Mackie Academy and its cluster primary schools are involved in a pilot, as part of the development of the Children’s University.
The Children’s University (CU) aims to promote social mobility by providing high quality out-of-school-hours activities to children aged seven to 14 and engaging the wider communities, as learning partners in this process.
An important principle of the Children’s University is that participation is voluntary and it is intentionally something other than school - with a different feel, different activities and often a different location, peer group and staff.
At the heart of its work is the ambition to raise aspirations, boost achievement and foster a love of learning.
The Children’s University also targets five to six-year-olds, with their parents and carers, because this is a crucial stage for children in forming an attachment to personalised learning and aspiring to learn.
Children are able to make choices about their learning, to move at different paces, to discover and pursue particular interests and the CU supports them in all of these things.
The Children’s University seeks to bridge the primary/secondary divide and to provide a continuity of learning that is highly valuable in this vulnerable transitional phase.
It is this aim which the Stonehaven cluster are focusing on in this pilot. Pupils in Primary Five and S1 will be given the opportunity to participate with their graduation ceremony at Aberdeen University in June 2015.
In addition, the cluster have been successful in obtaining a grant from the Scottish Government’s Access to Education Fund, which stated: “Your proposal was considered to be both exciting and potentially of great benefit to children and young people experiencing barriers to learning through disadvantage and deprivation.”
The money will be used to fund activities for pupils learning outside of the curriculum and for which they will be able to gain accreditation for the Children’s University.
It is anticipated that parents will have the opportunity to take part in these activities as well.
An information evening for parents is took place on Monday of this week and the pilot will start in January 2015.
n For more information on this scheme go to http://www.childrensuniversity.co.uk/