Monday, 9 July 2018

Planning your summer fun?

The Children's University Passport to Learning newsletter which includes details of activities happening across Sheffield during the summer holidays is now available!

As well as our fantastic FREE Festival of Fun, our Learning Destinations are also delivering lots of fabulous activities right through the summer, where you can collect CU credits. We have pulled together this information into our summer activity newsletter, which you can view HERE or by clicking the link on the right of the page! This is our biggest EVER newsletter, packed full of exciting activities so make sure you check it out!

Children and young people who take along a Passport to Learning to all the activities listed in the newsletter will be able to earn additional CU credits at these activities. These are available from Sheffield libraries, and some Learning Destinations across the city. There's also an up to date list and contact details of our validated Learning Destinations.

For all the latest Festival of Fun info and updates:

Find us on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter: @SheffieldCU ‪‬

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Sheffield CU Festival of Fun 2018 is here!

Your go-to place for over 45 exciting and FREE activities for children to try IS HERE.  From forest school to arts and crafts, sports and martial arts to gaming, performing arts to yoga, and from science to fire station visits and treasure hunts, we're sure there'll be something to excite you all.

You can download a copy of the programme here:   

Many of the activities require booking in advance so you'll need to contact the Learning Destinations directly, using the details on the leaflet. However, to give everyone a fair chance, booking will OPEN ON 14th JULY so get your diaries at the ready.

Of course, not all of the activities require booking - some are 'drop in' so feel free to call in where you see these activities taking place.  To take part in the Festival of Fun activities, children MUST be in Reception Year or above currently, and at a SHEFFIELD school.  They must also have a CU Passport to Learning. 

Haven't got yours yet? Don't panic! You can buy one from any Sheffield library (£3.50 each). Parents/carers must sign the consent sticker in the front but you DON'T need to register the Passport to Learning anywhere. A Passport to Learning enables you to collect CU credits at any of our Learning Destinations in Sheffield beyond the CU Festival of Fun. And don't forget, there are thousands of Learning Destinations across the country, waiting for you to explore and collect CU credits for doing so.

We'll be kicking off our Sheffield CU Festival of Fun with a very special launch event at The Moor Market Sheffield​ on SATURDAY 21st JULY - watch this space for more information but pop along with your Passport to Learning to say 'Hi', have a go at a few activities, collect some CU credits and find out about all the fab activities happening across the summer.

We can't wait to get going!

*PLEASE NOTE: there is one amend to the leaflet:

Sheffield Wildcats RHC​ are running their intro to roller skating and basic roller hockey skills on MONDAY 23rd JULY 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm and NOT Wednesday 1st August (they just couldn't wait to get started any longer!)

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Planning your Spring Bank fun?

Are you looking for some exciting activities to do over the Spring Bank holidays where you can also collect CU credits using your Passport to Learning?

The Children's University Passport to Learning newsletter which includes details of activities happening across Sheffield during the Spring Bank holiday is now available. Visit to start planning your Spring fun!

Children and young people who take along a Passport to Learning to all the activities listed in the newsletter will be able to earn additional CU credits by taking part. There's also an up to date list and contact details of our validated Learning Destinations. If you don't have a Passport to Learning yet, don't worry! You can pop into any local library across the city and buy one for £3.50!

To keep up to date with all things CU you can also find us on Facebook, and Twitter!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The future looks bright for South Yorkshire!

We just wanted to provide you with a little update on some very exciting developments here at Sheffield CU! Hopefully you are aware that we are always trying to maximise the impact of Sheffield CU and develop opportunities for all. At the same time, we are committed to maintaining our work and the high quality service we have developed and delivered over years, which is accredited at the highest level of the QiSS quality award. We have always done our utmost to grow CU locally and regionally, but capacity needs to grow to support this work and this has been more than a little challenging in the current climate. However, an exciting opportunity has arisen! Back in December we were approached by Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) who want to build on our excellent practice, reputation, knowledge and expertise to develop a South Yorkshire Children’s University.

This work is part of South Yorkshire Futures (, a SHU led partnership focused on improving attainment and raising aspiration in disadvantaged areas. Practically, this means Katie and Helen will spend 1 day a week each for 1 year working with SHU to develop a business plan for a South Yorkshire CU which will support the work of Sheffield and the existing CU in Doncaster, and help develop a Barnsley and Rotherham CU too!

Hopefully it’s clear that there are many benefits to this work! Being part of a high profile flagship
Sheffield Hallam University initiative which is supported by the Department for Education puts Sheffield CU at the heart of this exciting development and allows us access to other strands of work involved in South Yorkshire Futures including fundraising opportunities. It also strengthens the strategic partnership between Sheffield City Council and the University and other key partners and allows us to working closely with strategic leaders of other South Yorkshire local authorities to develop provision.

