Child-size caps and gowns were at the ready last month as over 60 children celebrated their first graduation following their academic achievements at Leeds Children’s University.
The event was staged and organised by Leeds Trinity University. Children as young as seven received their degrees from the newly installed Chancellor and England footballer, James Milner.
Over the past year, the young academics (aged between seven and 14) have participated in a number of events in school, in their own time and at Leeds Trinity.
Preceding the graduation was the official appointment of James as the Chancellor, who received his scroll of office from Hannah Begum, the Leeds Children’s Mayor.
Professor Margaret House, Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University, said: “Yesterday’s ceremony marked two very special moments. Firstly, the graduation of our future professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs, and secondly, the installation of James Milner, an inspirational Chancellor and athlete for the children to look up to.
“The children have taken part in numerous activities to gain their certificates, from a Mathletics club, to producing school newspapers. They’ve also had the opportunity to attend some fantastic events at Leeds Trinity University, such as a ‘Parliamentary Democracy Day’ with Stuart Andrew MP and an ‘Introduction to the Newsroom’ event during Journalism Week with Jason McCartney MP.”
Children involved in the initiative were from Holy Family Catholic Primary School, St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School, St Philip’s Catholic Primary and Nursery School and Holy Family Catholic High School.
“Leeds Trinity University positions itself at the heart of the local community,” Professor House said.
“Many of our students and staff actively volunteer as part of Leeds Children’s University, in a bid to inspire and encourage young people to develop a love of learning from an early age.
“Given our organisations’ shared values, becoming the base of Leeds Children’s University was an easy decision for us, as we were keen to be heavily involved in a scheme that helps young people to make the most of their abilities and interests, regardless of the background into which they were born.”
Launched in November 2014 and based at Leeds Trinity University, Leeds Children’s University aims to promote social mobility by providing high quality, exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences outside normal school hours.
At the heart of both organisations is an ambition to raise aspirations, boost achievement and foster a love of learning.
Leeds Children’s University is part of the nationwide Children’s University Trust, of which more than 100,000 children are members.
James Milner, England footballer and Chancellor of Leeds Children’s University, added: “I’m delighted to have been formally installed as Chancellor, it truly is a great honour. I hope to raise awareness of the benefits and skills that can be gained by taking part in extra-curricular learning activities.
“Through my own experiences of the commitment and drive it takes to pursue dreams and ambitions outside of the classroom, I hope I can inspire the members of Leeds Children’s University.”