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Alternative provider student record 2016/17 - Further guidance on file structures for submission

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Alternative provider student record 2016/17 - Further guidance on file structures for submission

Version 1.0 Produced 2016-09-06

This document is intended to provide an overview of the interactions between the different sections of the file structure and assist providers in understanding what data will need to be returned in each year.

Within an XML file structure data items with similar properties are grouped into entities and sub-entities. These groups have a number of interdependencies and their relationships can be referred to as 'nesting'.

The diagram below is based on the File structure for the AP student record and shows how the nesting works in practice:

Entity diagram - AP student record

For example, a provider must return at least one student and that student must have an instance of engagement with the provider (be on a course) and that course must have a subject.

The AP student record consists of four main data entities, as illustrated in the Data model. These entities also contain a number of sub-entities which group related data items together into blocks of data. The File structure shows the relationship between the entities and sub-entities and is a useful way to visualise the record.

Not all of the data items, sub-entities or entities will need to be returned for each student in each reporting year and this document is intended to assist providers in determining which data they will need to return.

Entity diagram - AP student record all years

Those entities and sub-entities in blue in the diagram above are expected every year for all students. The sub-entities in grey are only required under certain circumstances.

More detail on the specific data items contained within each entity and sub-entity can be found within the Data Items document on the coding manual. This contains the coverage statements for the entities which explain under which circumstances the data is expected to be returned.

Entities and sub-entities


The Provider entity must be returned in each year as this is used to identify the provider making the return.

Course and Course Subject

In each year, the provider must return a full set of course and subject data for each of the courses that are active in the HESA reporting year and fall within the coverage of the record.


Every provider must return at least one student to HESA in each year and for each student a certain number of data items are required in order to uniquely identify them and track their activity. The Student entity contains data items related to the personal attributes of the student such as name, date of birth and identifiers (Student.HUSID and Student.SSN for example). These attributes are not expected to change between years however they must be returned in every year that the student is included in the AP student record.

Student Equality

The Student entity contains the 'Student Equality' sub-entity which contains data items relating to equal opportunities characteristics. This sub-entity must only be returned for students on designated courses. The data returned within this sub-entity for a student are liable to change between years as they should be based on self-assessment by the student. It is important that students are given the opportunity to update this information at least once a year, for example through enrolment and re-enrolment.

Entry Profile and Qualifications On Entry

The Entry Profile sub-entity contains data relating to the student prior to entry onto the course and is only required to be returned in the first year in which the student is returned to HESA. The Qualifications on Entry sub-entity is attached to the Entry Profile sub-entity and is only returned where an Entry Profile has been submitted and then only for a subset of students. The Qualifications on Entry data is only necessary where the entrant is domiciled in the UK and has a level three (A-level equivalent) or Access course qualification.

Instance and Instance Period

In addition to capturing information about the student as a person, data about their engagement at the provider is also required. This information is reported through the Instance entity and the InstancePeriod sub-entity. The Instance entity captures the overarching information about what the student is doing at the provider such as what course they were studying, where and when they started studying. Some of this information may change over time if the student changes their study pattern, for example moving to a part-time mode of study or transfers to a different course, and as such the entity must be returned in each reporting period in which the student is submitted.

The InstancePeriod sub-entity is related to the instance but looks in more detail at the specific activity taking place within the HESA reporting period (01 August-31 July). The concept of Instance Period is key to the AP student record and more information can be found within the Data items document. Every student returned within the record must be linked to an instance with at least one Instance Period relating to the reporting year.

Qualifications Awarded

As a result of the activity within the instance period a student may be awarded either a final qualification (if the instance has ended) or an interim qualification. These awards are returned through the Qualifications Awarded sub-entity. The Qualifications Awarded data must only be returned where an award has been made.

Contact Liaison by email or on 01242 211144.