How schools in England can obtain Unique Learner Numbers (ULNs)
Your school or academy will need to start preparing for the mandatory collection of ULNs for all learners, aged 14 and above, using the School, Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) and Alternative Provision (AP) Censuses from January 2014. Independent Schools can find out further information about ULNs here.
You can begin obtaining ULNs for your pupils right away. Any ULNs obtained prior to, or during 2013 will be collected as part of the current voluntary collections of ULNs through the School Census.
ULNs can be obtained for pupils through the School to School (S2S) system initially, by submitting a Common Transfer File (CTF) containing pupil details. Management Information (MI) suppliers have been asked to consider ways of automating this process longer term.
It is recommended that schools and academies obtain ULNs for their pupils at the start of each school academic year for the Year 9 cohort of pupils.
What you need to do
To obtain ULNs for pupils from the School to School (S2S), you will need to do the following:
How to manage ULN exceptions
A ULN exception will occur when a ULN is not obtained for a pupil because of a data error or possible matches being returned. It is possible you will receive a small percentage of ULN exceptions. You will be able to resolve ULN exceptions by directly accessing the LRS Organisation Portal and following the exceptions guidance.
You will need to register with the Learning Records Service (LRS) so you can access the LRS Organisation Portal. The LRS website has a sign up page that explains how to do this and the two forms that will need to be completed in order to register.
Guidance for resolving ULN exceptions
You will need to read the documentation below for instructions on how to resolve data errors or possible matches:
Communicating ULNs to Pupils and Privacy Notices
It is very important to inform pupils so that they know their ULN. This is different from a Unique Pupil Number (UPN), where the guidance remains clear that pupils should not routinely be told of their UPN as it should remain a ‘blind’ number.
However, pupils will need to use their ULN throughout their lifelong learning in a similar way as the National Insurance number is used for employment. It is also important to give pupils a copy of the standard schools’ Privacy Notice, which includes information about the ULN and informs pupils about how their data is being shared.