ILR specification: 2022 to 2023

Learner Reference Number: Field


The provider's reference number for the learner as assigned by the provider.

Reason Required

To enable the learner to be identified for matching purposes, to maintain data integrity and assist with query resolution.

Schema Definitions

XML Entity Name
Field Length
Data type
Minimum occurrences
Maximum occurrences

Collection Requirements

  • Collected for all learners

Valid Entries

Any combination of up to 12 alphabetic characters, numeric digits or spaces


[A-Za-z0-9 ]{1,12}


  • The learner reference number must be retained by the learner for any period of study with the provider and must not be re-used for a different learner.

  • The number should be retained following any period of absence.

  • Changes to the learner reference number should be avoided if at all possible between years for continuing learners. If a provider does unavoidably have to change the learner reference numbers used, for example because of a change to their MIS system, they should ensure that the Learner reference number in previous year field is completed.

  • A single learner reference number should be used for each learner wherever possible and providers should work towards eliminating the use of more than one learner reference number for the same person.

  • Where a learner starts a new learning aim, it is expected that providers will use the existing learner reference number and not create a new one even if they are using different MI systems to hold the learner's details.

  • Providers must not include personal data that could be used to identify a learner in the learner reference number.