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Alternative provider student 2017/18 - Instance periodInstancePeriod

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Alternative provider student 2017/18

Fields required from institutions in All fields

Instance period

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Short nameInstancePeriod

This records a specific unit of engagement within the student instance.

Applicable toEngland Scotland

All instances.


An Instance period is a cohesive and continuous unit of academic activity. Instance periods are defined by the provider but are typically analogous to the concept of a provider's academic year. Instance periods should be no longer than 12 months.

Where a provider charges fees on an annual basis, with no further breakdown or there are no clearly defined discrete units of activity within an instance it is recommended that instance periods are defined as academic years.

When academic activity naturally falls into smaller units, for example when a fee is charged for each of these units, providers may choose to return these units as instance periods, using InstancePeriod.PERIODSTART and InstancePeriod.PERIODEND to record the lengths. For example, a provider may elect to return semesters as instance periods. If it is anticipated that more than six instance periods will be required per twelve month period, please contact the Institution Liaison team in advance of preparing the data submission.

A new instance period should be opened when a student makes substantial changes to their activity, which is relevant to Office for Students and DfE for designation monitoring purposes. In particular, a new instance period is necessary where:

  • A student on a designated course changes their mode of study (and therefore changes course)
  • A student transfers from a designated course to a non-designated course or vice-versa
  • Where study has been suspended and resumed

Example 1: a student commences study in September on a full-time designated Business studies HND. In January the student elects to study on a part time basis and consequently a new instance period is required.

As the course is designated, the InstancePeriod.COURSEID also changes when the student changes mode of study.

In addition to the above scenarios which necessitate a new instance period to be created, providers may choose to return a new instance period where, for example, the student progresses from one course stage to the next or to account for vacation time.

Please see individual field pages for specific details regarding how they should be returned when instance periods span reporting years.

Example 2: a student commences study in October on a full-time designated Undergraduate course in Conservation. The student decides to suspend their studies in February where NOTACT 01 should be returned. They re-commence their studies in May on a full-time basis and consequently a new instance period is required.

Quality rules
Quality rules relating to this entity are displayed here.
Part of
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrencesunbounded
Schema components
Element: InstancePeriod
Has parts

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.