University of Strathclyde: Young learners dressed for success at Children’s University graduation

School pupils from across Glasgow were suitably attired for their Children’s University graduation ceremony on Wednesday 8 June.

Almost 150 pupils from Dunard, Notre Dame, and St Rose of Lima Primary Schools, as well as Notre Dame High School, attended the ceremony at the University of Strathclyde’s Barony Hall wearing gowns and mortarboard graduate caps.

The young graduates were presented with certificates from Strathclyde’s Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald, who is also Chancellor of the Glasgow Children’s University, in recognition of the learning they have undertaken outside of the classroom in their own time. Pupils from Cuthbertson Primary also received certificates but were unable to attend the ceremony.

Jake Borland, P6, from St Rose of Lima Primary in Garthamlock, was presented with the ‘Samia Afzal Award for Outstanding Pupil Achievement’.

The award, in memory of the Strathclyde educational liaison officer who died aged just 25 in 2019, is given to a pupil who has demonstrated great determination, enthusiasm and achievements in learning.

Aileen Wilson, senior engagement and outreach officer at Strathclyde, said: “We created the annual Award for Outstanding Achievement to recognise a pupil that has not just simply logged a high number of credits but one that has pushed themselves out of their comfort zone to try new things, to learn new skills and to be an inspiration to others – just like Samia was.

“Jake has participated in every CU challenge that was created, he has persuaded his family to visit a wide variety of learning destinations and he has constantly amazed us by the sheer determination to reach his goal.”

Achievement and aspiration
Meghan Smith, P5 at St Rose of Lima, was also presented with an award from her school, also in memory of Samia, in recognition of her efforts with the Children’s University.

Headteacher Kathleen Shiels said: “We have been honoured to have been part of Glasgow Children’s University and we are committed to carrying on its message of achievement and aspiration in the future.”

The Children’s University (CU) recognises achievement which takes place outside normal school hours, including at weekends and school holidays. It runs nationwide through a network of centres that manage their activities locally.

Pupils gain credits through a ‘Passport to Learning’ and via an online platform, Aspire, for taking part in activities such as drama groups, sports teams or learning experiences at museums, parks and community centres.

The children’s learning is ‘connected’ to Higher Education course provision but need not be purely academic and is often about building practical skills.

Each activity is tagged with three skills ranging from leadership to numeracy and literacy, and children can progress through the system from undergraduate, post graduate and doctorate.

There are no tests or exams and the aim is to raise aspirations, boost achievement and encourage a love of learning while having fun.