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Letters - Networks key to university take-up

The dramatic rise in the number of further education students moving into higher education is a great achievement ("FE reaches higher levels", FE Focus, February 13). You highlight many of the reasons behind this success story. However, you omit one major factor: the role of the lifelong learning networks.

One of the core reasons for the Higher Education Funding Council for England setting up the 30 lifelong learning networks nationwide was to make it easier for learners on vocational courses (often at FE colleges) to progress seamlessly on to HE.

In the three years since the creation of the networks, more than 1,000 progression agreements have been signed to clarify entry requirements from FE into HE, with many more in development. We have allocated more than 74,000 additional student places.

We have more than 400 academic partners working with us and about 5,000 education professionals have undertaken our staff development activities.

It is more than just coincidence that the lifespan of lifelong learning networks matches almost exactly the timescale of the 52 per cent rise in the number of FE students accepted on to higher education courses.

Sue Betts, Director, Linking London Lifelong Learning Network.

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