We think this has been one of our best yet! Highlights include:
- 43,042 children and young people are registered with CU in Sheffield and have collectively gained 2,899,950 credits in total so far. That’s 444,534 hours that children and young people have taken part in during 2018, and an additional 3,000 children and young people who have started collecting CU credits during this year alone!
- There are now 230 Learning Destinations (and counting!) across Sheffield. 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 73 schools subscribed to Sheffield Children’s University. New additions include Stocksbridge Junior School, Brook House Junior School, Athelstan Primary School, Deepcar St John’s CE and Royd NI School.
- During 2018, Sheffield CU have given out nearly 7,000 Bronze Awards, 5,000 Silver Awards and have had a fabulous 2,900 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 Sheffield City Hall. That’s a further 10% increase in Gold Award winners when compared to last year. During March, we also to hosted our very first double ceremonies at Sheffield Hallam University, which meant we had two ceremonies taking place simultaneously! This continued in July, where we had our first ‘double, double’ ceremonies! This is a real testament to the ever growing number of Gold award winners in our city who show such fantastic commitment to learning in their own time!
- Back in March we were really excited to announce the strengthening of our partnership work with Sheffield Hallam University who approached our team early in the year with the hope of building 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 Sheffield Hallam University led social mobility partnership focused on improving attainment and raising aspiration in disadvantaged area. Practically, this has meant that Katie and Helen have spent 1 day a week each since March working with SHU to develop a business plan for a South Yorkshire Children’s University, including developing new CU centres in Rotherham and Barnsley and supporting the existing provision in Doncaster & Sheffield. This work is making excellent progress, and we are hopeful we will have some exciting news in the year, particularly around the new CU centres in development!
- We published our 2017 ‘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. Building on last year, 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: 2017 ‘Sheffield Children’s University – How does it make a difference?’
- Our ‘Project in a Box’ programme continues to thrive as we hosted both our Art in a box celebration event at the Sheffield Institute of Art alongside Ignite Imaginations. We were thrilled to provide so many children and young people from our schools with the opportunity to share skills, learn something new, AND have lots of fun too. We recently rolled out the 2018/19 programme and are proud to work in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University to deliver our ‘Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies’ project to 32 of our CU schools, which was developed after consultation with our CU schools who identified mental health and wellbeing as a gap in their provision. At the recent training session held at the Sheffield Institute for Education, there were 35 school staff who came to develop their skills in this area, and collect their box to deliver their brand new CU club in school. We look forward to the celebration event which will take place in June 2019!
- We hosted our very first 1000 hours graduation experience during November for the 25 recipients who have earned this special award, our Gold Fellowship for 1000 hours of learning in their own time. They were invited to experience a ‘real’ graduation during graduation week at Sheffield Hallam University and had the opportunity to follow the graduation journey of a student, try on University caps and gowns, were presented with outstanding achievement awards and had official photos and a toast. This opportunity was fantastically received by families and children and young people and we hope it’s something we are able to continue in future.
- Back at the beginning of the year, we funded 9 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 Film Review Club, a Road Safety Club, a Lego Club, an Art Club, a Movie Making Club and Forest School! 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 2018! We kicked off proceedings in style with a fantastic procession down the Moor with Concord Allstars, 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 activities. During the first three weeks of the hols, there were lots of FREE activities on offer from our fab Learning Destinations including Razzamataz Theatre Schools Sheffield, Ignite Imaginations, Zest, Fun Science, Imagination Gaming, A Mind Apart, Noodle Performance Arts and Sheffield Wildcats.
- We were thrilled to offer a number of new free opportunities for children and young people in the city to collect CU credits through our partnership work. These included taking part in the Sheffield BID Lego Bricktropolis trail in the summer and the Sheffield Christmas Trail and Santas workshop during December as well as a brand new theatre review activity developed in partnership with Sheffield Theatres. We also introduced our very special behind the scenes Fire Station tours in partnership with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, which were launched back in February. These were extremely popular and something we are looking to repeat in future!
- We moved from our Crookesmoor office into the Moorfoot Building over the summer and welcomed two new apprentices to our team, Katrina and Laura who will continue to work with us in the new year to ensure all children and young people in the city receive the CU credits and certificates and badges they have earned! We also said goodbye to Molly, who left our team in the summer for pastures new!
- We held our second Sheffield CU schools conference at Sheffield Manor Lodge 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. Cathy Sinclair from Sheffield Hallam University joined us to give the keynote speech and staff took part in a number of different workshops. Feedback was very positive and we hope to repeat our success in the summer of 2019 so watch this space!
- We continue to work closely with the national CU Trust and met with CU colleagues from across the country a number of times throughout the year to share practice and talk about all things CU! We also hosted and chaired a CU operational meeting at Nottingham Trent University where 23 CU centres across the country were represented, spoke at the CU Trust Trustees away day about our work here in Sheffield and with Sheffield Hallam and welcomed the chair of the CU Trust board of Trustees Richard Annandale to Sheffield too!
- And we are sure there will be lots more to celebrate in 2019!
We hope you enjoy the festive season, have a restful break and look forward to seeing you in the new year.
Katie, Helen, Sakina, Katrina, Laura and Dan
The Sheffield CU Team