Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Blackburn Children’s University's 'Greatest Day'

Hi everyone,

News from the CU network today!  This one's from Sara Casey, Blackburn CU Manager:

On Thursday 15th October 2015, over 60 Children’s University members sang at King George’s Hall, Blackburn for the University Centre’s Graduation.  They sang Take That's inspirational song ‘Greatest Day’ at all three ceremonies.

By attending a 'grown up' graduation, the children were able to see where they could be in years to come and what they could aspire to become. They shared the Hall with people who have mastered a huge range of academic skills, giving them just a glimpse of what the future might hold for them.

This was a very special opportunity and it is the third year Blackburn Children’s University have been invited to sing.  You can see some pictures from this special occasion below, including a shot showing the size of the venue and the audience that our inspiration young people performed for.

Do you have any stories from your part of the CU network that you'd like to see here? Tell me about it at and I'll be in touch - I look forward to hearing from many of you!

Catch you next time!


Monday, 5 October 2015

Guest Post: Finding Your Inner Iceberg

Here at Children's University, we're lucky enough to have a fantastic group of enthusiastic Patrons and Chancellors who support the work Children's University does nationally and in their regions. Championing the charity, its goals and, most importantly, its child members, our Chancellors and Patrons inspire our children by encouraging them to unlock their own potential and by showing them what they are capable of.

As well as our usual posts, this blog will feature special guest posts from some of our Patrons and Chancellors. Our first such post comes from the children's author, feature writer, radio producer and broadcaster, Hilary Robinson. Hilary is a Patron of Children's University, and here's what she has to say:

Finding your Inner Iceberg


by Hilary Robinson - Patron of the Children’s University

Children need to know the truth about David Beckham.

We see the adulation, the lifestyle, the neat family life.  We see however many caps and goals for England, the endorsements, the megabucks and the rest.

But what we don’t see is what is captured in a brilliant infographic by Sylvia Duckworth.

We don’t see what applies to many ‘successful’ people – we don’t see the whole picture.

This is it:

 The Iceberg Illusion. Photo Credit: Sylvia Duckworth via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 license

Like so many successful people, David Beckham has had to persevere and fight against all kinds of setbacks and challenges to get where he is.

But he was lucky in one way.  He was lucky that he discovered his ‘passion’ quite early on - a passion, of course, for football.

Somewhere, inside every one of us, is a passion for something.  It might be a passion for bats (as an eight year old boy in my friend’s class discovered); it might be for caring, cooking, coin collecting, clouds, or cultivating carrots; or it might be for playing the ukulele, snooker, darts or chess.

Yet the demands of the National Curriculum and the pressures on teachers often leave little room for opportunities to tap into inner passions.  Arguably, the curriculum is so academically focussed that it is easy for children to feel like they are failures and the knock-on consequences of that, if not managed carefully, can be lifelong. 

The Children’s University, by encouraging such a wide range of extra-curricular activities and interests, provides children with the opportunities to try, to explore, to foster interests, to engage and to break down barriers.

Most importantly, it helps children to understand that failure need not be feared.

Steve Jobs once said that he “was convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.”   C S Lewis tapped into the same philosophy when he said, “failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement.”  In the application of passion and perseverance, the latter usually becomes a by-product of the former.

Yet The Children’s University is not just about being ‘successful’ in the traditional sense of the word.  It is about finding interests that stimulate, that help us create bonds and enriching friendships; it’s about helping us to develop an understanding and awareness of the wider world and our place within it, and, fundamentally, it helps us to be happy about who we are.

In short, the Children’s University helps us to find our inner iceberg and it helps us to find the truth about David Beckham – that passion and persistence pay off.


You can find out more about Hilary at her website.

Catch you next time!