Updated on: 07/07/2017
Newman University Birmingham has once again hosted a graduation ceremony for the Children’s University.
In 2014 Newman became a learning destination for the Children’s University programme, the university then held its first graduation ceremony on its campus in Bartley Green in 2016. Following on from last year’s success Newman once again partnered with the Children’s University to hold the 2017 graduation ceremony for children in the local area.
The Children’s University is a national initiative which works with local schools and families to raise aspirations and develop community links for 5 to 14 year olds outside of their normal school hours. Pupils from the local schools gain their ‘passport’ when they sign up for the programme receiving stamps for the learning activities which they complete throughout the year. The stamps equate to the level achieved at the graduation ceremony, giving all children the sense of achievement on the evening.
Newman is a learning destination for the Children’s University with the ability to provide high quality learning opportunities and activities to allow children to travel with their passport of learning. Newman has to provide learning activities and experiences with a ‘wow’ factor to pass the Children’s University quality assurance process; something which Newman University proudly achieved.
Differing from other universities involved, Newman invites local school children onto campus to work with staff and students from their Early Childhood Education and Care team, rather than visiting the children in their schools. Degree students at the university run sessions for the children involved in the programme, giving them the opportunity to experience university life and understand what opportunities are available to them when they reach the age of 18; emphasising the Children’s University strapline: ‘Children can only aspire to what they know exists’.
The activities hosted by the students at Newman University have included sports, crime scene investigations, science, maths, history and many other exciting topics. Not only does this allow the local school children to gain a unique experience but it gives students studying at Newman University the chance to work with the children, creating engaging learning activities.
Jessica Dunn who is currently studying towards her BA Hons Early Childhood Education and Care at Newman, worked on the programme, commenting "Children’s University has given me a wide variety of experience working with a range of children who are of different ages and from different backgrounds.
"Children’s University brought out my creative side as I was actively involved in designing, planning, setting up and carrying out the activities with the children. It made me feel like a mini teacher.
"My course helped me within Children’s University as it has given me a base knowledge of children’s needs and requirements as well as how children develop."
Jessica’s experience within her course at Newman University and Children’s University has driven her to continue her teacher training as she will be studying towards her PGCE at Newman University in September with the aim of completing a masters to become a Special Educational Needs Coordinator.
Jessica and her peers at Newman encouraged the children throughout the year to reach the target of being able to graduate.
Thursday 6th July saw 123 excited children from local schools, including Jervoise School, Clifton Primary School, Anderton Park Primary School and Merritts Brook Primary School, turn up en masse with their families and teachers, some of whom are alumni at Newman University, to celebrate what they had achieved throughout the year. Vice Chancellor of Newman, Scott Davidson welcomed all attendees, including the Deputy Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Carl Rice and Birmingham’s Children’s University Chancellor, Anita Bhalla.
Newman University aimed to give the children a real taste of what a graduation ceremony is like and ran the ceremony in the same way as their usual graduation ceremonies. The children could barely contain their excitement as they donned their gowns and mortar boards before making their way to the ceremony.
The ceremony took place in the university's Chapel and the graduates from the Children’s University were welcomed on stage to collect their certificates whilst a choir from Clifton Primary School performed. The children were evidently thrilled with their achievement; their families proud and all involved enjoyed the ceremony.
Newman University prides itself as being an institution that not only provides higher educational courses but one who provides for its community. The university will therefore continue to work with the Children’s University to give young people within the region the opportunity to experience university life and give them aspirations for their future.
Vice-Chancellor of Newman University, Scott Davidson commented "We are pleased to welcome the Deputy Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Carl Rice, Birmingham’s Children’s University Chancellor, Anita Bhalla and also the children from Jervoise School, Clifton Primary School, Anderton Park Primary School and Merritts Brook Primary School to Newman for the graduation ceremony.
"I am delighted to be able to host our second graduation ceremony, here at Newman. Our students and staff have been working in partnership with The Children’s University for the past four years, and tonight’s graduation event is a highlight of our university calendar. I would like to congratulate all of the children who are celebrating their achievements."
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