Families and Carers Zone

All the resources you need for when your daughter or son join National Star.

Two parents and their daughter smiling with their hands up

We know that it can be a hugely emotional time for parents and students when they join National Star. Parents of first year students often have mixed emotions. For example, you may feel apprehensive about your son or daughter becoming more independent or living away from home for the first time. In addition, you may feel anxious that staff may be unable to understand the complex needs of your child. You may also be feeling excited about what the future holds for your son or daughter. These are all perfectly understandable emotions.

We have years of experience in supporting families during this transitional time in your family’s life. We will be on hand to support you and your son or daughter at every stage. You’ll have lots of questions initially and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Parent and Carers Forum

We’d encourage you to join our Parent and Carers Forum, which meets regularly to discuss topics of common interest to National Star parents. In addition, the Forum, hosted on Zoom, gives parents the chance to meet informally and get to know each other better. This is particularly helpful for parents or carers who wish to arrange day trips out or get togethers for students during college holidays.

Save the date!

Pop the dates of our next Parent and Carers Forum meetings in your diary.

  • Money matters – 11 June 2024 (6pm – 7.30pm) We have joined forces with Contact, a charity for families with disabled children, to run a Parent and Carers Forum on the hot topic of benefits. The session will provide an overview of benefits, DLA, Carers Allowance, grants, discounts on utilities, leisure and discounts for carers. The session is designed to dispel myths around benefits.
  • Mental health awareness – 9 July 2024 (6pm – 7.30pm)

You may also wish to join the private Facebook group National Star ‘Life after College’ Parent and Carers Network. This group is the perfect space to share and receive information with other National Star parents and carers supporting their young people for life after college.

Previous forum presentations

Student exceptional leave

In order for students to make the most of their time at National Star we expect them to have full attendance at college. However, we do understand, that due to illness or exceptional circumstances, parents or carers may need to request time away from college for their son or daughter. Please view our guidance and enter the form.

Student Resources

To help you support your son or daughter as they become more independent we have created a collection of resources to help you plan their time at National Star.

Education, Health and Care Plans

The Independent Parental Special Education Advice service is a charity that offers advice and support to parents of disabled children. Specifically, it runs regular masterclasses on the information and EHCP should contain, how to achieve that through annual reviews, re-assessments and appeals.

Contact a Family
A national charity for families with disabled children, providing information, advice and support.

Grants, Funding and Student bursaries

Disability Grants
A portal website that will signpost you to available grants for young people with disabilities.

You’re Welcome
Gloucestershire-based Barnwood Trust offers a number of grants to young people with disabilities.

Gloucestershire Disability Fund
The Gloucestershire Disability Fund provides grants to people with disabilities of all ages to enhance the lives of people living with a physical, sensory or learning disability.

The Family Fund
The Family Fund helps young people aged 18 to 24 years old living at home with small grants that can be used to purchase digital/computer and sports equipment, grants towards clubs or activities, transport and recreational activities. They also offer grants for young people with disabilities stating college or undertaking a vocational course.

The Government 16-19 Bursary Fund

The Government 16-19 Bursary Fund provides financial help for young people aged 16-19 who face barriers to staying in education. It is available to all 16-19 year olds studying in school/academy sixth forms, colleges and training providers in England. There are two types of bursary available:

  • Bursaries of £1,200 a year for the most vulnerable young people who meet the requirements
  • Bursaries are based on financial hardship and factors limiting access to education. Applications are open to learners 16 – 25. National Star administers the Bursary on behalf of the government.

If you require any information you should contact: bursary@nationalstar.org.

Disability rights

Disability Rights UK
A national organisation working to strengthen the voices of people with a wide range of disabilities or health conditions.

Learning Disability Wales
An organisation working to create a better Wales for all people with a learning disability.

Support for families

Special Needs Jungle
Parent-led information, resources and informed opinion about children and young people with SEN, special needs, disability, health conditions and rare diseases.

The National Network of Parent Carer Forums is a network of over 150 Parent Carer Forums in England and is funded by central government.

Life after college

Transition planning

Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities
The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities influences government and local authority policies and services so that they better meet the needs of people with learning disabilities, their families and carers.

Social care and housing

Foundation House
National Star’s long-term residential accommodation for people with physical and learning disabilities. It is based in Gloucester.

The National Health Service in England.


A website that helps people with disabilities find work and has lots of useful online employment services.

Incluzy is the UK’s leading disability jobs board.

Guidance for employers

Even Break
An online job site that matches employers with disabled job seekers.

Business Disability Forum
A not-for-profit member organisation that makes it easier and more rewarding to do business with and employ disabled people.

Find out more and apply to National Star

If in in doubt, please don’t hesitate to ring our fantastic Admissions team on 01242 534928 / 527631 or send an email to admissions@nationalstar.org. They will be able to help you, point you in the right direction and share their experiences, enabling you to move forward.