 for children who participate in the Children’s University compared with non-attenders.
  • The further children engage with Children’s University, the better their attendance and achievement.
  • Children’s University provides an environment for self-driven, confident and collegial learning.
  • Children’s University provides a safe haven and models positive relationships.
  • Pupils and teachers testify to life changing experiences.
  • Certificates, credits, Passport to Learning and graduation are valued incentives and rewards.
  • University settings help to inspire and raise aspirations for children and their parents. Children’s University has helped to “make learning a reality beyond academic studies”.



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