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COVID-19 exceptional guidance for 19/20 HESA collections

Further to our recent COVID-19 update, please find below exceptional guidance for the 19/20 collections. Exceptional guidance takes precedence over existing guidance in each coding manual.

We will continue to update this area as we respond to further points of clarification. Please contact [email protected] for examples or areas you wish to be considered.

COVID-19 FAQs

For frequently asked questions about data submission please view our COVID-19 FAQ page here.

C19051 Student record: exceptional guidance

 

 

Field / entity New guidance Applicable to Last Updated
Course.BITTM This field should reflect the original design of the course even if it had to be subsequently amended due to disruption caused by the pandemic. S  
Module.FTE This should remain as originally anticipated and should not be updated to reflect any change made as a result of the pandemic. E, NI, S, W  
Module.MODLANG For courses starting during the pandemic there may be uncertainty about whether or not modules are delivered in a Celtic language due to changes in delivery method. If there is uncertainty, for example where normally the module would have students studying wholly or partly in a Celtic language, but no students actually did because of the pandemic, providers can either record MODLANG as being taught in a Celtic language (codes 1, 2 or 3) to indicate it would normally be available in a Celtic language, or as not being taught through a Celtic language (code 9). NI, W  
Module.MODLANG This field should reflect how the module was intended to be taught even if it could not be taught in Gaelic due to disruption caused by the pandemic. S  
Module.TINST This should reflect who delivered teaching. If due to the pandemic a change is made to the delivery method (for example a move to online delivery) which resulted in a change of teaching provider, this should be reflected in TINST. Where a course has moved online TINST should reflect the provider that created and would assess the material hosted online. E, NI, S, W  
Module.PCOLAB If a change in delivery method due to the pandemic (for example to online) resulted in a change of teaching provider, the proportion of the module not taught by this provider should reflect that change. E, NI, S, W  
Module.COSTCN This should remain as the student's study intention and should not be updated to reflect any change made as a result of the pandemic. E, NI, S, W  
Module.MODSBJ For 2019-20 Scottish providers are not required to return module subjects. Validation that enforces the return of this data will be handled through switches. S  
Student.TTACCOM Where possible this should reflect the type of accommodation in which the student spent the majority of their time while teaching was being delivered. TTACCOM should not be changed if the student's accommodation changes purely as a result of the pandemic. If the student started studies after restrictions during the pandemic took effect the TTACCOM that applied at the time of registration/collection of this data should apply. Where this information is not known at the time of registration during the pandemic TTACCOM may be returned as 'not known'. E, NI, S, W  
Student.TTPCODE Where possible this should reflect the postcode where student was resident during the majority of their time while teaching was being delivered. TTPCODE should not be changed if the student's accommodation changes purely as a result of the pandemic. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.CAMPID This should reflect the student's intended campus prior to the pandemic. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.MCDATE A student's mode should not be changed to dormant if this results solely from a change in provision due to the pandemic. This field should only be used for postgraduate students who formally change mode. Where mode is changed to dormant this should only be to reflect a formal suspension of studies, rather than where a student briefly pauses their studies because of the pandemic. Where students have paused study to join the NHS during the pandemic this is not considered to be a formal change and MCDATE would not need to be returned. Where a student is unable to cotinue studying becase they do not have the means to study online when the course has moved to distance learning this would not be considered a formal suspension and MCDATE would not need to be returned. E, NI  
Instance.COLFROMPROV This should reflect the actual activity undertaken. If the planned transfer did not happen due to the pandemic then it should not be returned. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.COLTOPROV This should reflect the actual activity undertaken. If the planned transfer did not happen due to the pandemic then it should not be returned. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.FUNDCOMP This field will not be used by the OfS other than to identify records which are excluded from the HESES population (FUNDCOMP=9). Providers should return FUNDCOMP in a way that minimises burden, and may wish to return FUNDCOMP=3 for all or some students if burden is reduced through this approach. FUNDCOMP =9 should not be returned except to identify  students to be excluded from HESES recreation. The OfS still intends to do some form of limited HESES recreation based on 2019-20 data and records with FUNDCOMP=9 will be excluded. E  
Instance.FUNDCOMP For instances that finished before the disruption due to the pandemic it is expected that FUNDCOMP will be returned as per the field guidance. For courses completing after the disruption started, code 3 can be be used where FUNDCOMP is not codeable (where codes 1, 2, 3 or 4 may have been used previously). FUNDCOMP 9 should not be used except to identify students to be excluded from the HESES population. NI, W  
Instance.COLFROMDATE This should reflect the actual activity undertaken. If the planned transfer did not happen due to the pandemic then it should not be returned. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.COLTODATE This should reflect the actual activity undertaken. If the planned transfer did not happen due to the pandemic then it should not be returned. E, NI, S, W  
       
