What is the Children’s University?

The Children’s University (CU) is an international charity that provides 7 to 14 year olds (and 5 and 6 year olds with their families and carers) with exciting, innovative high-quality learning experiences outside the normal school day, at weekends and during the holidays throughout the British Isles and beyond.


There are in excess of 115 local Children’s University centres across the British Isles all managed to meet the needs of their local communities and all involve local universities, colleges and schools. There are also CU developments in the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, China and India.

Although open to all, the Children’s University aims particularly to reach children facing educational and socio-economic disadvantage.


Our aim is to raise aspirations and develop a love of learning by issuing children with a ‘Passport To Learning’ which records their individual learning journey. The children are rewarded for their participation with certificates at graduation ceremonies at grown-up universities with proud parents in the audience.


The activities are practical, fun based and voluntary and include after-school clubs, community activities, and learning at museums and theatres, in parks and galleries and even at B&Q and the BBC. Children are also encouraged to attend CU lectures and seminars at universities in order to whet their appetite for future learning.

Independent evaluations by the University of Cambridge have shown that the Children’s University makes a difference to children’s learning and achievements, both in and out of school.


After the age of 14 Children’s University ‘alumni’ can continue their involvement through our CU Volunteering scheme which is linked to the Duke of Edinburgh Award.


The Children’s University aims to develop the understanding that learning can be a satellite navigation to better places in life … all under the motto “aspire to inspire”!