New scheme rewards businesses and young learners

26 January 2012

An innovative scheme rewarding participation in out-of-school activities is set to inspire young people to learn more – and promises to bring a much needed boost to businesses and cultural venues.

The South Hertfordshire Children’s University, led by Oaklands College and West Herts College, is the latest addition to a national network encouraging children between the ages of seven and 14 to explore a wide range of opportunities and learn new skills.

Zoe Hancock, Principal of Oaklands College, commented: "We felt it was really important to get on board with this new national initiative as we believe it will offer significant benefits to children, parents and the community as a whole.

“Engaging pupils with learning from a young age is important and we hope that by offering them exciting and fulfilling activities outside of school hours and during the holidays we will help to inspire young minds and build on skills and talents.

“Both Oaklands College and West Herts College are in a unique position to be able to offer a good range of vocational learning and we are looking forward to planning an exciting programme for the Children's University students."
‘It’s about learning in exciting ways outside school,’ said Gill Worgan, principal of West Herts College.

“Children can join for fun or to gain formal certificates, earning stamps in a learning passport which add up to a celebratory annual graduation day.

“What we need now are learning destinations, places signed-up to the scheme that register attendance with a stamp in children’s learning passports.”

Cath Gunn, Head of the South Hertfordshire Children’s University, is clear about the wider benefits for local venues and leisure providers: “Participation in the scheme promises to drive up the attendance and spend of young people. It’s simply a case of recording attendance with a Children’s University passport stamp.”

“For children it’s all about adding excitement to the best days of their lives. Be it recognising an existing activity, such as attendance at an after-school club, or something less formal like a museum or theatre visit, a sports event or day trip.

“The graduation ceremony is designed to maintain a young person’s interest in an activity and keep them learning. There are bronze, silver and gold reward levels to aim for depending on participation. For local businesses this translates into a repeat business and increased footfall for participating learner destinations.”