Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Celebrating 2014!

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


Highlights this year include:

· Over 26,800 children and young people are registered with CU and have collectively gained 1,255,842 credits in total so far. That’s 311,569 hours that children and young people have taken part in during 2014, and nearly 4,500 children and young people who have started collecting CU credits this year.

· We celebrated a very special milestone – since CU began in the city, the children and young people of Sheffield have clocked up over 1 MILLION HOURS of learning in their own time. Follow this link to view our special celebratory video:

· Sheffield CU achieved QiSS (Quality in Study Support) Advanced status, the final level of a 3 step award, after a very rigorous external validation process during the summer. We were thrilled to achieve this prestigious accolade which demonstrates that we deliver quality provision that makes a real difference to children and young people. The achievement of the three quality marks evidences excellence in a variety of areas including raising attainment and achievement and engaging learners with a variety of needs.

· There are now 124 Learning Destinations (and counting!) across Sheffield. This now includes Sheffield International Venues who joined in June and accredit all taught lessons across their 9 sites. Other new additions include Awesome Walls, Chapeltown Karate Club, Sheffield Young Carers, Constance Dance Centre, Sheffield Star Mandarin School and Sheffield Sea Cadets. We have also begun a process of re-validation for those providers who have been Learning Destinations for over 3 years.

· During 2014, Sheffield CU have given out nearly 4,500 Bronze Awards, 3,000 Silver Awards and have had a fabulous 1,484 Gold Award winners who have been invited to the Town Hall or Universities to receive their Award.

· There are currently 63 schools subscribed to Sheffield Children’s University. New additions include: Oasis Academy Fir Vale, Oasis Academy Watermead, Greengate Lane, Bankwood, Grenoside, Mosborough, Brunswick, Sacred Heart, Lound Academy, Totley All Saints, St. Mary’s Catholic, Gleadless, Arbourthorne and St Mary’s CE.

· A policy for engagement with Home Educated children and young people has now been developed so they are able to collect credits for their ‘out of school’ activities. We have had the first few families sign up to this scheme and look forward to welcoming lots more!

· Our team has appointed a new apprentice to join the Sheffield CU ranks. Cara Clarke will join us early in the new year and will work alongside Sakina Kingswood inputting data and producing award certificates.

· The Sheffield CU Forest School programme has grown significantly during 2014 with 240 Lydgate Junior school children taking part in 6 weeks of woodland adventures. Our lovely Helen has worked with 120 Y6 children also from Lydgate, each spending a day learning how to cook on a fire in a woodland setting, including a very tasty vegetable stew! The Autumn term saw delivery of 6 sessions to FS2 and Y1 classes at Totley All Saints. Activities included treasure hunts, leaf bingo, bug hunts and cooking pizzas! Early plans are now being drawn up for a Forest School skills sharing session, building on the Forest School project in a box some of our CU schools took part in last year. This session is planned for late Spring/early Summer – details will be provided in the new year.

· This year’s ’project in a box’ a Games Compendium developed in partnership with our friends at Imagination Gaming, has been a fantastic success! 25 boxes were made available exclusively to our CU schools and included everything needed to deliver at least a 6 week programme of out of school gaming sessions. The boxes were snapped up by our schools who will be brought together to take part in special Games Tournaments which will take place at Gleadless Primary School, Malin Bridge Primary School and Chaucer School in the new year.

· There are have over 30 successful applications to the Acorn Fund. This initiative was launched last year and gives each CU school the opportunity to bid for up to £250 of grant funding to create, grow or sustain a CU out of school activity. The application must come from students in school, as the idea is to encourage and empower children and young people to become fully involved in the development of activities in school, as well as interacting with school staff and their peers to survey need, identify gaps and consider sustainability. Clubs funded during the Autumn term include Horticultural Club, Lego Club, Archaeology Club, Puppet Club and Radio Club.

· Free CU LIVE! activities have been taking place during the holidays, with some fabulous activities from Imagination Gaming, Museums Sheffield, The University of Sheffield 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 February 28th in the Winter Garden. More info will be available early in the new year.

· February Freebie will be back and bigger than ever in 2015! There are currently 38 (and counting!) FREE CU activities for children and young people who have a Passport to Learning will be happening across the city during the February half term. Look out for leaflets and posters which will be available early in the New Year! 

And we are sure there will be lots more to celebrate in 2015!

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, Helen N and Sakina

The Sheffield CU Team

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