Queen Margaret University appoints first Children’s University Education Liaison Officer
Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, has appointed its first dedicated Children’s University Education Liaison Officer to help boost educational opportunities for youngsters in the East of Scotland.
Hayley Jones, 29, from Tayport in Fife, brings with her a wealth of experience in delivering a wide range of widening participation to higher education projects for young people of all ages in Edinburgh.
Hayley’s skill-set is well suited to the Children’s University project, having previously worked with the Edinburgh International Science Festival and as a Freelance Drama Practitioner. She is also a QMU graduate, having received a first class BA (Hons) Drama & Theatre Arts in 2011.
QMU is the first higher education institution in the east of Scotland to host the Children’s University, which aims to help school children, aged between seven and 14 years of age (and five and six year olds with their families), become confident learners and broaden their horizons.
The initiative strives to raise children’s aspirations, encourages them to learn in different ways, and rewards them for taking part in a wide variety of learning activities outside of school hours.
The Children’s University ethos is clearly aligned with the aims of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence in terms of helping children become successful and confident learners, responsible citizens and effective contributors.
Queen Margaret University has taken the lead in establishing the Children’s University in the east of Scotland by working in partnership with schools via Midlothian and East Lothian Councils.
The children build up credits the more they engage in learning activities and they can work towards bronze, silver and gold certificates.
Commenting on her new role, Hayley said: “I’m very much looking forward to starting this role. I have a real passion for widening access to Higher Education and believe that the Children’s University project is a fantastic way to encourage and support young people to enrich their learning in their own time.
“Having read a few reports on this national project, there is strong evidence to suggest that taking part in extra curricular activities raises attainment within schools and the Children’s University is a fantastic project that promotes this. I look forward to working with local schools, businesses and the university staff to develop this already thriving project.”
Callum Maguire, Head of Outreach & Community Engagement at QMU and Coordinator of the Queen Margaret Children’s University, added: “Queen Margaret University is fully committed to widening access and supporting learning in the community. Our involvement with the Children’s University allows us to help develop and provide opportunities for young people from wide ranging backgrounds.
“Hayley’s appointment means we’ll be able to implement the scheme in many more of our local primary and secondary schools.”
Over 2,500 pupils from across Midlothian and East Lothian have already signed up to the Queen Margaret Children’s University scheme since January 2014. Over 60 school pupils from across East Lothian graduated from the scheme at QMU in January 2015 and 54 school pupils from across Midlothian graduated from the scheme at QMU in June 2015.
There are now over 400 accredited learning destinations across Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian, including Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, Butterfly & Insect World in Lasswade and the Scottish National Mining Museum in Newtongrange. Over 1,200 learning activities include everything from dancing and painting, to cheer-leading, modern languages and gardening.
A new film about the Queen Margaret Children’s University, which features elements of the first graduation ceremony held in January this year, is now available to view online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr_bHaHTYKA
For more information on the Queen Margaret Children’s University and to sign up, contact Callum Maguire, Head of Outreach & Community Engagement at QMU and Coordinator of the Queen Margaret Children’s University on 0131 474 0000 or email CMaguire@qmu.ac.uk