Raising cap to out-of-school learning

THAT'S CAPPED IT: Chilldren celebrate after graduating from the Children's University. Now plans are being made to bring this scheme to Fleetwood.
THAT'S CAPPED IT: Chilldren celebrate after graduating from the Children's University. Now plans are being made to bring this scheme to Fleetwood.

SCHOOL children in Fleetwood could be getting their university caps and gowns sooner than they expect!

Plans are being made to bring the Children’s University to the Fleetwood and Wyre area, with a view to starting in September.

This national initiative is aimed at recognising, rewarding and celebrating all the learning that children aged seven to 14 do outside normal school hours.

So if they take part in football or dance lessons, or learn new skills through Cubs or Brownies, that would be included in a learning passport book.

Once the pupils have gained enough hours of their out-of-school learning, they will graduate with a cap and gown, just like they would as students at adult universities.

And there is the potential to win bronze, silver or gold awards the more hours they put in.

The scheme is run nationally through the Children’s University and aiming to bring it to Fleetwood and Wyre is mum-of-two Michelle Riley, 46.

Fleetwood woman Michelle, who works in education but is not involved with the scheme through her day job, is setting up the National Children’s University for Wyre.

She said: “I think all the learning that children do outside of school, and they skills they learn, should get more recognition.

“If a child is struggling at maths but is brilliant at playing for a football team out of school, why isn’t that given greater account?

“This scheme allows that to happen. Some of these skills can lead to jobs, whether it is football or dancing, so they are relevant.”

Before setting up the scheme, Michelle would like to hear from parents in Fleetwood about which activities their children are involved in so she can make plans to have them validated and counted towards graduation.

To this end, she has organised a meeting which is to be held at Larkholme Community Centre, Cartmell Avenue, on Tuesday April 26 at 6pm.

Local-based teachers are also being invited to the meeting.

The Children’s University has already proved popular in Blackpool, where other coordinators are working with schools in the resort.

Michelle is hoping Fleetwood and Wyre schools agree to become Children’s Learning Centres to enable youngsters to take advantage of the scheme.

If a child accrues just 35 hours over one academic year with a minimum of three different activities, the child will graduate with cap and gown and a bronze award.

A silver is gained with 65 hours, and gold with 100 hours.

Michelle added: “I have worked hard to secure funding and so far I have had a positive feedback.”