Children’s university scheme is scrapped

Tim Crookall MLC

Tim Crookall MLC

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The Isle of Man Children’s University is to be scrapped because of government cuts.It It was launched in 2012 and formed part of the international organisation that has 90 local learning centres.

The initiative saw children aged five to 14 collect stamps in passports for attending extra-curricular activities – both in school and at accredited learning destinations in their leisure time.

Education Minister Tim Crookall MLC said the 2016 graduation would go ahead and all children signed up to Children’s University will receive a certificate if they have accumulated the required hours. For children who have not completed the number of hours required for a certificate, the department will refund the £2 cost of the passport.

‘Given the pressures on our budget and when weighed against front-line services, this is a “nice to have” that we must regrettably relinquish. The department continues to ensure priority is given to front-line services for children and young people,’ the Minister said.

‘Children in the Isle of Man still have a huge number of extra-curricular activities available to them, delivered by schools, the youth service, the sports development unit and Manx Arts Development as well as external bodies.

‘Recently the Department of Education and Children has embarked on a new and exciting programme, “Families and Schools Together” (FAST). This is a collaborative, early intervention programme that empowers parents to support their children with confidence. The programme aims to strengthen the role of the parent, increase parental involvement in their child’s education, reduce family conflict and stress and help the child succeed in school.

‘FAST focuses on children between three and eight, but the whole family is encouraged to attend FAST sessions. The programme runs after school once a week for eight weeks and each session last 2.5 hours. After the eight weeks, parents continue to meet as a group for the next 22 months.

‘Willaston School has successfully implemented the programme, with excellent feedback from all parents who participated. Currently Ballasalla, Scoill-yn-Jubilee and Bunscoill Rhumsaa are taking part in the programme. It will be rolled out to all primary schools.’

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