Instance.ENDDATE For the majority of students this should reflect student's actual activity. If the course is completed early due to the pandemic, ENDDATE should record the actual date the course finished.
For students in medicine, nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects that have been graduated early to allow them to start work with the NHS, the ENDDATE can reflect the student’s predicted ENDDATE.
Where a student withdrew before the start of the pandemic then the last date of engagement with the structured course should still be used as their ENDDATE. If a student withdrew following the start of the pandemic then a best estimate of last engagement should be used. Where structured activity runs beyond the end of the reporting year in to the next as a result of the pandemic then the ENDDATE should reflect the student's actual ENDDATE in the subsequent reporting year.
E, NI 15 July 2020
Instance.ENDDATE For the majority of students this should reflect student's actual activity. If the course is completed early due to the pandemic, ENDDATE should record the actual date the course finished.
For students in medicine, nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects that have been graduated early to allow them to start work with the NHS, the ENDDATE can reflect the student’s predicted ENDDATE.
Where a student withdrew before the start of the pandemic then the last date of engagement with the structured course should still be used as their ENDDATE. If a student withdrew following the start of the pandemic then a best estimate of last engagement should be used. Where structured activity runs beyond the end of the reporting year in to the next as a result of the pandemic then the ENDDATE should reflect the student's actual ENDDATE in the subsequent reporting year. If the activity in the subsequent reporting year is short and simply to finish off activity primarily undertaken before the end of the reporting year, providers can make a judgement about whether the activity in the subsequent reporting year should be reported or whether an ENDDATE in the reporting year can be returned
W 15 July 2020
Instance.ENDDATE For the majority of students this should reflect student's actual activity. For the students at Scottish providers who graduated early to enable them to undertake roles as key workers during the pandemic the providers can return either the actual or the originally planned end date. Where structured activity runs beyond the end of the reporting year in to the next as a result of the pandemic then the ENDDATE should reflect the student's actual ENDDATE in the subsequent reporting year. S 15 July 2020
Instance.EXCHANGE This should reflect the student's intention prior to the pandemic, even if the activity was cut short due to the pandemic. E, NI, W  
Instance.EXCHANGE Uses of codes Y and Z should reflect the student's intention prior to the pandemic, even if the activity was cut short due to the pandemic. Whether or not a student is an incoming exchange student should not be effected by the pandemic. If a student was due to come as an incoming exchange but could not because of the pandemic then they should not be included unless they undertook their exchange studies by distance learning. S  
Instance.SPLENGTH This should remain as the intended length of the course, even if the course was cut short or extended due to the pandemic. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.LOADYRA This should reflect the student's intended activity prior to the pandemic. It should not be reduced to take account of the disruption. E, NI  
Instance.LOADYRB This should reflect the student's intended activity prior to the pandemic. It should not be reduced to take account of the disruption. E, NI  
