Over 40 Bromley schoolchildren were presented with awards by best-selling author, Martina Cole yesterday (6 October) in a special ‘graduation’ ceremony at London South East Colleges.

The children – from Raglan, Perry Hall and James Dixon primary schools – are all part of the Children’s University. This is a national programme which focuses on providing high quality, innovative learning opportunities outside of school and raising aspiration among 7-14 year olds.

Bromley College (now London South East Colleges) set up theBromley Children’s Universityin 2014 and today’s ceremony saw its first ‘graduates’ presented with awards, recognising their achievements and hard work.

AuthorMartina Coleis Chancellor of Bromley Children’s University and kindly presented certificates to each child. Addressing the children, parents and supporters, she said:

“It is wonderful to see young people achieving such great things at a very young age.

“The Children’s University is an excellent programme, as it opens up opportunities and activities as well as providing children with some real goals to work towards.

“I urge every child here today to set themselves big and exciting goals for your future. With hard work and determination, you can be anything you want to be. The world truly is your oyster and you are all making a great start.”

Throughout the past year, the children have undertaken a wealth of different activities ranging from chess, art and science clubs to local museum and wildlife centre visits.

When taking part in activities at an accredited ‘learning destinations’, children receive a stamp for each learning hour they complete. Once children reach 30 learning hours, they will receive a Bronze Award – and can go right up to a Gold Fellowship Award on the achievement of 1000 Learning hours.

Welcoming guests to the event,Vice Principal of London South East Colleges, Andrew Slade, said:

“Bromley College launched the Bromley Children’s University in 2014 and this is our very first Graduation.

“I would like to thank the head teachers and their schools who have committed time and resource into this programme – along with our other sponsors and supporters.

“We felt it very important to establish a local Children’s University as we wanted to make sure that young people in the local area are fully aware of the many exciting education and career options that will be open to them in the future

“With support from our university partner, Canterbury Christ church University, we hope to raise aspirations and ambitions of all the children here today and indeed, at other schools across the region. Well done to them all on their achievements and I wish them every success going forward.”

Head teacherof Perry Hall Primary School,MrsAngela Ward, added:

“This is such a wonderful opportunity for children to celebrate different kinds of learning through activities and clubs.

“Today’s event has not only made the children feel special but has opened their eyes to the many different ways they can learn beyond the classroom.”

Collecting her award,Keira Williams (9) from James Dixon Primary School said:

“I have been going to gymnastics club to gain most of my stamps. Today has been really fun and the best bit was going up on stage to collect my certificate.”

Tristan Stanbridge (10) from Perry Hall Primary School added:

“I have been going to all sorts of clubs including choir, orchestra and history club. I think the Children’s University really encourages people to do well and maybe go to university one day. I have enjoyed dressing up in the university gown. I hope to be a primary school teacher when I grow up.”

There are currently 90 local Children’s Universities operating around the UK, with around 100,000 children participating.

Each CU has a local Chancellor, of which Martina Cole is ours. Others include actor Warwick Davis, Olympic medallist, Nick Gillingham, musician Julian Lloyd Webber and many others.

For more information about Bromley Children’s Universityclick here. For more information about the national CU programmesclick here.

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