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What is Children’s University?

CU encourages children and young people to seek out high quality learning opportunities both in school, and in the community. It supports their personal development, particularly the development of the essential life skills they need to succeed.

Children and young people receive 1 CU credit per hour they participate in voluntary enrichment activities, and this is celebrated through a national award scheme which starts with a Bronze award for 30 hours and progresses to a Gold Fellowship for 1000 hours.

At regular intervals, children, young people and their families are invited to celebrate their commitment to learning in their own time by wearing university style caps and gowns at a graduation award ceremony.


South Yorkshire

Children’s University (CU) supports and encourages every child to reach their potential and become the very best they can be. Supporting children and young people to learn and celebrating their achievements has never been more important.

Local and national research shows that children and young people develop their confidence, aspirations and love of learning from the skills, characteristics and passions they develop both in and beyond the classroom.

South Yorkshire CU motivates children and young people from the age of 5 to try new learning experiences in and outside of school; at breakfast, lunchtime and after school clubs and in their own time, in the local library, museum or further afield.

Culminating in an inspirational graduation ceremony, this learning adventure gives children and young people the opportunity to enrich their childhoods, nurture a lifelong love of learning, unlock their skills and talents and develop their aspirations and confidence regardless of their backgrounds.

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Half Term challenge

October 2023

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Passport Activity Newsletter

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Rotherham Children's University Graduation 2023

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How does it make a difference?

There are lots of reasons to get your school involved in CU in your local area:

      Ongoing local and national research shows the positive impact participation in CU and extra-curricular activity has on 

       attainment, attendance and progress

      The Education Endowment Foundation has Children’s University listed as a promising project which has demonstrated the

       potential to improve attainment for young people cost-effectively when independently and robustly evaluated

      CU provides support, opportunities and access to a network of high quality activity providers to help schools develop their

       programme of activities

      As part of the South Yorkshire CU offer, schools can access CPD accredited training, resources and funding to enhance their

       enrichment provision

      The CU focus on activities beyond the classroom is a great fit for Ofsted’s new focus on character development

      Over 80% of parents/carers said being part of CU in Sheffield has increased their child's confidence and self esteem as well

       as their physical and mental well-being

      Through work with the Skills Builder partnership, CU are able to support children and young people to value, reflect and build

       on the essential life skills they need to succeed


South Yorkshire

'I feel schools should get involved because it encourages children to expand their opportunities and try new things'

'CU inspires and motivates my children and helps them develop their skills'

What families say about

Children's University

'It gives something to work towards and feel proud about. My children loved receiving their first bronze badge and the awards evenings are amazing'

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What schools say about Children's University

‘The biggest gain is in pupil confidence and attitude, a will to challenge themselves, a will to overcome fear I think of unknown situations and new activities, so when they go back into the classroom they’re certainly empowered. We’re seeing that we’ve got a different group of children really, more positive and more willing to give things a go, and it’s impacting on standards and attendance within school.’

Headteacher, Sheffield Primary School

‘Impact doesn’t always show up in the numbers, especially for our children. They don’t get the opportunity to take part in lots of activities at home, and certainly not the variety on offer to other children, so we need to provide it at school at lunchtimes. We notice a real impact on behaviour and engagement and lots more. It’s all vitally important learning but you can’t put a number on that. Nor should you need to.’

Deputy Headteacher, Special School

The South Yorkshire CU vision

Sheffield Hallam University are committed to cultivating a regional approach to CU as part of their Civic University Agreement. The existing CU centres in Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield each have their own local identity and priorities but have now joined forces under the South Yorkshire CU banner (A further CU centre is planned for Barnsley soon).

Working in this collaborative way enables each CU to share best practice, develop new innovative opportunities for schools and support children and families to engage and participate in their local area and beyond.


Rotherham Children's University Awards - Gulliver's  Summer 2022

Latest news

Latest News

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Download our Activity passport 

Passport Activity Newsletter

Click below to download our latest Newsletters

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Download our latest newsletter

Children's University Rotherham

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Download our latest information

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Get your school involved

Contact your local CU centre for more information about their school membership offer.


Doncaster Children's University

Contact us -

Find us on social media @DoncasterChildU

Check out our website for further information

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Rotherham Children's University

Contact us -

Find us on social media  @RotherhamCU

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South Yorkshire


Sheffield Children's University

Contact us - email

Find us on social media  @SheffieldCU

Check out our website for further information

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National Children's University

To find out which activities are currently available in all areas of the UK visit the national Children's University website.

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