Children as young as five could soon be going to university in Burnley.
The radical idea to create a Children’s University in the town is part of a far-reaching strategy to help more of the borough’s young people achieve their potential.
Burnley Council’s Executive is set to agree a three-year commitment to the establishment of the “university” which encourages children from the age of five to try new experiences outside of normal school hours.
The £20,000 commitment is included in a Making It In Burnley aspiration strategy which also proposes a number of other measures.
Council leader Mark Townsend said: “Burnley has a growing reputation as a great place to live, learn, and build a business.
“However, we realise there are challenges. Overcoming these challenges means giving our young people the best start in life through a good education and also helping young adults get ready for working life.
“There are many good schools in Burnley. Nevertheless, raising aspiration and attainment is not just about what goes on in school.
“Children need many things to support their learning in the early years and, as a council, the opportunity is there to support our families and children to be school-ready through a community based approach.
“This means supporting families to take part in learning opportunities outside of formal educational settings in our communities.
“That’s why Burnley Council is committed to helping to establish a Children’s University, along with supporting other initiatives that will raise the aspirations and attainment of youngsters across the borough.”
Children’s University is a national educational charity based in Manchester, which operates in 70 areas across the country.
The council is proposing to contribute £20,000 from its reserves to help fund the establishment of the Children’s University which is set for approval by the executive on December 19th.
The council already supports work to raise standards, through the Primary Engineer scheme which encourages an interest in maths and the sciences to help create engineers of the future, and through the Burnley Learning Partnership, a collaboration of secondary schools working together.