Instance.GROSSFEE No change should be made to coding for this as it reflects the fee for the year. If any discounts are applied because of the pandemic this should be captured in NETFEE not GROSSFEE. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.INITIATIVES If the student started the INITIATIVE this should be captured, even if it was cut short due to the pandemic. E, NI, W  
Instance.INITIATIVES Scottish providers should identify students on Graduate Apprenticeships using code K. Providers are not required to identify students supported by SFC's Upskilling Funds (code 17). S  
Instance.YEARLGTH This should not be adjusted to take account of any change solely due to the pandemic. This should be the normal number of weeks from the commencement of study, the first teaching week, to the completion within the current year of the course as per the current guidance. S, W  
Instance.FUNDLEV This should reflect the student's intention prior to the pandemic. FUNDLEV = 99 should only be used to exclude students from HESES population. E, NI  
Instance.LOCSDY In general this should reflect the student's intention prior to the pandemic. For example, if the student was supposed to be at the provider for the whole year then they should be returned as such, even if they had to move to distance learning due to the pandemic.
If a student was due to go on a placement or study abroad after the pandemic arrangements were put in place and was unable to go, then they should only be recorded as distance learning if they would normally have moved to distance learning if the placement or study abroad was cancelled. If a student is still undertaking the activity that would have been expected as part of the time abroad or on placement but via distance learning then they should still be returned as their intention prior to the pandemic eg studying abroad/on placement. Otherwise, they should be recorded as Z if no other codes apply. Where related validation rules are triggered these will need to be dealt with through the switch procedure.
If a student was due to have come to the UK to study and would ordinarily have been coded as S, this should only be the case if they started their study period in the UK. If they did not study in the UK at all, they should not be included in the return. If a student came to the UK but studied for less than 8 weeks when more was planned, or more than 8 weeks when less was planned, because of the pandemic arrangements, the provider can choose whether to return the instance or not.
E, NI, S, W 15 July 2020
Instance.MODE This should reflect the student's intention prior to the pandemic and should not relect any changes due to disruptions as a result of the pandemic. Only changes that were not due to the pandemic should be captured. Where the reasons for a change in mode are unclear mode should reflect the student's initial intentions. The statutory customers recognise that this might lead to some anomalies in reporting, for example a full time student may only have 80 credits worth of modules returned for a year, but that this is acceptable given the situation. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.NETFEE This should reflect any reductions made to fees due to the pandemic, along with any waivers or financial support as generally captured in this field. The exceptional guidance should only apply to students who are registered and stay for the full year, but whose fees are impacted E, NI, S, W  
Instance.SPECFEE This should reflect the fee for the student's intended activity prior to the pandemic. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.COMDATE This should reflect the first date the student starts engagment with the structured part of the course. If this was online via distance learning then this should still be captured and returned. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.STULOAD This should reflect the student's intended activity prior to the pandemic. It should not be reduced to take account of the disruption. STULOAD should not be reduced where a student is studying at a lower intensity due to a change in delivery method.

