Monday, 17 May 2021

Planning your Spring Bank Holiday fun?

Are you looking for activities to keep you entertained during the Spring Bank holidays? Well, look no further because the Sheffield Children's University Passport activity newsletter is now available! 
As well as a set of brand NEW Sheffield CU holiday home learning challenges, you can find details of activities from our Learning Destinations and a full list of them all at the end of this newsletter.
With the libraries not quite fully operational, we know it might be difficult to get your hands on a Sheffield CU Passport to Learning at the moment. Worry not though, you can now order these online from us directly. Just click here: These Passports will cost £4.50 (incl. postage). Due to restricted access to our offices at the moment, there is likely to be a delay in postage but we aim to send them out as soon as possible!

So, what are you waiting for? Click the link to start planning your holiday fun now!

Monday, 22 March 2021

Planning your Easter fun?

The Sheffield Children's University Passport activity newsletter for the Easter holiday is now available! 

You find a copy of the newsletter here:

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our Learning Destinations are still not quite running activities as normal, but we’re excited to see just how many activities ARE going ahead this Easter! Some of them are being delivered remotely while others will be delivered in a Covid-secure, face-to-face way. CU credits can be earned by taking part in all their activities and Learning Destinations will be sending us their CU registers as usual. In addition, there are a number of Learning Destinations who have developed online, downloadable activities so keep an eye on their websites and social media for more info. You can find a list of all our Learning Destinations at the end of this newsletter.

There are also links to our very own Sheffield CU home learning challenges, and some brand new Easter ones too! There is currently no time limit to taking part in these, and no order in which to do these so feel free to pick and chose as you like!

With the libraries closed, we know it’s difficult for families to get a Sheffield CU Passport to Learning at the moment. However, we are really pleased to announce that you can now order these online from us directly. Here is the link that can be shared: These Passports will cost £4.50 (incl. postage). Due to restricted access to our offices at the moment, there is likely to be a short delay in postage but we aim to send them out as soon as possible!

Friday, 18 December 2020

Winter-themed Home Learning Challenge!

Hooray! The holidays are here and we hope you're looking forward to some rest, relaxation and fun with your families.

We thought we'd create some Home Learning Challenges to keep those brains ticking over (fun learning never stops with CU!), so here's a collection of winter-themed activities, each worth 1 CU credit.

There's a recipe to bake some simple cookies (we KNOW they're a favourite of a certain man who wears red! 🎅🍪), create a Christmas card 🎄, go on a scavenger hunt walk around your neighbourhood, create a family cinema night at home 🎬🎫🍿, and why not finish off with a New Year's resolution 🎆?

You can download a copy of the Winter CU Home Learning Challenge here:

To claim your CU credits, you'll need a Passport to Learning, and don't forget to complete your Learning Reflection Diary (there's a copy at the end of the challenge), and email it with evidence of your learning (we love your photos and videos!) to

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year, and we look forward to awarding thousands more CU credits in 2021!

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Celebrating 2020

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


2020 has certainly been a year like no other! It’s brought so many challenges and difficulties for us all, but as we reflect back, there have been some opportunities too. Sheffield CU is built on the belief that learning can take place anywhere, including at home and online too, and our children, families, schools and Learning Destinations have proven just that! 

We have been truly amazed by the resilience, positivity, commitment and kindness shown by the amazing children and young people of our city and our families, schools, partners, Learning Destinations and fellow keyworkers. We feel so proud to have been able to continue to provide what support we could and to roll out a few new developments of our own too. We look forward to 2021 and hopefully welcoming and celebrating the commitment and achievements of our amazing CU members at one of our real life award ceremonies as soon as possible!

