Adoption of the Unique Learner Number in Higher Education

A Blueprint Report for the adoption of the ULN in Higher Education will be published to the HEDIIP website the end of June. 

Background to the project
The Unique Learner Number (ULN) is a 10 digit standard person identifier administered by the Learning Records Service (LRS). It is mandatory for state funded FE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and for state funded schools in England and Wales. It is being mandated in state funded schools in Northern Ireland in September 2015. The ULN is not mandatory in independent schools, has not been adopted in Scotland and is not currently allocated to non-UK learners.

The Unique Learner Number is the key to the Personal Learning Record (PLR) which is a record of an individuals educational achievement. The Personal Learning Record is accessed by a student through creating a Lifelong Learning Account with the National Careers Service. Schools and FE Providers access PLRs either through the Learning Record Service portal or through establishing an interface with the LRS.

Currently only a limited proportion of ULNs are flowing through into Higher Education and Higher Education achievement is not included on the Personal Learning Record.

ULN CurrentThe number of different person identifiers used in HE data is a real barrier to efficient data processing and to coherent student-facing services. The adoption of the ULN in Higher Education could provide an opportunity for rationalising student identifiers once the ULN is embedded and trusted.

HEDIIP is undertaking a project to develop a blueprint and implementation plan for the ULN in Higher Education. Adoption of the ULN in HE will be a key step in creating a more coherent and coordinated HE information landscape.

The ULN project is taking forward the work described in the 2013 ‘roadmap to implementation’ report. During the ‘design stage’ the project has engaged with a wide variety of stakeholders in order to explore current and future use of the ULN across Higher Education and to identify benefits and concerns. The outputs of this engagement have been analysed to draft a blueprint for the adoption of the ULN in HE.