First Star Academies UK partners with universities, virtual school heads, designated teachers and social services throughout the country to make a long-term investment in Looked-after Children and change the course of their lives, from abuse and neglect to academic achievement and self-sufficiency. The Academies are the UKs only long-term programmes for Looked-after Children as they transition through GCSE and post 16 education. Each Academy includes four immersive summer residentials on a university campus, and monthly sessions (First Saturday) during each school year. Academy students join the programme in the summer of their year 9 to year 10 transition and continue through four years of compulsory education to university or further education and training. Through the residential Academy sessions, the students are supported by highly qualified teaching and life skill professionals and undertake a programme of academic development and life skill enhancement tailored to their age, progression and needs.
Academy participants are considered part of the university’s student body and are mentored throughout the programme by university students who are attending the host university. Throughout all four years, Academy staff provide holistic, long-term education case management for each Academy student, working with virtual school heads and supporting their carers to sustain the progress students make during the university immersion sessions.
The First Star Academies UK currently has one Academy at St Mary’s University, Twickenham which serves 30 students from the London boroughs and surrounding local authorities. A second cohort is due to start at the First Star St Mary’s Academy in the summer of 2019 and further academies are planned across the country. The First Star St Mary’s Academy is in its second year and all students continue with the programme, including undertaking a four-week residential Academy at the start of each summer holiday.
First Star Academies UK has a close relationship with its sister organisation – First Star in USA which currently has 12 Academies across the country. Additional academies are starting in Canada and the USA. The First Star Academies (USA) have significantly improved the outcomes of participating youth across the country. In the USA, 99% of First Star Academy youth who have completed four years of the programme have graduated from their high school, and 91% have enrolled in higher education, at a range of universities. All First Star Academies UK students are supported in their aspiration to attend university, further education (post 18) or training.
For more information on our existing academy programme or if you are interested in establishing an Academy – contact Dr Lorna Goodwin, Executive Director of First Star Academies UK at firstname.lastname@example.org.