In the meantime, here’s our Sheffield CU year in numbers…

  • 46,159 children and young people with CU credits in Sheffield
  • 3,536,887 CU credits awarded so far – with over 200,000 hours added in 2020
  • 2,862 out of school activities registered with us in 2020 (and counting!). This is actually more than last year’s figure, and clearly demonstrates the commitment to learning shown by Sheffield children and young people, even when at home and taking part in home learning challenges!
  • 64 schools signed up and engaged with Sheffield Children’s University
  • 236 Learning Destinations (approved activity providers) participating across Sheffield. 25 brand new Learning Destinations have been added in 2020 with many activity providers adapting their delivery and working in new innovative COVID secure ways!
  • 2,000 Gold awards, 3,000 Silver & 3,700 Bronze awards have been issued during 2020. There have been an amazing 93,000 CU Awards issued since 2008 proving just how talented and committed Sheffield children, young people and families are to their out of school learning!  
  • 3 brand new virtual ceremony experiences were rolled out to our award winners who couldn’t attend a real life ceremony due to lockdown and COVID restrictions. Children and young people were invited to take part in a new ‘Create your own CU ceremony’ home learning challenge and then watch a Sheffield CU virtual ceremony video. The home learning challenge encouraged our award winners people to invite their families to celebrate with them, make special refreshments to enjoy, create their own stage, and make their mortarboard to throw, whilst the ceremonies were full of special speeches from VIPs such as the Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, children’s author David Walliams and HM Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Andrew Coombe. It also had special performances from schools, Sheffield Music Hub and experiments, activities and a specially written poem too. Follow the link here to see the video we created to celebrate our first ever virtual ceremony and our award winners achievements:
  • Over 100 Sheffield CU home learning challenges were created by the team and published daily from March 2020 to provide support to children, young people, families and schools during this extraordinary time. Challenges included creating their own obstacle course, making memory maps, garden bug hunts, creating their own comic book, learning sign language, doing superhero yoga, making their own cook book, creating a museum at home, writing poetry and many, many more! Check out our celebratory video created back in June:
  • 10 Learning Destinations delivered 68 free taster sessions as part of the 6th annual Sheffield CU Festival of Fun in the summer holidays. Collectively, they offered over 1,800 bookable places for children and families (many more required no booking at all!) to participate in activities from dance, drama and music, to gaming, arts and crafts and outdoor learning.  While many of the activities were online or remote learning, some were delivered in 'real life' in a Covid-secure way such as guided walks and trails.
  • 29 schools are taking part in our 2020 Year of the Nurse Project in a Box to help inspire our children and young people to become the nurses of the future! We have been working with the Clinical Educator for Weston Park Hospital, Cherie Rushton, to develop this year’s project and sessions include exploring the history of nursing as well as challenging stereotypes of nursing as a career. The children who take part will also learn about the body, what happens when things go wrong (for example with allergies) and see what life is like through the eyes of a nurse working on a ward, in a clinic and in the community. There is even an opportunity for the children to learn some basic first aid too. The project will also include supplementary resources with colleagues from Sheffield Hallam University, to help give children an insight into studying nursing as a career, as well as forming a link between the school pupils and current and alumni nursing students.
  • 1 ‘Sheffield CU – How does it make a difference?’ report was published, which provides detailed evidence of the impact of Children’s University in Sheffield. This built on our previous reports and included in-depth analysis of the positive impact of participation in CU activities on attainment, attendance and progress, as well as anecdotal evidence of impact through a number of case studies.  
  • 8 essential life skills defined by Skills Builder (such as leadership, creativity, problem solving and listening) that children and young people develop by taking part in CU activities are now being identified by schools and Learning Destinations and tracked by our Sheffield CU database. These skills have been recognised as those that everyone needs to help them succeed in education and life as well as almost any job so being able to develop and provide evidence of them through Children's University will support children and young people succeed in their future employment too. CU schools also now receive brand new monthly home learning challenges focused on developing each of the 8 essential skills which are shared regularly with children and families.
  • 10 activities were funded through the Sheffield CU 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 baking club, table tennis, arts and crafts, switch club, rock art, board game club and bee club.
  • 2 South Yorkshire CU network meetings, which brought together existing CU centres in Sheffield and Doncaster as well as the brand new CU centre in Rotherham for the first time took place this year. This work, funded by the Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, and led by Katie and Helen through Sheffield Hallam University aims to create a brand new regional CU partnership to create even more opportunities for the children and families of South Yorkshire. Watch this space for more developments in 2021!
  • And a partridge in a pear treeeee! 

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 continuing to support our work and ensuring the children and young people of our wonderful city are celebrated and rewarded for their achievements, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

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

Merry Christmas!

Katie, Helen, Sakina, Laura and Amy

The Sheffield CU Team

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

North Star 'People's Picture' - Home Learning Activity!

