Over 50 North Wales schools get involved with Children’s University

Date: Friday 29th September, 2023

More than 50 schools across North Wales have signed up to a trailblazing scheme, which aims to foster a love of learning among children and young people by offering access to a variety of additional learning activities and experiences.

A total of 55 schools across North Wales, comprising 41 primary schools and 14 secondary schools, have registered to join the North Wales Children’s University.

Following a successful pilot of the initiative across Wrexham and Flintshire last year, the scheme is now being rolled out across North Wales, thanks to funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).

This tranche of funding is enabling Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham University to work with Bangor University and a number of other regional partners to pilot the scheme over the coming months, as part of a shared civic mission to work in partnership to end social inequality in the region.

Raising aspirations and the development of skills through activities offered in and out of school to children and young people is the driving force behind the scheme.

The schools that have signed up to the initiative will have access to learning destinations across the region, in a bid to encourage children and young people to complete 30 hours of additional learning and volunteering activity, with the overarching aim of encouraging ambition and in turn, rewarding participation.  

Once 30 hours of activities have been completed, children and young people will be invited to attend a special graduation ceremony to celebrate their achievements and learning.  

Sonia John, Children’s University Project Manager who has been seconded from her role of Deputy Headteacher of the Nantlwys Federation of Primary Schools in Flintshire – which include Nannerch V.C. Primary School and Nercwys CIW Primary School – said signing up to the scheme was a “fantastic opportunity” for schools.  

She said: “Teachers do an absolutely brilliant job – and although it’s a tough profession at times, it’s also immensely rewarding. By being involved in the Children’s University, it’s providing teachers with some brilliant additional support, networks and resources by linking schools up with local learning destinations, which aim to inspire a love of learning. 

“For children and young people, the Children’s University will provide them a chance to spread their wings by finding new activities they enjoy, as well as develop new skills and enhance their horizons. It’s incredibly exciting and a really fantastic opportunity. 

“The Children’s University is also a huge advocate of encouraging positive aspirational futures no matter what experience children are having in school. Unfortunately, we know that some children find the classroom environment overwhelming, which stifles their school experience. For us within the scheme, we can engage children outside of the classroom by providing opportunities for their current and future development. 

“The scheme is also particularly beneficial for those living in more rural communities, as the Children’s University will help uncover learning destinations across the region, not just focussing on larger towns and cities.” 

Nina Ruddle, Head of Public Policy Engagement at Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham University, said: “We are delighted that so many schools have got behind the scheme and signed up to the Children’s University.  

“The Children’s University is a real vehicle for change for our civic mission commitment to end social inequality in North Wales and an exciting opportunity to bring a wealth of partners together and work creatively to tackle this collective challenge.   

“Rolling out the Children’s University across the region means that more children and young people will have access to new learning destinations, opportunities brought about through learning new skills, and hopefully, an increased confidence, appetite and love of learning.” 

Dr Nia Young, Lead Project Manager for Children’s University North West Wales and Director of Teaching & Learning for the School of Educational Services at Bangor University, added: “We’re delighted with the response from local schools to the programme offered by the Children’s University.

“Bangor University is constantly striving to provide excellent and meaningful learning opportunities for children and young people in the North Wales area.  We are committed to supporting the Children's University to encourage the aspirations of children and make their career goals a reality."