Early start for Aimhigher

January 8, 2009

Peter Davies found that once exam grades were taken into account, for sixth formers there was no relationship between parental occupation and aspirations for higher education ("HE ambitions linked to interest in current affairs", 1 January).

But this does not negate the need for Aimhigher partnerships to target those from lower socio-economic groups. These groups remain underrepresented in the higher education student population.

This is largely because they are less likely than their middle-class counterparts to progress to level-three study in the sixth form. Hence, the very people whom Aimhigher is intended to serve were excluded from Davies' sample. These groups need to be identified at an earlier stage in secondary school, and it is at this point that the targeting guidelines are operationalised by Aimhigher partnerships.

Sue Hatt, Regional manager, Aimhigher SW.

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