Almost 700 youngsters in Fife have engaged in a range of digital learning opportunities “beyond the classroom” thanks to a college collaboration.

A “comprehensive learning programme” designed by Fife College in partnership with Children’s University Scotland is helping kids in the region to explore technology and engineering at home.

Given the restrictions caused by the pandemic, work in the first 12 months of the two-year project has focused on providing learning-at-home opportunities, with the college creating a suite of activities.

Also made available through Children’s University Scotland’s ‘Aspire’ app, the activities included an online engineering club that offers children the opportunity to engage with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects through practical activities at home. It also covered many creative subjects, such as dressing up (‘cosplay’) and backstage production.

The development of the digital learning offer complements the Children’s University Scotland’s own range of almost 600 no-cost learning activities, and plenty of Kids Den and OnFife LibrarYAY activities are promoted through OnFife’s Facebook page.

Iain Hawker, assistant principal at Fife College, said: “We are so proud of our first year of partnership work with Children’s University Scotland. The year presented many challenges due to the pandemic. However, by working together we were able to provide young people from across Fife, particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds, with access to fun and exciting learning activities which could be done safely from home.

“We look forward to continuing to work together on similar initiatives with Children’s University Scotland in the year ahead, providing even more young people with the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom and explore different subjects they are passionate about.”

Neil Mathers, chief executive at Children’s University Scotland, said: “This last year has been challenging for so many children and families, and the value of out-of-school learning opportunities has never been so clear. The pandemic has caused the world to get smaller for children, forcing them to spend more time in front of screens, less time with their friends and created stress and worry in their lives.

“Together with Fife College, and with support from The Robertson Trust, we have been able to give children and families opportunities to enjoy fun learning at home. Children have been able to take part in our awards scheme, gaining recognition for their efforts and helping to build their confidence and support their wellbeing.”

Jim McCormick, chief executive at The Robertson Trust, added: “As a long-term partner of Fife College, we know first-hand the fantastic work they deliver with children and young people across Fife. The Robertson Trust’s vision is of a fair and compassionate Scotland where everyone is valued and able to flourish. Widening access to Further and Higher Education is key to this and we are excited to see how the partnership with Children’s University Scotland and First Chances Fife will continue to open up opportunities for young people in the area over the coming year.”