The HEA is hosting publications and materials produced by Aimhigher partnerships in order that they remain available to the HE, school and college communities. Aimhigher closed in July 2011 following over seven years of support dedicated to widening participation and access in HE.

Aimhigher was a national programme (in England) which aimed to widen participation and access in HE by raising awareness, aspirations and attainment among learners from under-represented groups.

Aimhigher encompassed a wide range of activities to engage and motivate learners who had the potential to enter HE, but were under-achieving, undecided or lacking in confidence. The programme particularly focused on children in school from lower socio-economic groups and those from disadvantaged backgrounds who lived in areas of relative deprivation where participation in HE was low.

Partnership model delivery

The Aimhigher programme was delivered through a partnership model where funding and activities were managed amongst schools, FE colleges and HE organisations by central co-ordinating bodies known as Aimhigher partnerships. Partnerships were in place in 2004 and, over the course of the programme, became mature entities with stable and secure relationships in place. They were impartial, flexible and enabled a local response to a national problem by facilitating collected and co-ordinated action from many partners. Between 2008-11, the last phase of the programme, there were 42 partnerships working throughout England.

The role of Aimhigher was to:

  • raise aspirations and motivation to enter HE among learners from under-represented groups
  • help raise attainment of learners from under-represented groups so that they gained the academic or vocational qualifications that would enable them to enter HE
  • offer information, advice and guidance to potential students and their teachers and families

The programme was jointly funded by the HEFCE and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with contributions from the Learning and Skills Council (now the Skills Funding Agency) and the Department of Health.

View Aimhigher resources