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Data Futures: specification overview

As communicated in Data Futures: programme update, Data Futures will not be going live in 2019/20. This page has been created to be as open as possible about what we are considering and help providers understand where we have already made decisions. We are aiming to have as much work as possible complete by the end of 2019. 

Update 10 September: we have created a new section, 'Resolved specification items' for those items not under consultation, to assist with understanding across the overview.

As part of the work, we are reviewing the data model and associated specification items. We have arranged available items according to status:

  • Available for consultation: we will announce when these are available and update this page.
  • Under consideration: items may rely on another item being consulted or reviewed
  • Not under consultation: may be required for a discrete collection, or subject to statutory requirements
  • Resolved specification items


Specification items available for consultation


ID Description Summary of options Status
74710 Curriculum data requirements

We are looking at whether the curriculum data could be simplified. Providers have been telling us that the current curriculum model was very complicated and did not reflect how they hold the data in their student record systems. We are looking to simplify the model, and still provide Statutory Customers with all the data they need.

We have had a few meetings with Statutory Customers to understand their requirements, and a meeting with both Statutory Customers and providers to discuss our initial handful of proposals. We are now aiming to work through a couple of proposals in more detail and ideally put these out to consultation with the sector. 

Consultation now live: deadline for feedback 11 September 2019.

ID 74710 consultation live: give us your views

Update 28/8/19: The curriculum webinar recording and FAQs are now available. 

68648 Assessment data – GMC regulated students The GMC would like to include data on summative assessments taken by GMC regulated students studying for their primary medical qualification. More details on the proposal are available here:

Consultation now live: deadline for feedback 10 September 2019. 

ID68648 consultation live: give us your views

74719 Definition of Student Registration What is the definition of a Student Registration now? If a student changes course, when do providers consider this a new registration? We will need to be clear when a new Student Registration is required in different scenarios.  Not yet published. Consultation will be live around September.
75007 Financial support flag for access and participation commitments - providers in England

The OfS have requested that we add a flag to the financial support information to identify whether the support returned is part of the provider's access and participation commitments. Questions have been raised by providers on this type of financial support, so this request might help towards understanding the requirements better.

Not yet published. 

Update 28/8/19: This will now be added to the Student record from 2020/21. 

74657 Identifying students that require a Welsh language version of the Graduate Outcomes survey

As part of Graduate Outcomes, they need to understand a graduate’s language of preference to ensure they are surveying them in the language they have chosen to be communicated in. Presently WELSSP and MODLANG are used from the Student record to identify if a graduate has studied their course in 100% Welsh which enables HESA to identify which graduates to survey in Welsh.

In Data Futures we have been asked to consider if there is a way to capture whether a student would prefer to communicate in Welsh, rather than whether they can, for the purposes of the survey.

Not yet published: Consultation will be live around November. 
74668 Parental Education coverage – providers in NI

The DfE(NI) have requested that the coverage of the Parental education field be extended to cover more than it currently does. This might be for all undergraduate students (to match the coverage for providers in England and Scotland) or it might also include postgraduate students.

Not yet published: Consultation will be live around November. 
69146 Care Leaver coverage – providers in Northern Ireland DfE(NI) have requested that the coverage of the Care Leaver field is extended to non-UCAS entrants, which would cover all undergraduate students at providers in Northern Ireland. Not yet published: Consultation will be live around November. 
74666 Students bringing in credit and APEL from other providers – providers in England

The OfS have asked whether there could be a way of recording the fact that students are bringing in credit from other providers or use APEL to offset parts of their course. OfS might need the number of credits being transferred but don’t need to know which provider it was with. This would be expected on entry only. This will help OfS understand where this type of activity happens and to ensure that choice and competition within the market drive innovation, diversity and improvement.

Not yet published. 

Update 28/8/19: This will now be added to the Student record from 2020/21. 


Specification items under consideration

The following items are under consideration for consultation:

ID Description Summary of options Status
74721 Full-Time Equivalence and how it can be returned

With the change to discrete collections, how does this affect the FTE options we currently have? Providers have also been querying whether this is a field that HESA could derive and particularly asking for more guidance as this is considered a challenging area.

Initial ideas but no clear proposal as yet.

66803 Off Venue Activity and what should be returned within the entity

What should providers be returning in the Off-Venue Activity entity and how much information is required for each example? Providers have asked for a lot more guidance and clear use cases in this area.

Work has started on the GMC regulated students, but other areas still need considering, such as nursing placements, social work placements etc.

Update 28/8/19: We are establishing a working group with GMC, HEE and MSC (and others) to discuss their uses of placement data, primarily medical type placements. 

74993 Qualification category has multiple concepts

The Qualification Category has a couple of concepts within the one field. We would like to explore splitting these out into two fields – one for the qualification and one for any pre-requisites information (e.g. the code H0016 and H0017 should really be the same code).

