Our Impact

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First Story has a track record of success, and our previous evaluations have shown that our intervention in schools has a positive impact on students’
creativity, communication skills, confidence and resilience.

In 2015-16 we partnered with youth and education think tank LKMco to evaluate the impact of the First Story programme through qualitative and quantitative surveys.


  • 100% of teachers and writers report that writing has improved for all or the majority of their First Story students.
  • 88% of teachers and writers report that students write more for pleasure.


  • 92% of teachers and writers report that students are more confident as a result of doing First Story.
  • 82% of teachers and writers report that when they are being creative, their students are more likely to keep going until they are happy with their work.


  • 90% of teachers and writers report that students’ aspirations have been raised.
  • 72% of teachers and writers report that their students are more likely to believe that they have a lot of options in life.

Monitoring and evaluation consistently shows a positive correlation between exam results and participation in the First Story programme. Attendance levels rise for participating students and their engagement in the classroom improves.

Through our creative writing programme, First Story is helping young people to improve literacy and grow in awareness, self-esteem and confidence, which can then underpin the rest of their lives and lead to future success.


  • 100% of writers report that First Story develops their skills as an educator; 91% report that First Story is a source of creative ideas, energy and inspiration.
  • 100% of teachers report that First Story is a source of inspiration, motivation and creative ideas for their own teaching practices.


Since its beginnings, First Story has:

  • run 320 residenciesin secondary schools serving low-income communities
  • given4,650 students the chance to take part in weekly creative writing workshops
  • worked with150 acclaimed authors and 400 teachers and librarians
  • produced over100,000 original stories and poems335 anthologies100 postcards, and six award-winning six word stories

In the 2016-17 academic year, we are running 70 residencies in secondary schools serving low-income communities in the East Midlands, East Yorkshire, London, the South West and West Yorkshire, working directly with 1,500 students. Another 5,000 students will experience the programme by participating in our National Writing Competition and National Writing Day, or by attending a visit with a Royal Society of Literature Fellow, an assembly given by one of our writers, or one of the book-launch events at participating schools.

We work with 110 teachers and librarians on a weekly basis, and with an additional 650 teachers in dedicated Continuing Professional Development sessions in their schools or through our work with partner organisations including the National Association for the Teaching of English, the Prince’s Teaching Institute and Teach First, helping to enhance creative writing teaching practices in non-First Story schools across the country.

Read the First Story Annual Report 2014-15

Read the First Story Theory of Change



First Story has changed my life. It has transformed me from an insecure, lost, quiet, sixteen-year-old refugee, completely embarrassed about every aspect of her identity, to a confident, defiant, ambitious, proud Scottish-African Muslim woman, who is determined to shape her future, and make life better for
those around her. It has made me realise that I am significant, and that my voice is important in this world. Azfa took part in the First Story creative-writing programme at her school in Oxford with Writer-in-Residence Kate Clanchy. Read her full story here.

Read more testimonials about First Story here.