Parents FAQs

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As a parent/carer of a CU Learner you are likely to have questions about your child’s involvement. To help you support your child to get the most from their involvement, we have compiled our most frequently asked questions. 

You should find that all Children’s Universities operate within these broad guidelines, but with some scope for locally agreed flexibility.

It is important to remember that participation in Learning Activities must be voluntary, take place outside the normal school day and at a Learning Destination.

Who stamps the Passport to Learning?

The school co-ordinator will oversee this for all school-led Learning Activities. Children are encouraged to take responsibility for handing their Passport to Learning in when asked. Activities need not be added separately each week – most schools update the Passport to Learning half termly or termly.

For activities at Public Learning Destinations children should normally have their Passport to Learning stamped by the learning provider. If this is not possible, the school co-ordinator can add the hours if provided with proof of participation.

What Learning Activities count?

Learning Activities must take place outside the normal school day, this includes before school, lunchtime and after school clubs, as well as weekend and holiday activities. Only activities at Learning Destinations which have been quality assured (validated) by us can be included.  

Schools will ensure children know which clubs are included. Public Learning Destinations can be found here.

How do I recommend an activity?

We welcome suggestions for new Public Learning Destinations. Most Children’s Universities have a simple form for parents and children to make recommendations.

The validation of Public Learning Destinations is managed through the local Children’s University Manager, and depending on their capacity this may take a little time. If you are interested in training as a volunteer validator, please contact your local Children’s University Manager.

Who decides how much time to include for each activity?

A recommended range or set number of hours is attached to each validated Learning Activity.

Our key principle is that the hours included relate to Learning within an activity, and will not necessarily include the whole session.  As an example a Youth Club meeting lasting 2 hours may only be eligible for 1 hour of Learning Activity to be recorded in the Passport to Learning as some of the session will be given over to socialising, an equally important part of the evening but not a formal learning experience.

How do I support my child to include a range of activities?

Encouraging children to try new activities and unfamiliar experiences, and promoting independence in learners is a key principle of Children’s University learning. Within any award there should be a mix of activities, ideally no more than a third of any award spent on a single activity.

For example:  A 30 hour CU Award could be made up of:

  • 10 hours of Swimming Club activities (practice, competitions, coaching)
  • 4 hours of Brownies (Badgework is the main focus of learning)
  • 10 hours of school clubs (e.g. Chess, Cookery)
  • 6 hours of music (tuition, practice, performance)
What about regular clubs and activities outside of school?

As well as signposting new activities, we also want to encourage children to become resilient and persevere with an activity they are good at.

Regular participation in validated uniformed organisations, sports clubs and teams, music practice and performance can all be included in the Passport to Learning.

To maintain the breadth of learning, individual clubs or groups should account for no more than 30 hours in any one school year, or ten hours per school term.

Invidualised and online learning programmes

Children’s University learning encourages children to explore learning beyond the confines of a classroom and the normal school day.

Primarily, we want to promote opportunities for children to learn together and we also recognise the benefits that children take from learning as individuals.  As with the examples above, these activities are limited to 30 hours in any one school year, or ten hours per school term.

How can my child take part if their school is not a member of Children’s University?

Some local Children’s Universities have the capacity to offer individual Child Membership to children who are not able to join through their local school.

This “open” membership enables children to use their Passport to Learning at Public Learning Destinations or any locally organised Children’s University Learning Activities.

To find out whether your local Children's University runs an individual membership, contact them directly. You can search for your location here

How does the passport work with Home Educated children?

Home Educated children can use their Passport to Learning in the same way, with the obvious exception of school-based Learning Activities.

In keeping with the Children’s University principles of encouraging collaborative learning beyond the “classroom”, parent-led, home-based activities for individual children cannot be validated.

Learning Activities can be validated if provided for groups of children, up to a maximum of 30 hours on a single activity in any one year (see question 5 and the following example).

Example: Sarah is home educated and attends a Mad Science Learning Activity, alongside other Home Educated learners, for 2 hours each week. Whilst Sarah may participate, over the course of 30 weeks, in 60 hours of Mad Science activities, a maximum of 30 hours can be counted towards a CU Award in any one Membership year.

What about activities with faith organisations?

Children’s University Learning Activities must be open to all, and we do not include in the Passport to Learning instructional classes based on adherence to a single faith.

Where activities are voluntary, open to those of all faiths and none, and encourage children to explore faith and beliefs more broadly, they may be considered for validation. 

How does Children’s University work with Supplementary Schools?

Activities offered through Supplementary Schools, provided they are open to children of all cultures, can also be considered for inclusion in the Passport to Learning.

Where can I find further information?

Your local Children’s University Manager is the best person to answer any other questions on the Passport to Learning which you may have.

If your Children’s University Manager is not able to help you, please contact CU Trust at contactus@childrensuniversity.co.uk