More than 60 young people will graduate from Scotland’s first Children’s University at a special ceremony at the University of Strathclyde’s Barony Hall.
Glasgow Children’s University is enabling children aged seven to 14 to widen their skills and interests, while providing a new and innovative route towards further and higher education.
The first graduates, pupils from St Mungo’s Academy and St Andrew’s Secondary School, each collected stamps on a ‘Passport to Learning’ while taking part in a wide range of learning activities outside school hours, from gallery and museum visits, to drama, crafts and sports.
Among the first graduates was Ross McCool, 12, from St Mungo’s Academy, who said: “It’s a brilliant experience that helps you to develop crucial life skills such as planning and scheduling.
“I’ve been involved in Science Club, Geo Kids, the Justice and Peace Club and I’ve also visited the Rainforest Exhibition at Kelvingrove.”
The University of Strathclyde, working in partnership with Glasgow City Council, established the pilot phase of Glasgow Children’s University last year. The programme will roll out to other schools around the city in the coming months.
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell said: “I want Scotland to be the best place to grow up in, and the Children’s University offers our young people a wonderful opportunity to make the most of their abilities and inspire them throughout their education.
“The Scottish Government is committed to education being based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay and recent PISA figures showed that we are making progress in addressing the attainment gap.
“I’m delighted to be able to share this special occasion with Scotland’s first Children’s University graduates and I wish them all the best for their future.”
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Chancellor of Glasgow Children’s University and Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “Graduation is one of the great moments in a university’s year and we are immensely proud of the achievements of today’s young graduates.
“As a leading international university, we are committed to providing access to education to all. By hosting Scotland’s first Children’s University, we can give young people the opportunity to develop new skills, explore the world around them, and ultimately, inspire them to consider further study at college or university level.”
Councillor Stephen Curran, Executive Member for Education and Young People at Glasgow City Council, said: “I’m delighted with the success of the Children’s University and this proves that our city was the ideal place to launch this project in Scotland.
“Glasgow is committed to improving the life chances of all and that’s why I am endorsing the Children’s University partnership and hope we will have even more young people graduating next year."
Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Children's University Scotland, Jock Brown, added: "Learning in the broadest sense gives every young person a chance to find what interests and excites them, and excel in a chosen field. It should encourage them to reach for the stars, aspire to great things, and realise that dreams can be realised. In the process, they can take pride in contributing to society and becoming valued citizens.
“I am delighted that Children’s University has launched in Scotland and is set to grow over the coming months and years; we are very grateful to the University of Strathclyde for taking the lead.”
Since the launch of the Children’s University, the pupils have gained stamps in their Passport to Learning and collected credits which are converted into awards at bronze, silver and gold levels.
A number of city venues have already been validated as public learning destinations, with Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum the first to join the Children's University.
The initiative has already attracted a donation and support from the ScottishPower Foundation. Ann Loughrey, Trustee and Executive Officer at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “The ScottishPower Foundation believes that all children and young people should be given the opportunity to make the most of their abilities and achieve their goals, whatever they might be. We are therefore delighted to be supporting Children’s University Scotland who also foster this ambition for our next generation.”
More than 200 people are expected to attend today’s graduation, with parents, teachers and staff members from the partner organisations celebrating the achievements of the young people.