Skip to content

children's university

The Children’s University (CU) Trust is a national initiative, managed through a network of over 100 local CU centres. The overall ambition of the CU Trust is to raise aspirations of young people aged between 7-14 years, boost achievement and foster a love of learning.

New opportunities

Young people are encouraged to get involved in learning opportunities outside of the classroom, through attending local museums, cultural attractions and committing to extracurricular activities both internal and external to school.

The hours spent attending these activities are collected throughout the academic year. At the end of the year, those who have collected 30 or more hours of learning activities receive a CU certificate of achievement, and are invited to attend a prestigious graduation ceremony at the University of Bradford.

Students sat in a lecture theatre at the Children's University Programme graduation ceremony.

Joining the Children's University Programme

The CU Scheme delivered by the University of Bradford is open to both primary and high schools in specific areas across the Bradford district, based on POLAR classification.

The participation of local areas (POLAR) classification, groups areas across the UK, based on the proportion of young people that go on to participate in higher education. The score looks at how likely young people are to participate in higher education across the UK and highlights how this varies across geographical areas.

POLAR classifies local areas into five groups - or quintiles - based on the proportion of 18 year olds who enter higher education aged 18 or 19 years old. Quintile one shows the lowest rate of participation. Quintile five shows the highest rate of participation.

To check if your school meets this criteria search based on your school postcode. If your school postcode has a POLAR4 young participation quintile score of 1 or 2, you will be eligible to join the University of Bradford CU scheme.

If you have any questions about eligibility please contact us.

We are able to offer the CU scheme to one year group in each school, from years 3 to year 7. For high schools this is a great scheme to offer as part of year 7 transition activity.

Once eligibility has been confirmed, we will meet with schools to talk through our welcome pack, discuss which activities can be validated as part of the scheme, and we will also deliver a launch assembly for staff, students and parents/carers.

childrens university graduation

How it works

Once a school joins our CU scheme, students will receive their own Passport to Learning (paper or online). Throughout the academic year students take part in validated activities and collect stamps in their passports. At the end of the academic year students will attend a graduation ceremony on campus and receive certificates as follows:

  • Bronze Award Certificate: 30 hours of CU learning activities
  • Silver Award Certificate: 65 hours of CU learning activities
  • Gold Award Certificate: 100 hours of CU learning activities


Graduation events are held on campus at the University of Bradford. Each student graduand will be able to invite 2 guests which include parents/guardians. Refreshments can be organised on campus and campus tours for visitors can also be arranged. Graduation dates usually take place between May to July each year.

Young people will be dressed in graduation gowns and caps. Our team will work with your school to develop a programme for the evening which can include the following:

  • Welcome talk from senior member of staff at the University of Bradford
  • Presentations from young people about their experience of taking part in CU
  • Talks from school staff
  • Videos / pictures of activities students have taken part in throughout the year
  • Award ceremony, with each child having the opportunity to receive their certificate on stage
  • Group and individual photos


There is a cost for schools to join the CU scheme - this is an annual subscription fee based on the number of young people you’d like to sign up to the scheme.
There is also a cost per child to cover the learning passport, and the graduation event.

Costs are kept as minimal as possible; most schools are able to cover the cost of the learning passport and graduation fee using parent / carer contributions. To discuss the latest pricing structure please contact us.

Find out more

The Children's University Scheme at the University of Bradford is managed by the Local Activities and Partnership Team. 

If you have any questions please contact us.