Children’s University and The Fair Education Alliance

Why we’ve become Members of the FEA

Helen O'Donnell
Apr 18, 2017 · 4 min read

Children’s University

Children’s University is a charity that encourages, tracks and celebrates learning beyond the classroom. Our mission is to make sure that children have a love for learning that extends beyond the classroom, and that they truly understand the power and potential that learning can unlock. Most importantly we believe that every child should have the chance to become the very best they can be.

We support children’s learning by providing the tools to record achievements, directing learners to activities that we know are good, and recognising and celebrating successes. We work with over 1,000 schools and over 100,000 children from age five and above. Our innovative ‘Passport to Learning’ scheme sees thousands of children each year rack up millions of hours of extracurricular learning, resulting in university-style graduations. Celebrating learning in its many forms is what we’re all about.

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Why we do what we do

Evidence overwhelmingly shows that children thrive in a learning environment if they are able to extend their learning outside of the classroom. Researchers have found that extra-curricular activities taking place in school can significantly increase a pupil’s positive identification with school, build self-confidence and resilience. They also found that extra-curricular sports can boost a competitive spirit and the desire to succeed, and other out of school activities can provide additional opportunities for academic learning, with direct benefits for attainment outcomes.

Conversely, the research shows that children that do not have access to these opportunities fall behind, lack self-confidence, and fail to develop career aspirations. They do not reach their full potential and they are significantly less likely to attend University or access a skilled career. The resulting attainment gap is so significant that 25 % of children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds achieve below expected attainment levels, compared to just 3 per cent of children from affluent backgrounds. Read the evidence for yourself.

Bridging the gap

Children’s University exists to bridge this gap and create a level playing field of opportunity so that all children of all backgrounds and all abilities can access extracurricular activities. If we are to give every child the chance to thrive in the classroom, to unlock their talents and to sets their sights for the future high, it is vital we encourage and enable them to access these enriched learning experiences from a young age.

It’s for this reason that Children’s University has just joined the Fair Education Alliance (FEA).

The Fair Education Alliance

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The Fair Education Alliance is an alliance of organisations collectively working towards a world where our education system is fair — where no child’s educational success is limited by their socio-economic background. The Alliance’s statement of purpose is clear:

“How much a child’s parents earn too often determines how well they do at school and in life. We believe this is wrong.”

I, my colleagues, and the hundreds of staff across the country who deliver Children’s University firmly believe this is wrong too. That is why we’ve joined as members of the alliance to help drive action at a local and national level. We are committed to helping make education and life chances fair for all young people.

The Fair Education Impact Goals

The Fair Education Impact Goals are five time-limited, measurable goals that focus on narrowing the gaps between schools where the majority of pupils are from areas of high deprivation and those from more advantaged backgrounds. These goals guide the Alliance’s collaborative activity that aims to make education fair for all young people; from literacy and numeracy targets to the gap in university graduation levels linked to background.

For us at Children’s University, our focus with the FEA will be on impact goal three — ensuring young people develop key strengths, including resilience and well-being, to support high aspirations. Extracurricular activities and learning beyond the classroom have huge potential for impact in these areas. If we are to give every child to these enriched learning experiences. This is why we’re so proud to get behind the FEA.

Over the coming months we’ll be focusing on measuring and sharing our impact and becoming more vocal members of this crucial Alliance.

To find out more about Children’s University or our work as members of the FEA, do get in touch.

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