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December 24, 2004

Surely the future of Aimhigher - designed to widen access to higher education - is threatened by a lack of clear measures for its £300 million investment? There are some worrying signs that the Government's cash might be misdirected at best, or simply unmeasured at worst.

For example, the recent report from the Sutton Trust, which indicated that 3,000 academically qualified state-school students are failing to be admitted to top universities in favour of independent-school pupils, raises a question mark over the success of recent "inclusion" initiatives.

While I firmly support the purpose and objectives of Aimhigher, my concern is about its ability to succeed without a clear set of concrete measures.

Work with major UK universities leads me to believe that many local educational managers are simply unaware of the measures of success for such significant levels of investment.

This suggests that the measures either are being poorly communicated and measured against or simply fail to exist.

The first possibility is a major concern; the second needs urgent correction, particularly if Aimhigher is to prove its value when it is reviewed in 2006.

How could a government of any political persuasion back the extension of Aimhigher past 2006 without the evidence to warrant such a decision?

David Roberts
Managing director, LG01 Limited

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