A special university to enrich young children’s learning has celebrated the achievements of dozens of New Forest school pupils.
It works to develop a love of learning in children by encouraging participation in extra-curricular activities in and outside of school.
And every year it celebrates the number of hours young people have spent on out-of school learning with a special graduation ceremony.
Dozens of pupils from Inspire’s Blackfield Primary and Fawley Infant schools, along with schools from the New Forest-based Oaks CE Federation, attended a special ceremony at The University of Winchester.
Two pupils from Blackfield Primary, Maia Ashcroft and Rhianne Dean, were the proud recipients of the highest award – a Children’s University Fellowship for completing 2,160 hours of learning between them.
CEO of Inspire Learning Partnership, Claire Lowe, said: “We are proud of every single one of our pupils who have successfully graduated from the Children’s University.
“We are passionate about inspiring a love of learning in all our children and are proud partners of the Children’s University.
“By working with them to encourage young people to extend their learning beyond school we are not only seeing our children’s education flourish but also their personal development as well.”
This year has seen New Forest children complete a staggering 14,047 hours of learning outside of the school day.
They have achieved this by either participating in extra-curricular school clubs or the wide range of organisations the Children’s University works with in the New Forest.
These partners offer activities in sports, art and culture, nature and the environment and include libraries, museums and galleries, sports clubs plus many national organisations.
Each child has a ‘Passport to Learning’ where they record their number of hours of participation.
Wearing full graduation attire, the young University members received awards and certificates from the Chairman of New Forest District Council, Cllr Alan Glass for the individual hours they have reached.
And Maia and Rhianne from Blackfield Primary were also treated to a special video message from Children’s University patron and TV historian, Dan Snow, in recognition of receiving the highest fellowship award.
The Hive and Children University’s Lesley Stout, said: “By the time a child turns 18, they will have spent just 9% of their waking life in a classroom and the Children’s University is about making the most of the remaining 91%.
“Research shows that participation in extra-curricular activities can positively impact on attainment, increase a pupil’s positive identification with school, and build self-confidence and resilience.
“Children that do not have access to these opportunities can fall behind, lack confidence, and fail to develop career aspirations.
“We are absolutely delighted to be working with New Forest schools to ensure all their children have the same access to these wonderful opportunities, which can be life changing.”
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