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Planting Acorns: Building a Children's University in Stoke on Trent.

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Presentation on theme: "Planting Acorns: Building a Children's University in Stoke on Trent."— Presentation transcript:

1 Planting Acorns: Building a Children's University in Stoke on Trent

2 Aims of Stoke Childrens University To raise aspirations toward higher education and lifelong learning through the recognition of quality out of school and extra curricula activities for children aged 7 – 14 years. This will be achieved through: Affiliation to the National Childrens University network Nationally recognised validation of existing provision through Childrens University (CU) Planning for Learning Framework Development and validation of new provision in collaboration with local and national partners Nationally recognised certification awarded to learners Graduation Award ceremonies hosted by Staffordshire University for children, families and carers

3 Additional Benefits Fostering and nurturing of deeper collaboration and networking across education providers in the sub-region. Fostering of links between third sector, private sector and public sector stakeholders in the sub-region. Promotion of extra-curricula activities focusing on local cultural identities and sense of place. Specific targeting of children and young people resident in the sub regions most deprived areas. Contribute to LA Children and Young People Plan targets

4 How? To date Staffordshire University has taken the lead role in establishing Stoke Childrens University The University has successfully bid for funding to the National CU to support a project officer post for one year (Circa £28,000.) The University is contributing £37,277, in overheads, on costs, CU Manager salary, line management, materials, travel expenses, etc

5 Project Officer Role (from March 2009) In partnership with CU Manager Validate local out of school provision & providers for Stoke CU Establish and maintain databases of providers and provision Collaborate with CU Manager and other partners in development of funding bids Delivery of briefing sessions to partners, & other stakeholders Aid partners and colleagues in creation of new modules Facilitate wider networking to aid development of Stoke CU Contribute to marketing of CU

6 Progress to Date –Chancellor Professor Christine King CBE, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Deputy Lieutenant of Staffordshire was invited to become Chancellor of Stoke Childrens University. The offer was accepted and Professor King will act as a non-executive figurehead for the Stoke Childrens University.

7 Progress in – Validation We have validated some provision with the following : Wedgwood Museum Stoke Museums: Potteries, Gladstone Pottery and Etruria Industrial museums and Ford Green Hall Stoke on Trent Libraries Stoke City Football club Ambassador Theatre Group (Regent Theatre and Victoria Hall) We are in discussion with a range of other providers concerning validation. New Vic Theatre Port Vale Football Club These providers can now display the National CU quality mark. Children taking part in validated activities can count these toward CU Certification and graduation.

8 Progress in products – Values Exchange The Values Exchange (VX) is an innovative software application developed by Professor Seedhouse in New Zealand. Originally developed to aid ethical decision making for healthcare professionals, the software has been adapted for broader use and is used extensively through schools in Australia. Staffordshire University currently hold a licence to use VX and have adapted its use for undergraduate and post-graduate study across a range of disciplines. Staffordshire University, the Stoke Childrens University Project Officer and Professor Seedhouse are currently developing a bespoke VX application for piloting within Stoke. If the pilot is successful the CUVX will be rolled out nationally subject to funding.

9 Progress in – Staff Development Staffordshire University has a suite of validated community learning provision that ranges from level 0 (level 3) through to professional doctorates with all stages in between including Foundation Degrees, undergraduate modules and masters level. A small pilot project is being undertaken that will offer bespoke aspects of this provision free to staff directly involved in delivering Stoke CU validated activities. If successful, it is envisaged that capacity in Stoke will be increased, Staffordshire University will be the national provider for national CU staff development and provision rolled out to CUs across the country at reduced cost.

10 Progress towards – Links with Staffordshire Stoke CU has already been in discussion with Staffordshire Local Authority in reference to establishing CU across the county. At present the proposed model is untested and resources are limited. However, it is envisaged that other areas of Staffordshire will adopt the Stoke CU model, if it is Successful, prior to establishing a federation of Staffordshire Childrens Universities.

11 Further progress – Ongoing activity Investigating funding options Attending House of Commons reception Planning marketing/media campaign Workshop presentation at forthcoming international conference And….

12 The Next Stage A major priority is the establishment of a Strategy Board for Stoke CU. The key to the success of the board is its strategic nature and senior level representation from stakeholders. The terms of reference for the strategy group will focus around four main themes: Providing a strategic vision which will ensure buy in from all represented groups and forward the CU agenda. Deliver a sustainability of funding through internal and external networking, expertise and access to other sources of funding. Provide an environment and impetus to further enable, consolidate and encourage partnership working. Facilitate the formation of discreet working groups to enable delivery of the strategic vision such as a funding group, validation panel, media group, etc.

13 Targets & Challenges 1. Quality Assurance The national CU is currently engaged in trialling, evaluating and adapting the Quality In Study Support (QISS) code of practice for CU activity. Once the second phase of evaluation is complete the CU manager and Project Officer will seek QISS training and accreditation. Stoke CU is also working closely with ContinYou in ensuring more robust quality assurance than that provided by either the Planning for Learning framework or QISS.

14 Targets & Challenges 2. Status At present Stoke CU is managed as a Staffordshire University project. Given the overall aims of Stoke CU, a shifting HE policy environment and an uncertain future for widening participation funding we need to ask questions as to whether the Stoke CU should sit wholly within the University, become an independent charity or lie somewhere along this continuum. There is an urgency to this as CU Funding ceases in March 2010 and the strategy board is still embryonic.

15 Targets& Challenges 3. Access to Schools To date Stoke CU has not validated any out of hours provision within schools in Stoke on Trent. Although there has been a lot of interest in validating provision within some schools it has been felt that a more structured and co-ordinated approach is needed in this sector than is perhaps merited with other providers. It is envisaged that the strategy board will develop networks and consensus as to how this will be best achieved.

16 Targets & Challenges 4. Funding National CU funding ceases in March 2010. There is a need to both secure and expand the funding base. Funding models of other CUs are being reviewed for best practice and relevance. It is expected that the membership of the strategic board will expand funding opportunities and add to the current bidding activity.

17 Targets & Challenges 5. Media Both national CU and Stoke CU are working with high profile partners. A marketing/media campaign is currently being planned with Staffordshire University. Given the number of proposed partners strategic decisions are required to ensure an effective and equitable media coverage.

18 Targets & Challenges 6. Tracking/Data Protection There are complex issues surrounding the tracking of CU participants and maintaining a data base and record of achievement. The CU is taking advice from the University data protection officer in regard to this issue. At present participants are responsible for maintaining there own RoA in the form of a passport. A more systematic data collection and storage is required which must comply with data protection legislation and ideally emulate best practice. It is hoped that Strategic Board expertise will aid a resolution to these issues.

19 Targets & Challenges 7. Target 1000 CU students engaged in 30 hours of validated CU activity (Bronze Award) or 30,000 hours of learning-by March 2010. The majority of which will be reached through validation of existing provision.

20 Useful Links Macbeath, G. Waterhouse,J. (2008) Evaluation of the Childrens University-First Report. University of Cambridge. URL : National CU website URL:

21 Activity What would you do to ensure future funding and growth of the Stoke CU?

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