If a student has withdrawn early then, as normal, STULOAD should be reduced to reflect activity undertaken.

Where structured activity runs beyond the end of the reporting year as a result of the pandemic STULOAD should still reflect the intended STULOAD within that reporting year.  

E, NI, S 15 July 2020
Instance.STULOAD This should reflect the student's intended activity prior to the pandemic. It should not be reduced to take account of the disruption. STULOAD should not be reduced where a student is studying at a lower intensity due to a change in delivery method.

If a student has withdrawn early then, as normal, STULOAD should be reduced to reflect activity undertaken.

Where structured activity runs beyond the end of the reporting year as a result of the pandemic STULOAD should still reflect the intended STULOAD within that reporting year. Additional STULOAD can be reported in the subsequent reported year as neccessary.

W 15 July 2020
Instance.NOTACT This field should not be coded as NOTACT = 1 if this is as a result of changes to provision due to the pandemic. Students who are returned as NOTACT = 1 are excluded from the NSS 21 target list, so this should only be used for students who are entering a long-term suspension, rather than briefly pausing their studies because of the pandemic. Long term suspension is defined as one that has not been caused by the provider being unbale to continue the course due to the pandemic. Therefore if the student will resume studies as soon as the provider allows them to then this should not be recorded as NOTACT=1. E, NI, S, W  
Instance.TYPEYR This should reflect the student's intended study pattern and should not be changed if a student's year was cut short due to the pandemic. Where structured activity runs beyond the end of the reporting year as a result of the pandemic, and activity will be reported in the subsequent reporting year, TYPEYR should be returned as 2 as the year is crossing the reporting periods E, NI, S, W 15 July 2020

Mobility fields

 

This should reflect the actual activity undertaken. If the activity was shorter than planned, then this field should record how long the student was on the mobility. If it is not known exactly how long the mobility was, then an estimate should be returned. Where the provider is unable to estimate mobility length as this would be excessively burdensome, it is acceptable to return the intended mobility duration.
If the pandemic restrictions means that the duration of the mobility is now under the threshold the mobility should still be returned where it was initially expected to meet the threshold.
If a student is abroad for longer than anticipated because of the pandemic, and their activity on the mobility is also extended beyond the initial intention, then the whole mobility including the extension should be recorded. Where a placement was planned but not undertaken due to the pandemic then this should not be recorded. If mobility activity is continuing via distance learning then this should be included and captured. The country should remain as the country they should have been in.

If a student withdrew from their mobility early for reasons unrelated to the pandemic the original intention can be recorded (as per the usual guidance) but providers may return this in a way that minimses burden.

E, NI, S, W  
Financialsupport.FINTYPE Accommodation discounts relating specifically to the pandemic lockdown can be included in Financial Support. Accommodation discounts should be recorded as 03 in FINTYPE E 9 September 2020
REFdata.COLPROV This should reflect the actual activity undertaken. E, NI, S, W  
REFdata.UOA2014 This should reflect the actual activity undertaken. E, NI, S, W  
REFdata.UOAPCNT This should reflect the actual activity undertaken. E, NI, S, W  
StudentOnModule.MODID This should reflect the modules undertaken by the student. If the student undertakes different modules than planned then the modules undertaken should be returned, not those planned. E, NI, S, W  
StudentOnModule.MODOUT This will not be used by the OfS. Providers should return this in a way that minimises burden. E  
StudentOnModule.MODOUT MODOUT should be coded correctly where possible. If the module outcome is not known at the time of returning data then MODOUT=6 should be used. This may mean that MODOUT=6 is used for modules where MODSTAT=1, 2. Any resulting validation issues will be dealt with through switches. NI, W  
StudentOnModule.MODSTAT This will not be used by the OfS. Providers should return this in a way that minimises burden. E  
StudentOnModule.MODSTAT This field will be used by HEFCW and DfENI. Where modules that would normally be contained within an academic year continue for a short time into the next academic year solely because of the pandemic, providers can return them as being contained within the academic year. NI, W  
StudentOnModule.MODYR This will not be used by the OfS. Providers should return this in a way that minimises burden. E  
StudentOnModule.LANGPCNT Actual activity through the medium of Welsh and Irish should be recorded. Where all or some of the planned activity did not take place, the percentage should be recorded as zero or reduced as appropriate. Where MODLANG records that some or all of a module has teaching through the medium of Welsh or Irish and no students have taken any percentage through the medium of Welsh or Irish, any resulting validation errors can be dealt with through switches NI, W  
StudentOnModule.LANGPCNT This field should reflect how the module is usually taught and does not require to be adjusted to reflect changes caused by the pandemic. S  
ITT entities and fields Please contact Liaison with any ITT specific queries and we will work with the DfE to provide guidance where needed.    
Instance.ITTPLACEMENT Due to the impact of the pandemic it may not be possible for trainees to have compelted two placements in 2020. This has been acknowledged and removed in the DfE's current initial teacher training criteria and supporting advice found here. It is also summarised in the DfE's COVID-19 guidance for ITT that has now been published here. E  

 

C19054 Student Alternative record: exceptional guidance

 

 

