Dozens of young Braintree schoolchildren donned caps and gowns as they were recognised for their voluntary work.

Some 80 pupils from Lyons Hall Primary School, White Court Primary School, John Bunyan Junior School and Bocking Church Street Primary School were dressed up like graduates for the Essex Children's University ceremony.

The event, held at Braintree Arts Theatre last night, was organised to recognise the youngsters’ volunteering and participation in clubs and learning activities outside of school as part of the programme, which is often compared to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, but is for seven to 14-year-olds.

Children taking part in the Children’s University log their involvement in extra curricular activities, including after school clubs and trips to accredited learning environments such as zoos and museums.

Awards start at 30 hours, with several other milestones also recognised.

For the full story and pictures, see next week's Braintree Times