Work has not yet started pending outcome of the Curriculum item.
74994 Funding level field The Funding Level field has a couple of concepts within the one field. We would like to explore splitting these out into two fields – one for the level of qualifications normally required to enter the course and one for a length of a year of the course (long or standard). Both Statutory Customers and providers have reported that this makes it a confusing field and they would prefer if it was split out. Currently this field is for providers in England and Northern Ireland only.  Work has not yet started pending outcome of the Curriculum item.
58158 Returning Postgraduate Research Students

Providers have raised a lot of queries on how postgraduate students should be returned. With the curriculum discussions this may change. Need to give much clearer guidance and direction on what data is required from postgraduate students.

Work has not yet started pending outcome of the Curriculum item.
74711 Funding completion Providers have asked us to give more guidance around the funding completion field and have queried if this can be derived by HESA. Work has not yet started pending outcome of the Curriculum item.
69992 Is the Year of Programme field needed? Providers are querying whether the Year of Programme field is still required, and what this is used for? Work has not yet started pending outcome of the Curriculum item.
70589 Collaborative provision type field and is code 03 needed? We need to consider the collaborative provision type field – do we need the collaborative provision valid entry, as it looks like this isn’t the way to identify these students? Work not yet started.
72490 Coverage of Qualification Awarded entity and is it correct? The coverage of the Qualification Awarded entity in the C18051 Student record excludes incoming exchange students. However, the coverage of the Qualification Awarded entity in Data Futures is all qualifications awarded, without excluding incoming exchange students. Should these coverage statements be the same? Providers have been querying why this was extended. Work not yet started.
70154 Closed Course coverage – providers in Wales The coverage statement for Closed Course should also now be applicable to Wales.  Initial requirements understood but work not yet started.
30108 Religious Belief coverage – providers in Wales and England (for Northern Ireland) The DfE(NI) would like to collect religion data on all students domiciled in Northern Ireland (from all providers across the UK), to support analysis and policy in Northern Ireland. DfE(NI) would like all the 'Christian' valid entries in the Religious Belief field to be in coverage across the UK, to allow for comparisons across the devolved administrations, and tracking of Northern Irish domiciled students across the rest of the UK. Currently for England and Wales only 'Christian' is required.

This was considered last year, but we struggled to get agreement from all other Statutory Customers around the details of this. 

There was a consultation last year on this. Unclear if we would need another one, before this could progress further.  


Specification items not under consultation

The following items will not be available for consultation. It is a requirement that Data Futures will be a discrete collection, so any changes relating to that here will not be under review. 

ID Description Summary of options Status
74765 Counting populations In the current published data, HESA count instances in the standard registration population. In the Data Futures model, the equivalent of instance is Engagement which can have multiple registrations. An Engagement having more than one Registration has given rise to a number of considerations for the standard populations. This needs to be considered carefully to make sure no student is double counted. Providers have also indicated that this would be very helpful in the context of aiding their understanding and having consistency across the sector. Work has not yet started pending outcome of the Curriculum item.
58409 Do we need a Location of Study code S equivalent?

There is currently no equivalence to the Location of Study code S ‘Studying abroad and included in the Student record as student has spent or will spend more than 8 weeks in the UK’ in the Data Futures model. Do we need this, in particular, for populations where these types of students are excluded?

Work not yet started.

74712 Fee invoice and other fees data Are the coding frames around fees data correct and are they all still needed? E.g. the equivalent to GROSSFEE, NETFEE, SPECFEE and MSTUFEE. Also need to be clear where fees are needed and the definitions for the guidance of each as providers have been asking for more information on these fields.

Work not yet started.

Update 28/8/19: We have established some principles for returning fees data and are now working through what this means for these fields. We may consult with providers on some options to simplify these fields. 


Resolved specification items
ID / description Outcome
74713: Denormalisation of personal identifiers Update 28/8/19: The personal identifiers entity will now be split out into separate fields in the model. 
74766: Returning Financial Support against Student Registration and Student Course Session Update 28/9/19: Update 28/8/19: The Financial Support entity will now only be linked to the Student Course Session. 
74920: Returning Student fee or Student module fee Update 28/8/19: Agreed in principle that providers will be allowed to return both Student fee and Student module fee, where this is applicable. 
74672: QualificationAwarded.QUALRESULT coverage – providers in England Update 28/8/19: This will now be added to the Student and AP Student records from 2020/21. 
74682: Impacts of a discrete collection: dates across the model Update 28/8/19: All of the dates on the personal characteristics will now be removed from the model. 
74714: Impacts of a discrete collection: Module Instance and Module Outcome Update 28/8/19: These two entities will be combined into a single entity. 
75700: Impacts of a discrete collection: Financial Support Scheme and Student Financial Support entities Update 28/8/19: These two entities will be combined into a single entity. 
74715: Impacts of a discrete collection: Definitions of Engagement and Student entities Update 28/8/19: Agreed that the relationship between Student and Engagement would become a one to many mandatory link. 
61732: Persistent HUSID Update 28/8/19: The persistent HUSID field will be removed from the record. HESA will work to produce an approximate identifier to replace this. This will be included in data deliveries but will not be supplied back to providers. 
74808: Impacts of a discrete collection: Data required on entry Update 28/8/19: There will be an 'Entry profile' entity created for all the data to be submitted about a Student on entry to an Engagement. 


If you have any further queries or feedback please email [email protected].