Posted: Sat 23rd Sep 2023

Flint High School partners with Children’s University to ignite lifelong learning passion in students

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Sep 23rd, 2023

An initiative designed to boost access to extra-curricular activities and educational experiences to help develop a love of lifelong learning has launched at a Flintshire high school.

A class of 35 new year 7 students at Flint High School are taking part in a pilot scheme with the North Wales Children’s University, part of the Children’s University charity which works with schools and external organisations to develop a love of learning in children and young people from 8 to 18. 

By encouraging and rewarding participation in extra-curricular activities, both inside and outside of school, the Children’s University also aims to raise aspirations so that all CU members can discover their potential.

Flint High School is one of a small number of schools in North Wales to participate in the pilot which runs from this month to February 2024 and is managed by Wrexham Glyndŵr University, in partnership with Bangor University and partners from the Wrexham Public Service Board and the Flintshire Public Service Board.  

During the first session at Flint High School, students were given an Activity Record booklet and their own login details for the Children’s University Online portal, where they can record extra-curricular and volunteering opportunities that they have participated in.  

The students receive a stamp code for each activity which is then converted into hours through the portal.  Once students reach 30 hours, they are rewarded with a certificate and an invitation to a graduation-style celebration event, including free mortarboard and gown hire. 

Students can choose to attend school clubs, participate in voluntary, extra-curricular activities within school time such as music lessons, and complete online activities, in addition to access to a huge range of ‘Learning Destinations.’  These are external providers that work with 

Children’s University where children can discover new hobbies, sports and places, and learn about the varied career opportunities that are open to them.  

According to Children’s University, research shows that participation in extra-curricular activities has a positive impact on attainment, increases a pupil’s positive identification with school, and builds self-confidence and resilience. Research also shows that children that do not have access to these opportunities fall behind, lack confidence, and fail to develop career aspirations. The resulting attainment gap is so significant that 25 per cent of children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds achieve below expected attainment levels.

Sam Harbour, associate headteacher, is overseeing the pilot at the school.  She said: “We welcome this exciting opportunity for our students and look forward to seeing them explore new possibilities that might otherwise not have been open to them.

“This scheme is an extension to the rich and diverse range of extra-curricular activities we offer here at Flint High, and we can’t wait to see how the students develop over the course of the pilot.  

“We hope that this will inspire them to continue to seek new learning experiences both in and out of school that will further enrich their high school education and continue into their lives beyond school.  They are certainly very enthusiastic and keen to get started.”

As part of the pilot, students have been asked to fill in a survey and take part in class discussions both before, and at the end of the scheme, to evaluate their engagement levels in extra-curricular activities, their aspirations, and their knowledge of College and University. They will also be asked about their expectations and experiences of the Children’s University.

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