How to boost numbers 2

August 25, 2006

Your report on the lack of success in boosting university student numbers ("Labour's student ambitions falter", August 18) is not helped by the fact that constant references are made to progression to university via A levels. The aim is not only to increase numbers of students but also to widen participation.

Students with good BTEC national diplomas are well prepared for university, as are some Advanced Apprentices with level-3 qualifications.

These non-traditional students offer the greatest opportunity to the Government to meet its target and offer the greatest potential to the economy in terms of producing employees who are ready for the world of work.

Many 16-year-olds are unaware of the vocational route to higher education.

Colleges face an uphill battle promoting vocational education as a route to be considered by the more academically inclined. Schools, universities and the education press can do more to help ensure awareness of these.

Judith Armstrong. Basingstoke College of Technology

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