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23rd October 2014, 11:44am
Passport to education: University of Lincoln launches new Children’s University
Lincolnshire Children's University The University of Lincoln, UK, is giving children a passport to better education with the launch of a new Children’s University.

Through the initiative, children between five and 14-years-old use a Passport to Learning to ‘travel’ to different learning destinations such as museums, farms, and businesses which provide high-quality accredited activities and experiences, earning ‘stamps’ for their passports at each destination. Other activities such as lectures and language clubs can also earn travel stamps.

Each hour of activity earns a stamp in the passport, with 30 hours earning children a bronze award, 65 hours a silver, and 100 hours for gold. At each milestone they have a cap and gown graduation ceremony at the University of Lincoln.

The Lincolnshire Children’s University will welcome its first cohort in the EMMTEC building on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Campus at 5pm on 24th October 2014, with around 100 invited guests expected.

At the launch, children from Branston Junior Academy near Lincoln, which is signed up to the LCU, will show their street dance routines. The first passports in the county will be handed out, and the LCU’s cap and gown for future graduation ceremonies will be on show.

Emile van der Zee, manager of the LCU and principal lecturer at the University of Lincoln, said: “This is an exciting project, and one that can help children access inspiring and creative activities which they can feel proud of.

“The idea is to signpost children to activities which take place outside the normal school day and enhance their education. They are all voluntary, and all link back to something they could go on to do at university.  All local Children’s Universities have a link to higher or further education institutions and we’re delighted to help bring one to Lincolnshire.

“We will be starting with a small core of schools and other organisations at the end of October, and we already have expressions of interest from more than 15 other schools and several other organisations to join us in January.”

The LCU is part of a constantly expanding network of Children’s Universities managed by The Children’s University (CU) Trust. There are more than 110 Children’s Universities in the UK and the Isle of Man. Each one is distinctive in character, responding to the needs of the local community.

The LCU project is a collaboration between Lincolnshire County Council, Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Bishop Grosseteste University, the Lincolnshire Youth Council and local schools and businesses, led by the University of Lincoln. Other organisations which work with children, such as the Lincoln Drill Hall and the Showroom are also involved.

Bethanie Eva, from the Public Engagement Office at the University of Lincoln will be coordinating the daily running of the LCU, including 29 student volunteers. She said: “It is wonderful to be involved in something that can make a real difference to a child’s learning experience. We want to show them that learning can be fun, and offer them activities that range from street dance in an after school club to learning about teeth and braces at Castle Orthodontics in Lincoln.”

“The launch of our Children’s University is exciting news for the youngsters of Lincolnshire and I’m pleased to be involved as a representative of the county’s business community,” added Herman Kok, a member of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP board who also sits on the Children’s University steering committee. “This is a very exciting new venture and one which I am sure will inspire children in our region to really fulfil their potential.”

Bishop Grosseteste University hosts the School Forum for the LCU, which allows the schools to come together and discuss a range of ideas related to the development of LCU activities.

For more information about the LCU, visit or follow @LincolnshireCU on Twitter.

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