First Star Winchester


Will Kelly

Programme Director

Email: [email protected]

The objective of this initiative is to improve outcomes for looked-after children by boosting their engagement in higher education. The First Star Scholars programme at the University of Winchester offers regular monthly sessions and two annual residentials, all conducted on campus. Currently, our scholars are advancing through Year 12.

Our focus is to provide training and long-term support. The programme runs for 4 years. Focusing on GCSEs & college support, university & careers preparation, life skills, leadership, employability training and readiness for independent living.



1 %
Saturday sessions
1 %

Residential Highlights


Scholars attended rights and entitlements workshop by the charity Become and visited the offices of local architecture and engineering firm ARUP.

The University of Southampton allowed them to produce music, experience an indoor wind tunnel, and tour student formula racing cars.


One of the biggest things we do at First Star is to celebrate the achievements of our young people. So to celebrate completing their GCSE exams, our Scholars enjoyed a thrilling trip to Thorpe Park. 

They also visited their peers from the First Star 2U programme at the University of Sussex where they both spent time at Brighton Marina.


Scholars visited  a local virtual racing centre which was one of the highlights for many scholars, sparking new interests. They also enjoyed indoor rock climbing, football games, rounders, and walking trails.

73.68% of scholars met or exceeded their Maths GCSE predicted grades

Our programme boasts an impressive engagement rate of 84.21%

Current Outcomes

Outcomes may vary as Scholars are actively participating in both their education and the programme

64.42% of scholars met or exceeded their English Language GCSE predicted grades.

52.63% of scholars passed their Maths GCSE at grade four or higher.

In our Scholars’ own words:

First Star Scholars have helped me in several ways. It got me through my GCSEs and is helping me with my future. Everyone is accepted, we are treated equally. We have been given vast opportunities to learn.

The thing I love about First Star Scholars is that they teach us in an interesting way, so everyone succeeds. My favourite part is the residentials as we get educated and get up to fun things.
First Star Scholars is a place where you can have fun while you learn. The skills I have developed whilst I have been here is better understanding of my Maths and English.

When I first came, I was a nervous child now I am a confident scholar. Since I have been here, we have done: glow in the dark gold, rock climbing and trips to other universities. I am so thankful to this programme because it has helped me catch up with my GCSE’s, so I have the best chance to improve.
I have learned a lot from this place, not just from lessons but from other scholars.

I have also learned the value of friendships and relationships here. The skills I learned is to be confident and to believe in myself.
UoW Scholar
First Star Scholars is a programme that helps children in care to see that they aren’t alone.
UoW Scholar
A wonderful opportunity giving my young person confidence in herself academically and emotionally. She now wishes to go to university because of the many experiences she has had as part of the First Stars Scholars programme.

One fundamental example - actually attending a university as part of the programme allowed her to see that university is attainable.
Carer of UoW Scholar

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