Children from primary schools throughout south west Hertfordshire have been graduating this week, as part of a scheme designed to reward participation in out-of-school activities.

West Herts College held three Children’s University graduation ceremonies in its Watford campus theatre, to celebrate the achievements of local children in the past academic year.

The South Hertfordshire Children’s University is part of a national network encouraging children between the ages of seven and 14 to explore a wide range of opportunities and learn new skills.

This year’s graduating class was made up of students from Maple Cross JMI, Rickmansworth Park JMI, Nascot Wood, Orchard, Yorke Meade, Cherry Tree and Little Green primary schools.

As well as taking part in activities at the college, the students clocked up more than 20,000 hours of activities between them at more than 200 registered learning destinations in the local area - from dance to athletics, art to swimming, ICT to football.

The more hours each individual clocked up the higher award they received, and each recipient was called up to the stage, in their cap and gown, to receive their certificate.

Prior to the ceremony beginning the graduates posed for family photos and enjoyed entertainment put on by the college’s music and forensic science students.

Sue Hill, Head of Children’s Education at West Herts College, got the ceremony under way as she took to the lectern to congratulate the graduates.

West Herts College Principal Gill Worgan told them: "Graduations are the highlight of our year here at the college. The Children’s University is very close to my heart and it is truly a pleasure to be sharing such a special occasion with you."

The guest speaker was higher education lecturer and endurance test world record holder, Jon Cowell. Jon spoke about his achievements, including his time in the army and his world records.

Jon said: "In graduating today, you have crossed your first finish line and now is your chance to go on and really show the world what you are made of. Inspired by you all, I too will try to challenge myself again and while I can’t see me joining a dance troupe just yet, I promise to try and get on top of my swimming."