Posted: Tue 27th Feb 2024

Flintshire students graduate from Children’s University programme

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Ten students who took part in an initiative designed to boost access to extra-curricular activities and educational experiences to help develop a love of lifelong learning have graduated after completing the programme.

The year 7 Flint High School students attended the graduation ceremony with their parents at Wrexham University after taking part in the 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.  

All the students successfully completed the 30 hours required to graduate, and three students, Jacob, Lili and Adam, achieved an impressive 65 hours. 

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 was one of a small number of schools from Flintshire and Wrexham to participate in the pilot which was managed by Wrexham University, in partnership with Bangor University and partners from the Wrexham Public Service Board and the Flintshire Public Service Board.  

The students were given an Activity Record booklet and their own login details for the Children’s University Online portal, where they were able to record extra-curricular and volunteering opportunities that they have participated in.  

Each activity is converted into hours through the portal, and the students receive a stamp code.  Once 30 hours have been completed, the students are rewarded with a certificate and an invitation to the 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. 

The students were fitted for their cap and gowns when they arrived for their graduation, and students were called up to collect their certificates from Professor Maria Hinefelaar, Vice-Chancellor, Wrexham University, in front of an audience of around 800 people.

Flint High School student, Scarlett Thompson, was invited to read a poem she had written which met with great applause.

Sam Harbour, associate headteacher, coordinated the pilot at the school, with support from fellow teachers, Phil Dowle, Chantelle Williams, and Dyan Crimes.  

Mrs Harbour said: “We are all so proud of the students, and it was wonderful to celebrate their achievements at the graduation ceremony.  We had 30 students involved in the pilot so to see a third of them graduate is fantastic, they really have excelled themselves!  

“The initiative has provided an exciting opportunity for our students, enabling them to explore new possibilities that might otherwise not have been open to them, and the booklets provided were also great resources for parents to use, as they were full of ideas and information about local days out and activities.  

“The staff involved from the North Wales Children’s University were very helpful and offered extra support by coming to visit students at school and even creating bespoke stamp codes for the activities they had completed.

“It has been a great success and is an extension to the rich and diverse range of extra-curricular activities we offer here at Flint High.  Having been through the process, we are looking forward to running the project again next year as it is a great way for students to become more involved with extra curricular activities, and to gain recognition for those they are already doing!  

“We hope that this experience will inspire students 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.”

Following the ceremony, the students were de-gowned and enjoyed an after party where they got to mix with students from the different schools.

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