Empowering looked after children through education

The First Star model is a long-term university preparatory programme for looked after children. The programme is based on a partnership between a university, the young person, and First Star. First Star recruits ‘scholars’ at the beginning of their GCSE year (age 14/15) to join the four-year programme of academic support and life skills at a local university or through our First Star 2U programme.  Scholars stay with the programme up to the age of 18; becoming Guardian Scholars as they graduate from First Star. Scholars attend monthly sessions and a summer residential programme at a university campus.


Learn more about First Star - meet our Guardian Scholars and find about the programmes

We are First Star

First Star is a national children’s charity dedicated to improving outcomes for young people growing up in care. It was founded on an ambitious and aspirational approach to helping some of our most disadvantaged young people access higher education. The First Star programme encourages and empowers young people from care backgrounds to believe they belong in higher education.



First Star improves the lives of Looked-after Children and Young People by partnering with universities to ensure looked-after young people have the academic, life skills, and adult support needed to successfully transition to higher education and adulthood

Great Staff

"I joined for a better education, a better start and that’s what the programme has given me."
Guardian Scholar Cain
UK Programmes
3 %
In training or employment
0 %
Passed GCSEs at grade 5
0 %
Percentage progressing to HE

Find out how to become a scholar – what does it involve – would it be right for you

"Join because these people here are not just people on a programme, they are my friends, family and siblings now. I love them with all my heart; we’ve been through it all - they’ve seen me laugh, they’ve seen me cry, we’ve seen each other cry. Being here is all about knocking down walls, building bonds, mental health - it helped everything for me." Guardian Scholar Khushi

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