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Student 2018/19 - Forenames

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Student 2018/19

Fields required from institutions in All fields


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Short nameFNAMES

This field records the forenames of the student.

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All students where any Instance.REDUCEDI = 00, 01, 04 or 08


In cases where the student does not split their name between family and forenames, the whole name should be entered in Student.SURNAME and an empty element should be returned, i.e:


The full forename of the student, as, for example, it is displayed on the student's official ID should be returned.

For students entering through UCAS this information will be available from UCAS via the *J transaction.

The field length has been set to 100 characters to align this field with the ISB Aligned Data Definitions.

Valid characters

The question of valid characters is significant in this field since many names include characters with accents and other diacritics that are not supported by the standard ASCII characterset. The valid characterset available for this field follows the Data Standards in the HESA student record.

  • The general policy is to support all Latin-based characters for names, addresses and general text fields, but not non-Latin characters.
  • All Unicode code charts for Latin characters are supported. These are Basic Latin (excluding the C0 control characters), Latin-1 (excluding the C1 control characters), Latin Extended A, Latin Extended B and Latin Extended Additional. This set corresponds to Unicode code points U+0020 to U+007E, U+00A0 to U+024F and U+1E00 to U+1EFF.
  • Schemas are built in such a way that an individual project can further restrict the set if required.

The character set chosen will support Welsh and Gaelic languages as well as all European and most other languages using a Latin-based character set.

The Unicode charts that list each of the characters in this range can be found on the Unicode web site. The specific sets that are defined here are shown in the following PDF documents:

Files must be encoded with UTF-8 and schema validation will be in place to ensure this. Providers must specify the encoding used in their XML files in the first line of the file (i.e. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>) and to ensure that their files are actually saved with that encoding. If XML files are edited with some text editors and the encoding is not specified or does not match the actual file encoding, there may be problems when submitting these files for validation.

For providers generating an ILR file, please note that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) schema does not permit carriage returns, line feeds, double quotes, pipes or numeric characters to be returned under this field.  These are however permitted in an ILR file generated by the HESA system, so if these characters are returned they will not be highlighted as errors under HESA validation.

Quality rules
Quality rules relating to this entity are displayed here.
Reason required To facilitate HESA checking data with providers and for Statutory Customers to link student records collected by HESA for statistical purposes.
Part of
Field length100
Minimum occurrences0
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: FNAMES
Data type: NameWithNullType
OwnerInformation Standards Board - Aligned Data Definitions
Date modified2019-10-16
Change management notesGuidance has been updated to state that the student's forename should be returned as it is displayed on their official identity.

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