Do you have a child who LOVES all things STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and maths)? Then here are some activities which will really get them thinking. It’s ideal for secondary-age pupils but might be OK for Key Stage 2 pupils with a little help.

North Star Science School
are leading the way to bring communities together from across the region by celebrating a love of science with an interactive galaxy. Science is everywhere – from the moment the sun rises, right through to the stars in the night sky. It inspires, helps save lives, challenges us and educates which is why it’s important we celebrate science itself and the brilliant minds behind it whenever we can.

As part of a recent North Star event, the People’s Picture was created. The People’s Picture is a photography and design studio from British artist Helen Marshall. People were asked to submit photos that show why science is important to them. The finished interactive picture is made up of thousands of of those photos, yet every single one tells a story. Zoom in for a closer look!

‘North Star: a People’s Picture’ has created an interactive artwork aiming to bring people together to celebrate a love of science and the great minds who have charted a course through innovation in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. The final piece (pictured) was revealed at the North Star event earlier this month and also contains links to additional learning resources from the live event – here’s where CU comes in, as North Star is a validated Learning Destination!

Visit their website: Have a go at zooming in, and looking at all the pictures of science inspiration that were sent in! Click on the orange stars within the image, and you’ll be led to a range of activities (from testing the speed of sound using toilet rolls, to expanding vegetables and measuring pendulum swings!). There are also some stars with information about the expert scientists who were involved in the event.

Have fun completing any of the activities from the People’s Picture links (click on the orange stars), then complete a CU Home Learning Reflection Diary (download it from and email it to with some evidence of your learning for each activity (e.g. photos of you doing the activities or your finished work, video, etc.). We’ll award 1 CU credit for each activity completed. Remember to include your Passport to Learning number (you’ll find this on the first page) on your reflection diary!

Friday, 16 October 2020

Planning your October half term fun?

The Sheffield Children's University Passport home learning activity newsletter for the October half term holiday is now available!

You can find the newsletter here:

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting Government guidance, some of our Learning Destinations are not running as they normally would. However, many are delivering their activities in a different way, using platforms such as Zoom and Youtube which is great to see! Please do check with them directly about this as CU credits can still be earned by taking part in these activities (as normal, or virtually) and Learning Destinations will be sending us registers as usual. You can find a full list of all our Learning Destinations in the newsletter.

There are also links to our very own Sheffield CU home learning challenges! If you would like to take part in any of the challenges, we have collated details on them all into the newsletter. There is currently no time limit, and no order in which to do these so feel free to pick and chose as you like! 

With the libraries closed, we know its difficult to get a Sheffield CU Passport to Learning at the moment. We are really pleased to announce that you can now order these online from us directly!
Please click here and make sure you provide all details:

Passports will cost £4.50 (incl. postage). Due to restricted access to our offices at the moment, we will post these out as soon we have access, but please do bear with us as there is likely to be a delay! 

Friday, 9 October 2020

Celebrating our individual Passport to Learning members!

We have some exciting news to share, and what better day to share it than a Friday?!

First, a few questions... Does your child collect CU credits in your Passport to Learning at Learning Destinations across the city? Is their school not currently subscribed to Sheffield CU? If your answer is YES to both these questions, then please keep reading!!!

Each year in May and October, we welcome over 2000 of our individual Passport members to celebrate their achievements at one of our gold award ceremonies. Around these times, we also send any Bronze and Silver awards earned to home addresses.

During 2020, we haven’t been able to host our ceremonies as normal due to COVID restrictions and access to our offices has been strictly limited, meaning we have been unable to create award certificates as normal too.

We have had to think outside the box and whilst it's taken a little while to create something new, one thing is for certain - NOTHING stops us from celebrating our award winners, not even a pandemic! We are thrilled to announce that during October, we will host our first virtual award ceremony for our individual Passport members!

If your child collects CU credits using a Passport only (and doesn’t currently attend a CU school) and is eligible to receive one of our Gold awards for 100, 200, 300 hrs etc, you will soon be receiving a letter through the post inviting you and your child to take part in our special virtual ceremony experience! If your child is eligible to receive a Silver or Bronze award at this time, these will also be created and sent next month.

ALL the information you need is on your invitation letter, so please read it VERY carefully and make sure you email us by the deadline of Friday 23rd October to take part!

We can’t wait to celebrate with you!!! 🥳🤩🎈🎊🎓