Of course, Sheffield CU is and will remain our priority. We are very passionate about our work and Sheffield CU is our family! It is only because of the success and glowing reputation of Sheffield CU that we are able to grab this opportunity and we certainly would not let anything compromise our work and service we provide. Therefore, our service will not change as a result of this development, it will only mean Katie and Helen will be out of the office one day a week to project manage this work. Sakina, Molly and our new apprentice will be on hand during this day though, and we are confident they can help troubleshoot any issues or pass them on to us on our return. We are really hopeful that this will bring lots of opportunity for us, as well as our schools, Learning Destinations, partners and children and families and hope you join in our excitement and enthusiasm for this project!

We are sure there will be lots of interest as we move to developing and launching a CU in Rotherham and Barnsley which will mean children from across our region can collect CU credits. We will provide further updates throughout the coming months, so do keep an eye on our Facebook page!

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Planning your Easter Fun?

Are you planning your Easter fun? The Children's University Passport to Learning newsletter which includes details of activities happening across Sheffield during the Easter is now available!

Click HERE, or the link at the side of this blog to start planning now!

Children and young people who take along a Passport to Learning to all the activities listed in the newsletter will be able to earn additional CU credits at these activities. There's also an up to date list and contact details of our validated Learning Destinations. If you don't have a Passport to Learning yet, don't worry! You can pop into Sheffield libraries across the city and buy one for the bargain price of £3.50!

 Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all things Sheffield CU!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Celebrating 2017!

The festive season is upon us and the year is drawing to a close, and there is only one thing to do.


