Youngsters graduate with flying colours at the Children’s University graduation at UEA

The Norfolk Children's University graduation ceremony held at the UEA. Some of the children with the

The Norfolk Children's University graduation ceremony held at the UEA. Some of the children with their certificates. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

More than 500 youngsters from across the county donned mortar boards and gowns this week to celebrate their achievements with the Norfolk Children's University.

The five to 14-year-olds from 31 Norfolk schools took part in a full graduation ceremony at Congregation Hall at the University of East Anglia (UEA) yesterday and Tuesday.

The project was led by Norfolk County Council and is aimed to encourage children to develop a love of learning beyond the classroom.

Children collected stamps for each hour of learning they completed either in after-school activities or at one of the 70 affiliated Learning Destinations (such as Dragon Hall and the Sea-Life Centre) across the county.

They had all completed at least 30 hours and were presented with graduation certificates by Children's University chancellor and award-winning author, Louis de Bernieres.

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The new graduates were also given a tour of the campus to get a taste of real university life.

The chancellor said: 'The graduation event is really important because it is good for young people's confidence and self-esteem to learn that their efforts are appreciated by adults, and will be rewarded.

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'I got involved in the Children's University at least, partly, because I wish there had been something like this for me to take part in when I was young.'

Mick Castle, council cabinet member for schools, said: 'This is a fantastic scheme that goes far beyond the traditional idea of classroom-based learning to show children that learning can be fun and exciting, and offers a whole host of new and interesting experiences.

'I hope those attending will get the bug for further education. I am sure each of the children receiving these awards will be tremendously proud of their achievements, and rightly so too.'

The Children's University aims to reward participation, raise aspirations and support children's achievements.

Participants receive a bronze certificate for 30 hours, silver for 65 hours and gold for 100 hours.

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