To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many pupils participated in an Aimhigher programme in each year since 2005, broken down by local authority; and if he will make a statement.
I have been asked to reply.
Information is not currently available as requested on the number of pupils participating in Aimhigher activities. Information is gathered from Aimhigher partnerships via annual monitoring reports. Due to the diversity of activities delivered by partnerships and differences in recording those activities it has not been possible to collate these in a coherent and reliable format. We are currently working with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on the design of a new monitoring report which will enable us to gather data in a more consistent way.
Aimhigher is an important part of the Government's policies to widen participation in higher education amongst people from under-represented groups. Evidence from predecessor programmes shows that the type of activities supported by Aimhigher are successful in raising the aspirations of young people towards higher education, and their attainment whilst at school or college.
The Department, together with HEFCE, is working hard to improve the impact of Aimhigher further. Last year, HEFCE published guidance to help aimhigher partnerships target their interventions more effectively on young people from lower socio-economic groups and other priority target groups. More recently, guidance was published on how to develop programmes of interventions to build up commitment, rather than delivering one-off interventions.