AN initiative aimed at getting more children from disadvantaged backgrounds learning out of the classroom is to benefit from £90,000 funding.

Children's University Scotland provides extracurricular activities to children aged seven to 14, allowing junior scholars to graduate at a university complete with cap and gown.

Participants build up credits on "learning passports" the more they take part in activities and can also work towards bronze, silver and gold certificates.

Since launching in 2013, two learning centres have been set up at Strathclyde and Queen Margaret universities, with more than 30 local schools taking part.

The Scottish Government has awarded the funds between 2014 and 2016 to help the organisation expand across Scotland and bring the number of young people with learning passports from 600 in 2014/15 to 3,200 by the end of 2015/16.

It is estimated the investment could help an extra 2,600 children during 2015/16.

Mary de la Pena, chief executive of Children's University Scotland, said: "Our aim is to help develop confidence, raise aspirations and broaden horizons for children through engaging them in fun, inspirational activities beyond the classroom.

"This national endorsement will enable us to establish more local centres, work with more partners and, most importantly, reach out to more of those children who will benefit most."

Education Secretary Angela Constance said: "The Children's University is a great example of innovative learning with a strong focus on improving attainment in disadvantaged communities.

"Much has already been achieved, with 2,500 hours of learning recorded, and our investment will help the Trust take its work even further.

"With attainment a key priority of this Government, the Children's University helps develop children's aspirations and increases their awareness of potential careers, with a clear link to widening access to higher education."