17 June 2011

Over 500 young people will be donning their cap and gown for a graduation ceremony with a difference as the latest batch of Children’s University students have their commitment to learning recognised.

Over the course four separate ceremonies taking place next week, 549 young people from all over the county will be presented with certificates from the Northamptonshire Children’s University.

The Northamptonshire Children’s University is an extension of Northamptonshire County Council’s existing study support service where learning opportunities take place outside normal lessons and out of school hours.

An education scheme for schoolchildren that emphasises the fun element of learning and encompasses university-style freedom of choice, the Children’s University encourages students to develop their own personalised curriculum and take responsibility for their own learning outside the classroom.

Councillor Andrew Grant, cabinet member for Children Learning and Skills, said: “We know from the research available that study support has a positive impact on pupils’ attainment, school attendance and attitudes to school and learning.

“We have established a children’s university here in Northamptonshire for young people of all academic abilities in the hope that we can nurture a love of learning beyond the conventional classroom environment.”

Students are encouraged to progress through the national certification scheme, based on their number of hours of attendance throughout their involvement with out-of-hours learning.

Through the accreditation system, students gain bronze, silver or gold certificates according to the number of hours they have participated. The accreditation scheme goes up to 1,000 hours and incorporates an undergraduate level (up to 400 hours), a post-graduate level (up to 800) hours and a doctorate level.

The council has already exceeded its original target for 600 young people to access 30 hours of Children’s University activity giving a total of 18,000 hours of learning every year.

The graduation ceremony was organised by the council and the University of Northampton.