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Student record 2016/17 (C16051): Annual update - Supplementary outcomes

This documents supplements and extends our previous account of updates to the Student record of 14 January 2016.

Change affecting C15051

New valid entry for ‘Q-Step’ in INITIATIVES field

In November’s Annual Update survey we noted that:

“HEFCE have informed us that they will require data on students studying on programmes supported under the Q-Step initiative. A piece of work is currently underway to determine if HESA can derive this information from other data. If a suitable solution is not found, a new code in INITIATIVES may be required. We will confirm the outcome of this piece of work in the summary of changes that will be issued in January.”

In our previous account of changes to the Student record (point 13) relating to C16051 we noted that:

“A new code will be added to Instance.INITIATIVES field to record students studying under the ‘Q-Step’ initiative. Regretfully, our investigations revealed no systematic basis on which HESA could derive this information programmatically, in order to relieve burden, as providers hold this information in a variety of different ways.”

The Q-Step initiative is already well-underway, and data on student participation is therefore also required for the current 2015/16 Student record. The new code will therefore be introduced in C15051’s Instance.INITIATIVES field as valid entry N ‘Q-Step’. The Q-Step scheme runs across the UK, and data will be required from HE providers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Coverage of the field will be extended to Northern Ireland to permit data to be returned.

Change affecting C16051

Higher Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships – data for HE students studying for new ‘Trailblazer’ apprenticeship standards

Many HE providers will already be aware that the government is phasing-out the old-style apprenticeship ‘frameworks’ and replacing them with a new set of apprenticeship ‘standards’ – often referred to as ‘Trailblazers’. From 2017, a new levy on large employers will be used to fund apprenticeships in England. Read a briefing on both current apprenticeship policy and how the new policy works.

In December, after the release of the Student C16051 annual update consultation, we became aware that HE providers with HE students who are also apprentices following the new Apprenticeship Standards have been asked to return an Individualised Learner Record (ILR) to the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) on a monthly basis, in addition to the HESA Student record in which these students remain in coverage. Recognising the burden that this places on HE providers, and the likely requirement for a scalable data solution as the policy leads to an expansion of higher and degree apprenticeships, we have been working with the SFA to identify a mechanism for simplifying the production of the necessary data through the HESA Student record. Monthly data is still likely to be required to support the changes in apprenticeship funding following the introduction of the levy, and the move to an employer-led apprenticeship system.

We understand around 50 HE providers are early adopters working with employers to deliver the new Apprenticeship Standards. In the longer term, students on apprenticeships are expected to form an important part of the HE landscape, and this should be recognised through their inclusion in the main publications and other uses of the HESA Student record.

The impact of the new apprenticeship policy on all the devolved administrations of the UK is not yet understood, and we will be watching developments. Much of this section will therefore, currently apply only to HE providers that are also early adopters of education programmes supporting HE-Level apprenticeship standards in England.

At the time of writing we have committed resources to the investigation process. We understand the overall shape of the process, but not the necessary detail. However, we wanted to take this earliest opportunity to appraise HE providers of the likely impact this policy will have on the HESA Student data return for 2016/17.

We intend to undertake the following programme of work:

  • SFA have agreed to work together with HESA and HE providers to reduce burden and where possible align information requirements for higher and degree apprenticeship standards. We will therefore establish a joint ‘user group’ with both the SFA and HE providers, to act as a sounding-board for this development work – please let us know if you would be willing to join this group.
  • HESA and SFA will collaboratively map the specification of the HESA Student Record to the ILR to establish in detail which data can be used unchanged, which data can be transformed, and where wholly new data is required.
  • HESA will produce a method for creating an XML output file that meets the structural requirements of the ILR, based on data submitted to the HESA data collection system, in time for data to be returned to the SFA from September 2016 onwards.
  • The C16051 Student record system will open in time for September to permit early engagement for HE providers to upload data to HESA and produce the necessary XML file to make an ILR return.
  • ILR-compatible XML files will be available to download from the HESA data collection system. HE providers will use this file to submit an ILR to the SFA.
  • In line with the HEDIIP vision for the New Landscape, HESA will work towards a simple and direct reporting mechanism as a further stage of the project.
  • HESA will undertake testing of files to ensure that they meet the ILR’s schema.
  • Wherever possible, data from the existing HESA Student record will be used (in some cases it will first be transformed) to meet the ILR specification.
  • HESA will not change the meanings of existing fields to accommodate this.
  • There are a number of data items that are particular to the ILR, and which do not feature in the HESA Student record. We therefore expect to create a new sub-entity or entities, which will contain these additional fields, to minimise disruption to the overall data model. In time, these items may be migrated to more permanent homes.
  • A specification for the output file will be produced to help HE providers understand how the data they submit to HESA will be used to fulfil the requirements of the ILR XML file.
  • HESA will also communicate this bulletin to software companies.
  • A more detailed specification will be made available in April.

HE providers who are already engaging in providing provision to support apprenticeship standards (higher or degree) or who plan to do so, are requested to make their plans known to us.

Engineering conversion course scheme

We have been informed of a requirement for data on a new engineering conversion course pilot scheme. The pilot courses funded via this scheme will start in the 2016/17 academic year. We are currently seeking to establish whether this data can be produced programmatically from data such as COURSEID. Should this not be possible, a new code in Instance.INITIATIVES will be introduced in C16051.

Changes resulting from the C16053 Initial Teacher Training record review

The following changes to the C16051 Student record result from the above review. For further detail, please see our separate document detailing the notification of changes for the C16053 Initial Teacher Training record.


The following values will be removed:

  • 8 - NCTL funded flexible provision (this no-longer exists)
  • G - School Direct Training Programme (moves into the new Entry Route field).

Entry route

This new field will indicate the route by which the student has accessed ITT provision. This field will be how School Direct entrants can be identified, and is flexible to cope with the introduction of other entry routes in future.

  • Mainstream
  • School Direct tuition fee
  • School Direct salaried
  • EYITT Graduate Entry
  • EYITT Graduate employment-based
  • EYITT Undergraduate Entry
  • EYITT Assessment Only
  • EYITT School Direct.

Placement Schools data

The NCTL currently collects placement schools data for all types of ITT, other than for 'provider-led' ITT. Placement school data is now required for 'provider-led' ITT. The data will be collected in the Student record. The data will be collected in a pair of fields that can be returned up to five times. The first new field will require a URN for the placement school as shown on EduBase. The counterpart field will be used to enter the number of days of that placement. Up to five placements may be captured. If there are more than five, then the longest five should be returned.

Validation will be introduced to ensure all numbers returned are only 7 digits in length. Null entries will be accepted where appropriate.