Students at Saint Rose of Lima Primary School in Glasgow have marked a milestone achievement for education charity Children's University Scotland, as it announces it has reached more than 100,000 hours of voluntary extracurricular learning through the innovative 'Passports to Learning' scheme.
The pupils celebrated the remarkable accomplishment for the initiative which has supported more than 6,500 young people aged 5-14 in Scotland since it was established in 2013 with funding from the ScottishPower Foundation.
The Passports to Learning scheme offers young learners, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the opportunity to realise their potential by encouraging them to take part in a wide range of learning activities, from gallery and museum visits, to drama, crafts, sports and further education in the classroom. For every visit, each young person is awarded a stamp in their Passport to Learning, and once they reach 30 hours of learning they get the chance to attend an official graduation ceremony at one of the many Scottish universities which have joined the initiative, including The University of Strathclyde and Queen Margaret University.
To date, more than 110 schools have signed up to participate in the learning scheme, and 100,133 hours of voluntary learning have been recorded with eleven children's graduations taking place in the last three years. Over 950 young learners have gained certificates for their voluntary activities across the country so far.
Saint Rose of Lima Primary School joined the initiative in August of this year and it has 96 pupils taking part. The teachers are already recognising the benefits of capturing and recording pupils' extracurricular learning through the Passport scheme, enabling each child's voluntary activities to be celebrated.
Mary Moore, a teacher at Saint Rose of Lima, said: "I only learned about the work of Children's University Scotland earlier this year but it's already having a clear impact on our students. Each child is different and that means finding academic and extracurricular pursuits to stimulate their minds. The broad variety of activities which Children's University Scotland recognises and promotes gives all of our kids the chance to feel a part of something, while overcoming their own challenges and getting a really worthwhile experience at the same time. It's been brilliant to watch them grow."
Children's University Scotland was the first organisation to be awarded funding by the ScottishPower Foundation when it was established three years ago. Since then, with the Foundation's support, the charity has gone on to establish itself across the country where it now operates in 16 regions and has over 940 'learning destinations'.
Keith Anderson, Trustee of the ScottishPower Foundation, said: "We're really proud to have supported Children's University Scotland since its inception and reaching the 100,000 milestone today is a fantastic achievement for the team. It's clear to see how much of an impact the initiative has on young learners, who will hopefully be inspired to think about their future education and careers. The ScottishPower Foundation is committed to the advancement of education, art and heritage so it is a great partnership for us to be a part of."
Mary De la Peña, Chief Executive of Children's University Scotland, said: "At Children's University Scotland, the emphasis is on active, voluntary 'learning' - rather than 'being taught' - and the experience for children need not be purely academic; it is often about developing practical skills and building confidence. Through the Passport to Learning we encourage children to step outside their comfort zone, to take ownership for their own learning, and to expose themselves to new learning environments and new ideas. Above all, it should be fun."