Chancellor (Latin: cancellarius) is the head of a university. In most Commonwealth (or former Commonwealth) nations, the Chancellor is usually a titular (figurehead) non-resident head. A Chancellor is chosen as an individual who will appeal to, and provide a role model for, the various constituencies the university serves, including most obviously its students and its local, national and international stakeholders.

The Chancellor of the Children's University is Michael Morpurgo.

Local Children's Universities can (or maybe even should?) also have a Chancellor: a CU Chancellor as a role model for children, parents or staff - a figurehead who appeals to and influences a range of communities, including education, business and political.

The duties of the Chancellor include:

    • Ceremonial - at graduations, receptions for example
    • Pastoral - an affection for and interest in students and staff
    • Scholarly - a commitment to the world of learning, teaching and 'culture'
    • Ambassadorial - carrying the university banner at home and abroad

A CU Chancellor can be expected to attend 'graduation ceremonies' and 'award evenings'. S/he should be able to identify with the local (learning) community and strengthen partnerships (or win-winships), particularly between the local Children's University and Higher and Further Education Institutions as well as the worlds of business, commerce and (local) politics. The local CU Chancellor should be proud the wear the 'CU badge'.

The Chancellor's most public role is, of course, conferring degrees at university ceremonies, but duties can be as varied as the postholder likes. They can involve attending other university events with staff and students, or being an ambassador for the university and its community.

Apart from the ambassadorial aspect of the role, a CU Chancellor can use her/his position and influence to enhance the sustainability of the local Children's University by facilitating introductions, brokering new partnerships and meeting with the local CU Manager to assist in meeting the local targets. The CU Chancellor can play a lead role in engaging the local and wider communities in terms of active engagement and participation, be this schools, parents, the local media, volunteers, businesses, charities, Further and Higher Education or clubs. The local CU Chancellor represents the ethos and principles of both the local CU and the CU Trust.

The Chancellor is appointed by the university on the recommendation of, among others, the academic and general governing bodies. The Chancellor is appointed for a fixed term period, which is renewable.

Our local CU Chancellors

Local Children's Universities have a unique identity, and adhere, as members of the (inter)national organisation, to an (inter)nationally agreed framework. Each local Children's University has a link with a Higher Education Institution and is encouraged to appoint a local Chancellor who can act as an ambassador and a role model for young people.

The choice of the local CU Chancellor should reflect the local CU needs and plans for the duration of the term of office. The term of office is determined locally but should typically be in the region of 3 years (and can be renewed where appropriate). The local CU Chancellor is appointed locally through the local CU's management arrangement - the CU Trust is notified of the appointment. A wider network of CU Chancellors may develop over time.

Please click here to view our current list of local CU Chancellors

Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo is an English author, poet, playwright and librettist, best known for his work in children's literature. He was the third person to become Children's Laureate and held the title from 2003 to 2005.

Michael studied at King's College London, and went on to teach primary school pupils in Kent. While he was teaching he discovered his talent for storytelling, stating "I could see there was magic in it for them, and realised there was magic in it for me."

In 1976 Michael Morpurgo and his wife, Clare Morpurgo established the charity 'Farms for City Children', with the primary aim of providing children from inner city areas with experience of the countryside. The charity now has three farms in Devon, Gloucestershire and Wales.

His story War Horse is an award winning National Theatre stage production and the feature film based on the novel and directed by Steven Spielberg was released in 2011.

Michael Morpurgo was raised to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on 17 June 2006 for services to literature.

To find out more about Michael Morpurgo, please visit

To view a video greeting from Michael Morpurgo please click here.