We think this has been one of our best yet! Highlights include:
  • 40,293 children and young people are registered with CU in Sheffield and have collectively gained 2,455,416 credits in total so far. That’s 464,603 hours that children and young people have taken part in during 2017, and an additional 4,000 children and young people who have started collecting CU credits during this year alone!
  • We reached another significant milestone back in March and were very proud to announce that children and young people in Sheffield had clocked up over 2 million hours of voluntary learning in their own time, all tracked and rewarded by Sheffield CU. We celebrated this at our March award ceremonies, presenting Georgia Taylor from Southey Green with the 2 millionth hour on behalf of the children of Sheffield. We were overwhelmed with all the positive feedback and press coverage we received, and can’t wait to reach the next million which we hope will happen during the first half of 2018
  • There are now 209 Learning Destinations (and counting!) across Sheffield. This year, to our family of Learning Destinations, we have added a number of new organisations including 33rd Sheffield Scout Group, 54th Sheffield (St Luke's Rainbows, Brownies and Guides), 57th Fulwood Rainbows, 61st Sheffield Scouts, 267th Dore Beavers, 273rd Handsworth Beavers, Cubs & Scouts, Bradi Lea Dance Company, Chapeltown Amateur Swimming Club, Dan Johnson Drum Lessons, Foresteers, Foxhill Forum, From Small Seeds Children's Yoga, Fulwood Sports Club (Squash Coaching), Fun Science – Sheffield, KUMON, Lauren McCaslin School of Theatre Dance, Learn Spanish with Liz, Little Sheffield, Music City Music School, Phoenix Gymnastics Academy, Sheffield Academy of Martial Arts, Sheffield Bridge Club, Sheffield Wednesday, Silverwood Music School, SoccerEds/EvoSoccer, Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre, Tom Warner (percussion), Wild Spirit Allstars and Wild Wood Activities. We have also been revalidating a large number of providers that have been involved for over 3 years to ensure they were able to keep their Learning Destination status. This is an important part of our work to ensure all CU credits received at our Learning Destinations are earned by taking part in good quality out of school structured learning right across the board.
  • There are currently 70 schools subscribed to Sheffield Children’s University. New additions include Halfway Infant School, Hallam Primary School and Becton School, with 5 more on the waiting list to start in the new year! We were also thrilled that 99% of our CU schools chose to re-subscribe this year, which is our highest ever retention rate!
  • During 2017, Sheffield CU have given out nearly 6,000 Bronze Awards, 4,000 Silver Awards and have had a fabulous 2,733 Gold Award winners who have been invited to attend one of our fantastic award ceremonies at the Town Hall, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and EISS. That’s a further 26% increase in Gold Award winners when compared to last year (which saw a 26% increase too!). During November, we were really excited to host our very first ceremonies at the English Institute of Sport in partnership with Sheffield International Venues. They were our biggest ceremonies yet as during this month alone, we created nearly 3,000 awards for our fantastic CU members! 
  • We were really excited to launch our brand new Award Certificates in September. Developed by the national CU Trust, they have been updated to a more modern design and now include a foil imprint. Whilst the framework remains the same in terms of award intervals (e.g. 30hrs Bronze, 65hrs Silver, 100hrs Gold etc), the design is very different to our previous awards, and has been very well received by our award winners and their families at our Autumn ceremonies!
  • We were very proud to successfully maintain our Advanced Quality in Study Support (QiSS) status during the summer. QiSS is a national quality assurance framework that schools and learning organisations can utilise to demonstrate that they deliver high quality provision that makes a real difference to children, young people and families. The achievement of the three quality marks demonstrates excellence in a variety of areas including raising attainment and achievement and engaging learners with a variety of needs. The Sheffield CU team previously received Advanced status (the final level of a 3 step award system) back in June 2014 after a very rigorous external validation process. In order to maintain our Advanced status which expired after 3 years, we were tasked with building another portfolio which provided evidence of how we have continued to develop a high quality service. We also demonstrated how we developed our Advanced practice even further by leading training and strategically supporting our area of work at local and national levels. 
  • We published our 2016 ‘Sheffield Children’s University – How does it make a difference?’ report which contains in-depth analysis of the impact of participation in CU activities on attainment and attendance, and progress measures, as well as anecdotal evidence of impact through a number of case studies. For the first time, this report also included a detailed look at new performance measures as well as examining the impact on the most vulnerable children and young people in the city. Findings from this report are again very positive and provide further evidence of the clear link between participation in CU activities and academic performance and attendance, reflecting findings of annual reports produced in Sheffield since 2009. For more details, or to view a copy of the report, please visit:
  • Our ‘Project in a Box’ programme continues to thrive as we hosted both our Gardening box celebration event in Norfolk Park, and Samba Day at Sheffield City Hall during the summer term. We were thrilled to provide over 400 children from 35 schools with the opportunity to share skills, learn something new, AND have lots of fun too. We also created Sheffield’s largest Samba band on the City Hall steps! We recently rolled out the 2017/18 programme and are proud to work in partnership with Ignite Imaginations to deliver our ‘Art in a Box’ project to 30 of our CU schools. At the recent schools twilight training event held at the Sheffield Institute for Art, there were 38 school staff who came to develop their skills, a record turn out!
  • Back at the beginning of the year, we funded over 20 new out of school activities in our CU schools through our Acorn Fund which enables children and young people to bid for funds to develop, sustain or re-invigorate a CU activity in school. Activities funded in this round included a Lego Construction Club, Archery Club, Sensory Club, Gymnastics, an Animation Club and a Climbing/Bouldering Club! Applications to our Acorn Fund for this academic year are currently beginning accepted until mid January so we look forward to reading lots more applications very soon!
  • The Sheffield CU Festival of Fun was back and bigger and better than ever in 2017! We kicked off proceedings in style with a fantastic procession down the Moor with Razzamataz Theatre School Sheffield, ending in the Moor Market with a marketplace full of providers and a number of special taster sessions. There was also a Moor Market quiz and lots of maypole dancing too! During the first three weeks of the hols, there were lots of FREE activities on offer from our fab Learning Destinations including Awesome Walls, Sheffield Hallam University, Greentop Circus, Arches Sports Partnership, Sheffield Star Mandarin School and Amanda Holland School of Dance
  • We held our very first Sheffield CU schools conference at Kelham Island Industrial Museum during the summer term. Developed in response to feedback from school staff, it was an inspiring full day session that aimed to support staff in the development and delivery of CU in schools. Helen O’Donnell joined us from the CU Trust to give the keynote speech and staff took part in a number of workshops and were able to visit a Learning Destination marketplace to get ideas to take back into school. Feedback was very positive and we hope to repeat our success in the summer of 2018 so watch this space!
  • Free CU LIVE! activities have been taking place during the holidays, with some fabulous activities from Imagination Gaming, Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University Outreach team and The University of Sheffield Student Union volunteering to name but a few! CU LIVE! will be back next year, and will be coming to a venue near you! This will kick off with a very special Sheffield Science Saturday delivered by our friends at Sheffield Volunteering and the student societies on 24th February 2018. More info will be available early in the new year.
  • We continue to work closely with the national CU Trust and met with CU colleagues from across the country back in November to discuss national developments. We were also very proud to see CEO of the CU Trust Helen O’Donnell deliver a fantastic TED talk as part of TEDxNantwich. The speech entitled ‘ Whose job is it to educate our children?’ really highlights the importance of encouraging and inspiring children to learn outside of the classroom. View it here:
  • And we are sure there will be lots more to celebrate in 2018! 
Finally, we want to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to you, along with all our colleagues, schools, Learning Destinations and partners for supporting our work and ensuring the children and young people of our wonderful city are celebrated and rewarded for their achievements.

We hope you enjoy the festive season, have a restful break and look forward to seeing you in the new year.

Merry Christmas!

Katie, Helen O, Sakina, Helen N and Molly

The Sheffield CU Team

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Planning your October fun?

There are some spooky happenings all across Sheffield this October half term - have you planned your holiday fun yet?

The October Children's University Passport to Learning newsletter which includes details of activities across Sheffield happening during the October half term is now available! Click HERE or the link on the side of these page to start planning now!

Children and young people who take along a Passport to Learning will be able to earn additional CU credits at these activities. There's also a list and contact details of our validated Learning Destinations.

During October 2017, there will be a number of FREE CU LIVE! activities taking place in the Moor Market. Please see the newsletter for more details!