Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE)
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Aimhigher summer schools successful at reaching out to disadvantaged young people

The first national analysis of the Aimhigher summer school programme was launched recently at the Action on Access Summer Schools Conference in Birmingham.

These summer schools aim to give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds a real taste of what life in higher education might be like. The HEFCE report provides evidence that the programme has been successful in this regard: young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are around twice as likely as other groups to attend an Aimhigher summer school.

From 2004 to 2008 the Aimhigher summer school programme was the largest of its kind in England: 41,000 young people attended 1,350 summer schools that took place at 113 higher education institutions. The report found that young people from most types of disadvantaged background have relatively high participation rates in summer schools. The analysis also revealed that summer school participation rates varied across geographical regions; that boys had lower participation rates than girls; and, among broad ethnic group categories, the White group had the lowest participation rate.

John Selby, HEFCE Director (Education and Participation) commented:

'Attending an Aimhigher summer school can be a life-changing experience. This report shows that the limited resources available for this important work are focused on disadvantaged young learners from the target group. However, there remains much to be done, including ensuring that factors such as sex and ethnic group should not be barriers to experiencing what summer schools have to offer.'

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