Field / entity New guidance Applicable to Last Updated
Instance.FUNDCOMP This field will not be used by the OfS other than to identify records which are excluded from the HESES population (FUNDCOMP=9). Providers should return FUNDCOMP in a way that minimises burden, and may wish to return FUNDCOMP=3 for all or some students if burden is reduced through this approach. FUNDCOMP =9 should not be returned except to identify  students to be excluded from HESES recreation. The OfS still intends to do some form of limited HESES recreation based on 2019-20 data and records with FUNDCOMP=9 will be excluded. Guidance for providers in Northern Ireland and Wales: For courses that completed before 10 March 2020 it is expected that FUNDCOMP will be returned as per the field guidance. for courses completing after 10 March 2020 code 3 is expected to be used where codes 1, 2, 3 or 4 may have been used previously. FUNDCOMP 9 should not be except to identify students to be excluded from HESES recreation. E - Approved (Fee Cap)  
Instance.FUNDLEV This should reflect the student's intention prior to the pandemic. FUNDLEV = 99 should only be used to exclude students from HESES population. E - Approved (Fee Cap)  
Instance.ENDDATE For the majority of students this should reflect student's actual activity. If the course is completed early due to the pandemic, ENDDATE should record the actual date the course finished.
For students in medicine, nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects that have been graduated early to allow them to start work with the NHS, the ENDDATE can reflect the student’s predicted ENDDATE.
Where a student withdrew before the start of the pandemic then the last date of engagement with the structured course should still be used as their ENDDATE. If a student withdrew following the start of the pandemic then a best estimate of last engagement should be used. Where structured activity runs beyond the end of the reporting year in to the next as a result of the pandemic then the ENDDATE should reflect the student's actual ENDDATE in the subsequent reporting year.
E, S 15 July 2020
Instance.SPLENGTH This should remain as the intended length of the course, even if the course was cut short due to the pandemic. E, S  
Instance.GROSSFEE No change should be made to coding for this as it reflects the fee for the year. If any discounts are applied because of the pandemic this should be captured in NETFEE not GROSSFEE. E, S  
Instance.NETFEE This should reflect any reductions made to fees due to the pandemic, along with any waivers or financial support as generally captured in this field. E,S  
Instance.COMDATE This should reflect the first date the student starts engagment with the structured part of the course. If this was online via distance learning then this should still be captured and returned. E, S  
Instance Period Entity Instance periods should be returned as normal if a student is active during them.
If a student is not active at all during an instance period, due to the pandemic,  that would normally have been returned then the instance period should not be returned but the STULOAD in the previous instance period should be increased to reflect the intended activity later in the year that was cut short due to the pandemic.
E, S  
InstancePeriod.CAMPID This should reflect the student's intended campus prior to the pandemic. E, S  
InstancePeriod.LOCATION This should reflect the student's intended location prior to the pandemic. E, S  
InstancePeriod.INITIATIVES If the student started the INITIATIVE this should be captured, even if it was cut short due to the pandemic. E, S  
InstancePeriod.LOCSDY In general this should reflect the student's intention prior to the pandemic. For example, if the student was supposed to be at the provider for the whole year then they should be returned as such, even if they had to move to distance learning due to the pandemic.
If a student was due to go on a placement or study abroad after the pandemic arrangements were put in place and was unable to go, then they should only be recorded as distance learning if they would normally have moved to distance learning if the placement or study abroad was cancelled. If a student is still undertaking the activity that would have been expected as part of the time abroad or on a placement but via distance learning then they should still be returned as their intention prior to the pandemic eg studying abroad/on placement. Otherwise, they should be recorded as Z if no other codes apply. Where related validation rules are triggered these will need to be dealt with through the switch procedure.
If a student was due to have come to the UK to study and would ordinarily have been coded as S, this should only be the case if they started their study period in the UK. If they did not study in the UK at all, they should not be included in the return. If a student came to the UK but studied for less than 8 weeks when more was planned, or more than 8 weeks when less was planned, because of the pandemic arrangements, the provider can choose whether to return the instance or not.
E, S 15 July 2020
InstancePeriod.MODE This should reflect the student's intention prior to the pandemic and should not relect any changes due to disruptions as a result of the pandemic. Only changes that were not due to the pandemic should be captured. Where the reasons for a change in mode are unclear mode should reflect the student's initial intentions. The statutory customers recognise that this might lead to some anomalies in reporting, for example a full time student may only have 80 credits worth of modules returned for a year, but that this is acceptable given the situation. E, S  
InstancePeriod.NOTACT This field should not be coded as NOTACT = 1 if this is as a result of changes to provision due to the pandemic. Students who are returned as NOTACT = 1 are excluded from the NSS 21 target list, so this should only be used for students who are entering a long-term suspension, rather than briefly pausing their studies because of the pandemic. E, S  
InstancePeriod.PERIODEND

