Reconstructing a history involves choosing emphases. In the case of the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA), as in others, there are inevitably perceptions, interpretations, silences, that are not shared or are differently understood by other participants and onlookers. The broadening of access to higher education has been a constant preoccupation of the CNAA in a number of respects. It has been instrumental particularly in establishing the polytechnics and colleges as an alternative sector of higher education, with the increasing numbers of students that we have seen entering the new higher education institutions and the expanded and new areas of study that they have represented. Cynthia Iliffe, a long-serving officer of the CNAA, notably as Registrar for Business and Management Studies, describes the 1970s as enormously exciting precisely because the work of the CNAA was worthwhile in 'broadening access and expanding the system of higher education as a whole'.