Student information and data
Children's Services offer an Information Governance traded service for schools. The service provides advice and guidance on:
- data protection legislation
- freedom of information (FOI)
- records management
To find out how the service can support your school, visit Information Governance | Services to Schools webshop. You can get comprehensive cover or support for in-house data protection officers and attend training events throughout the year.
The Information Commissioner’s Office also has advice on complying with data protection legislation.
Records management for schools
The Information and Records Management Society have produced these resources for schools:
Unique pupil number (UPN)
All pupils attending a maintained school should have a unique pupil number (UPN).
If a pupil is entering a maintained school for the first time, your school should issue a new permanent UPN using SIMS (School Information Management System).
UPNs are always 13 digits and begin with a letter.
UPNs should be treated as confidential personal information under the Data Protection Act.
For more detailed information about UPNs read: Unique pupil numbers | GOV.UK.
Transfer a pupil’s UPN to your school
When a pupil changes school their UPN should transfer with them. This is normally done via a common transfer file using School to school (S2S) secure transfer.
If a pupil transfers to your school, you should make every effort to find out their previous UPN.
If necessary, email the pupil’s name and date of birth to the Planning and Performance Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can access the National Pupil Database on your school’s behalf.
Independent schools and schools in Wales are not required to issue UPNs, but many have done so voluntarily. UPNs from those schools should be valid and work on software systems in England.
UPNs issued by schools in Scotland and Northern Ireland are not valid in England. You should issue new permanent UPNs to pupils transferring from these regions.
Your school can issue temporary UPNs through SIMS. You should only do this as a last resort. For example, if you need one for the school census and cannot contact the previous school or the Data, Research and Information Management Team. Temporary UPNs always end with a letter.
Unique learner number (ULN)
All pupils over 13 attending a maintained school should have a unique learner number (ULN).
Each ULN always has 10 digits. For more information, visit the Learning Records Service.
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