Pupils graduate from Aberdeen Children's University

More than 75 young people have graduated from Aberdeen’s first ever Children’s University following a special ceremony held at the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Hall.

Aberdeen Children’s University was set up in January 2015 with support from Children’s University Scotland and the ScottishPower Foundation to enable young people aged 7 to 14 to widen their skills and interests, while providing a new and innovative route towards further and higher education.

The first graduates attend local schools, including Mackie Academy, Dunnottar Primary, Arduthie Primary, Lairhillock Primary, Glenbervie Primary, Mill O’Forest Primary, Bervie Primary and Catterline Primary. Each pupil collected stamps in a ‘Passport to Learning’ while taking part in a wide range of learning activities, from gallery and museum visits, to drama, crafts, sports and further education in the classroom. The programme encourages children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to be inspired to take part in new challenges and activities. Youngsters are required to complete at least 30 hours of learning before their graduation.

55 pupils attended the graduation, with parents, teachers, university principals and staff and Aberdeen’s Deputy Lord Provost, Alison Evison, joining them to celebrate their achievements.

Ann Loughrey, Trustee and Executive Officer at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “The ScottishPower Foundation is committed to supporting young people in the advancement of their education and careers and we are delighted the Aberdeen Children’s University pilot has proven to be such a success. It is clear that the young people gain a great deal from their educational journey and furthering their education and we are very pleased to play a part in that.”

Children's University Scotland was the first project to be awarded funding by the ScottishPower Foundation when it was established in 2013. Aberdeen’s Children’s University is being undertaken in partnership with the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire local authorities. Local Children’s Universities now exist in Glasgow, Dundee, East and Midlothian, and Aberdeen with over 300 children graduating since its inauguration.

Mary De La Pena, Chief Executive of Children’s University Scotland, said: “This inaugural graduation of Dundee CU is another milestone in the expansion of Children’s University across Scotland, which is only made possible through the support of ScottishPower Foundation, other funders, and collective effort of our partner organisations, for which I am very grateful. Our aim is to encourage children to broaden their horizons, try new experiences that will inspire them to continue their learning journey and ultimately improve their life chances. Above all we want them to enjoy and have fun!”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee Councillor Alison Evison said: “Young people have been encouraged to participate in a range of experiences throughout the north east of Scotland and beyond. From sporting activities to visits to RSS Discovery, Dundee and Edinburgh Castle they have filled their Children’s University learning passports with many exciting activities. It is fantastic to see how far they have all come on their learning journey.

“I am sure that families and the whole community around Mackie Academy and its linked primary schools will be proud of what these young people have achieved. I congratulate all of those involved and wish them all success as I am sure the programme will have ignited a passion for learning.”

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “We at the University are delighted to be part of this fantastic initiative to foster a love of learning and raise the raise the aspiration of young people from all backgrounds to aim for a university experience.

“This wonderful event comes at the end of a week of celebrating the achievements of our ‘Class of 2015’, and I am sure that we will see many of today’s young graduates join our University community in years to come. I wish all the young people graduating from the Children’s University every success in their future learning and eventual career.”

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