For the majority of students this should reflect student's actual activity. If the course is completed early due to the pandemic, PERIODEND should record the actual date the course finished.
For students in medicine, nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects that have been graduated early to allow them to start work with the NHS, the last PERIODEND can reflect the student’s predicted ENDDATE.
Where a student withdrew before the start of the pandemic then the last date of engagement with the structured course should still be used as their PERIODEND. If a student withdrew following the start of the pandemic then a best estimate of last engagement should be used.

E, S  
InstancePeriod.PRIPROV This should reflect who delivered teaching. If a change in delivery method (for example to online) resulted in a change of teaching provider, this should reflect that change. PRIPROV should reflect the provider that created and would assess the material hosted online if it has gone online. E, S  
InstancePeriod.STULOAD This should reflect the student's intended activity prior to the pandemic. It should not be reduced to take account of the disruption.
As detailed in the Instance Period guidance, the STULOAD of an instance period should be increased to take account of later instance periods that cannot be returned due to no activity taking place within them.
If a student has withdrawn early then, as normal, STULOAD should be reduced to reflect activity undertaken. Where structured activity runs beyond the end of the reporting year as a result of the pandemic STULOAD should still reflect the intended STULOAD within that reporting year.
E, S 15 July 2020

 

C19061 Unistats Record: exceptional guidance

Where courses are now being advertised differently to prospective students as a direct result of the pandemic then updates should be made to reflect the new structure. Providers should make clear on their own individual course web pages, any changes to courses such as online delivery or start dates in line with consumer protection law.

C20061 Unistats Record: exceptional guidance

In general, for courses starting in the 2021/22 academic year, we would not expect to see changes made to a provider's Unistats submission directly in relation to the pandemic at this stage - unless a permanent change to course structure has been made. Providers should make clear on their own individual course web pages, any changes to courses such as online delivery or start dates in line with consumer protection law.

C19025 Staff record: exceptional guidance
Field/Entity New Guidance Applicable to Last Updated
Contract.CONFTE FTE should not be adjusted where a staff member has been furloughed or rejoined the NHS/public health agencies to assist with the pandemic. E, S, NI, W 15 July 2020
Contract.STARTCON Where the commencement of employment has been delayed due to the pandemic the STARTCON should reflect the date that the staff member began employment, rather than the intended start date. E, S, NI, W  

 

Impact on REF2021

Research England have published a number of FAQs regarding the REF 2021 available on this page here.

Please do get in touch with any specific queries you may have on REF fields.

C19052 AOR record: exceptional guidance
Field / entity New guidance Applicable to Last Updated

Provision.HEADCOUNT

Provision.HEADCOUNTDS

Provision.HEADCOUNTSCS

Provision.HEADCOUNTSSC

Provision.HEADCOUNTSW

Providers in Wales have the option as to whether to implement the changes outlined in the C19052 Notification of Changes or continue to submit against the requirements for C18052.

This is therefore the option to return either:

  • Provision.HEADCOUNT

Or:

  • Provision.HEADCOUNTDS
  • Provision.HEADCOUNTSCS
  • Provision.HEADCOUNTSSC
  • Provision.HEADCOUNTSW

Provider that opt to return the single headcount should continue to exclude students who are dormant for the entire year.

W