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Children’s University comes to Dundee

3 November 2014

Dundee’s higher and further education institutions are joining forces to launch the Children’s University in Dundee, offering children aged five to 14 a 'Passport to Learning’.

The Children’s University promotes exciting learning and creative activities to children outwith school hours in which they can earn credits for certificates. It is being launched in Dundee as part of Children’s University Scotland with funding from Abertay University and the University of Dundee, and support from Dundee & Angus College.

It will offer opportunities for children aged five to 14 to gain credits for taking part in a whole range of fun, interactive activities which can be school-based or in the community - from drama to hip-hop dancing or from cooking to sports.

Each Dundee Children’s University member will get a ‘Passport to Learning’ in which they record their participation in activities at learning destinations such as an after-school club, museum or leisure centre.

The children build up credits as they engage in learning activities and work towards bronze, silver and gold certificates. There are no exams, but achievements are celebrated at graduation ceremonies where children receive their awards.

Mary de la Peña, Chief Executive of Children’s University Scotland, said:

"Children’s University strives to raise children's aspirations, encourages them to learn in different ways, and helps to boost their achievement. It also creates a unique way of recognising and rewarding individuals for learning and getting involved in new things. It’s an inspirational way of engaging with the younger members of our communities and will hopefully motivate them to continue being active learners in the future.

"I am delighted that this partnership has been established to bring this exciting initiative to the children of Dundee, where they can access such a rich and varied range of cultural, leisure and sporting activities. Abertay University, the University of Dundee and Dundee & Angus College are not only providing the strategic drive and vision to Dundee CU but will also enrich the learning opportunities on offer through their resources and the commitment and enthusiasm of their staff and students to engage with the local community."

Professor Nigel Seaton, Principal of Abertay University, said:

"Encouraging and rewarding children’s learning activities early on puts them on the right path for lifelong learning. This is a great project and we’re fully committed to helping it be as successful as possible."

Professor Pete Downes, Principal of the University of Dundee, said:

"I am delighted that we have been able to help establish the Children’s University in Dundee with our local partners. This is an excellent initiative which will provide great opportunities for children across the city.”

Christina Potter, Principal of Dundee and Angus College, said:

“You are never too young to learn; an early introduction to education of this kind will no doubt bring with it satisfaction and enjoyment for many children across the city. I am delighted that the College is part of the exciting and innovative initiative.”

For further information contact the Manager of Dundee Children’s University:

Dr Patricia Dello Sterpaio, Abertay University, Tel: 01382 308527; email:


For media enquiries please contact Kevin Coe, Director of Communications, Abertay University

T: 01382 308452 M: 07850 904110E:

Notes to Editors

Children’s University Scotland

CU Trust Scotland was registered as a charity in April 2013, set up to oversee the strategic development of Children’s University in Scotland. Children's University Scotland was the first project to be awarded funding by the ScottishPower Foundation, established to reinforce the energy company's commitment to charitable work throughout Britain.

CU Scotland is also supported by Brodies law firm, providing pro bono legal advice and the time and expertise of one of its consultants, Jock Brown, who chairs the Board of Trustees of CU Trust Scotland. The other trustees are:

  • Ken Cunningham, General Secretary of School Leaders Scotland, and former head of Hillhead High School, Glasgow
  • Doug Wilson, UK Director of General Services and Health & Safety at Scottish Power
  • Gillian Hastings, Principal of Polar Horizons, accounting and tax consultancy

Its Chief Executive is Mary de la Peña MBE.

Strathclyde University established the first local Children’s University in the West of Scotland in 2013, while Queen Margaret Children’s University was the first local CU centre in East Scotland, managed by Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

The ethos of Children’s University Scotland clearly aligns with the aims of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence: to help children become successful and confident learners, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

CU Scotland’s vision is to create and establish a central infrastructure supporting a Children’s University presence in 80% of Scottish local authority areas within five years. The local centres will deliver learning opportunities to help develop confidence, create new possibilities, expectations and life chances for children.

Its mission is to inspire and encourage learning; to help each child realise their potential regardless of social, economic or cultural background. To achieve this, CU Scotland will partner with the widest possible range of community, business, government and volunteer stakeholders in the pursuit of each child’s best interests.

For further information contact:

Mary de la Peña


Tel: 07801 577880

University of Dundee contact: Professor Divya Jindal-Snape,

Dundee & Angus College contact: Dorothée Leslie,

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