Identifiers


Unique Pupil Number (UPN)
The Unique Pupil Number is a number that identifies each pupil in England uniquely. It is intended to remain with them throughout their school career regardless of any change in school or LA.

Pupil Matching Reference (PMR) number
The PMR is an anonymised version of the Unique Pupil Number (UPN). As with the original field,the PMR is unique stays with the pupil throughout their time at school.

Unique Learner Number (ULN)
Unique Learner Number (ULN) is a 10-digit reference number issued and held by the Learner Register (LR). This is used alongside and to access the Personal Learning Record of anyone over the age of 14 involved in UK education or training. The 10-digit ULN has been designed to ensure that no additional meaning can be inferred from its structure e.g. geographical location, level of learning. Its purpose is purely to provide a unique identifier for each individual's Personal Learning Record. Learners will retain the same number for accessing their Personal Learning Record throughout their lives, whatever their level of learning and wherever they choose to participate in education, training and learning.

Unique Reference Number (URN)
The school URN is a six digit unique number provided by the Department for Education to a maintained and independent school on opening. The allocation of this number is managed centrally by EduBase, who maintain a database linking an open school to its predecessors.

Local Authority and Establishment number (LAESTAB)
The LAESTAB number is a unique 7 digit number allocated to all maintained schools. The first three digits are Local Authority number allocated by the Office for National Statistics. The last four digits is the Establishment number allocated to maintained schools by the Department for Education. The Establishment number unique to the local authority alone, only when this is the combined with the LA number is a unique reference number created.

Local Authority Code (LACODE)
To do

Data collection

How is the variable collected by schools?

Unique Pupil Number (UPN)
The Unique Pupil Number is a number that identifies each pupil in England uniquely. It is intended to remain with them throughout their school career regardless of any change in school or LA. Unique pupil numbers (UPNs) are used whenever schools report information about pupils to their LA, DfE or QCA, or to other schools to which pupils are transferring. It is an important element of the transfer form, establishing pupils’ identity unambiguously, and ensuring that their records are updated correctly. UPNs are designed to aid tracking pupil progress through the school system. This information will strengthen procedures for target setting and monitoring, contributing to raising standards.

To address privacy concerns the UPN should be a blind number held on the pupil’s electronic record and only output when required to provide information to the LA, DfE or QCA. Individual pupil information held centrally will be encrypted to prevent unauthorised access. Schools should continue using pupils’ admission numbers, rather than the UPN, for their own internal purposes. The UPN should not be regarded as an automatic addition to the pupil’s name routinely appearing on any record or document relating to them. The only exception to this at present is the paper copy of the Common Transfer File, where the pupil name and UPN occur together.

Schools should not generally advise pupils (or parents) of their UPN. Schools will of course wish to deal with any queries from pupils or parents honestly and without evasion, and the pupils have the right under the Data Protection Act to receive on request a copy of any information the school holds about them (including their UPN). But schools should not give out details of pupils’ UPNs otherwise. Schools should not enter UPNs on their admissions register, or on pupils’ paper files, and should use the admission number, rather than the UPN, as a general pupil reference number within the school.

The national UPN formula
UPNs have 13 characters as follows:
Character
Represents
1
This is a ‘check’ letter derived according to a specific formula
2-4
The LA code of the school allocating the UPN
5-8
The DfE number of the school allocating the UPN
9-10
The academic year in which the UPN is being allocated
11-13
A serial number for UPNs allocated by that school in that year

The reason behind the inclusion of LA code, DfE school number and year of allocation in the UPN is to provide an effective and simple way of guaranteeing that two schools cannot by chance allocate the same number to two different pupils.

This formula relates to permanent UPNs. There are also temporary UPNs, which are only ever allocated in exceptional circumstances (see under ‘Allocation’ below). The formula for temporary UPNs is identical to that for permanent UPNs, except that characters 11-13 are a two digit serial number plus a letter.

UPNs should be allocated on pupils’ first entry to a maintained school in England, including entry to a nursery class in an infant or primary school. The vast majority of UPNs will be allocated by infant or primary schools. Secondary schools should only need to allocate UPNs to pupils who enter the maintained sector in England for the first time at age 11 or later, having spent the whole of their school career up to that point elsewhere.

ULN (Unique Learner Number)
A Unique Learner Number (ULN) is a 10-digit reference number which is used alongside and to access the Personal Learning Record of anyone over the age of 14 involved in UK education or training. Each ULN is issued and held by the Learner Register (LR). The Learner Register uses the number to index each learner’s identity details, education and training qualifications within the Personal Learning Record.

Validity of measure

Any issues of validity, including how well it proxies for other characteristics, levels of missingness, and so on...

There are occasions when children with similar names moving to the same school may have their UPNs inadvertantly swapped. This has huge implications on Key to success where the child’s current academic qualifications are added to their history, the UPN being the unique identifier.

Cleaning the variable

Stata code
SPSS code
Checks needed

Description of values across cohorts

By age groups
Over time
Stability within pupil