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Student 2019/20 - Religion or belief

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Student 2019/20

Fields required from institutions in All fields

Religion or belief

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valid entries
Short nameRELBLF

This field records the religious belief of the student, on the basis of their own self-assessment

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All students

Valid entries and labels
01No religion
04Christian - Church of Scotland
05Christian - Roman Catholic
06Christian - Presbyterian Church in Ireland
07Christian - Church of Ireland
08Christian - Methodist Church in Ireland
09Christian - Other denomination
80Any other religion or belief
98Information refused
99Not known

Religion or belief is recorded on the basis of the student's own self-assessment.

Suggested questions are those used in the 2011 census.

England and Wales: What is your religion?

Scotland: What religion, religious body, or denomination do you belong to?

Northern Ireland: What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to?

The phrase 'Prefer not to say' can be used when collecting the data.

Coverage of the HESA coding frame is shown in the following table.

Providers are expected to ask this question of new entrants and to make little use of valid entry 99. However, in instances where a student does not answer the question then valid entry 99 should be returned. Providers are expected to reconfirm this information with the student on at least an annual basis.

Valid entry 98 should only be used for explicit refusals.

HESA coding frame for providers in: E S W NI
01 No religion Y Y Y Y
02 Buddhist Y Y Y Y
03 Christian Y Y
04 Christian - Church of Scotland Y
05 Christian - Roman Catholic Y Y
06 Christian - Presbyterian Church in Ireland Y
07 Christian - Church of Ireland Y
08 Christian - Methodist Church in Ireland Y
09 Christian - Other denomination Y Y
10 Hindu Y Y Y Y
11 Jewish Y Y Y Y
12 Muslim Y Y Y Y
13 Sikh Y Y Y Y
14 Spiritual Y Y Y Y
80 Any other religion or belief Y Y Y Y
98 Prefer not to say/Information refused Y Y Y Y
99 Not known Y Y Y Y

Advance HE has recommended inclusion of code 14 'Spiritual' which was not included in the Census. This will be grouped with 'Any other religion or belief' for onward analysis. Advance HE define 'Spiritual' as 'Spiritual - belief in the spiritual dimension of all life, which can be experienced directly and without the assistance of conventional religion'. All other categories are consistent with the census of the applicable country.

Advance HE has a number of resources relating to gathering information across the protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010. If you have any further queries regarding equality monitoring, please view

When collecting this data, providers can choose to use the answer option 'Prefer not to say' which can be mapped to 'Information Refused'.

Quality rules
Quality rules relating to this entity are displayed here.
Part of
Field length2
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: RELBLF
OwnerAdvance HE
Date modified2020-02-06
Change management notesThe sentence 'Providers are expected to reconfirm this information with the student, on at least an annual basis' has been relocated within the guidance to add clarity.

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