What is a ULN?

A Unique Learner Number is a 10-digit number which is unique to the learner and is used in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Further information on ULNs can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lrs-unique-learner-numbers

Why do we need the ULN?

The use of the Unique Learner Number (ULN) in further education is now a mandatory requirement for publicly-funded Further Education (FE) and specifically when submitting Individualised Learner Record (ILR) returns. Learners use their number each time they want to see or confirm the details held about them on their Personal Learning Record (PLR). The ULN also means information within the Personal Learning Records is secure and cannot be shared with other organisations (including statutory bodies), without the prior consent of the learner.

Is a ULN mandatory?

It is mandatory for a centre to submit a ULN at registration for any publicly-funded Further Education or if it is a requirement for the learner’s achievement to be displayed on the Personal Learning Record (PLR). Centres who are offering assessment leading to awards within the Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) are required to have in place arrangements to obtain a ULN on behalf of its learners but a learner may choose not to have a ULN. Further information about the Personal Learning Record can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/learning-records-service-personal-learning-record

Who obtains a ULN?

It is the responsibility of the centre, where the learner is registered, to obtain and validate the ULN for the learner and to supply this information to OCN NI as part of the learner registration process. If a learner supplies the centre with a ULN the centre will be required to validate this before they submit registrations to OCN NI.

How do Centres obtain a ULN?

Learning Records Service operates the Learner Register, which is an internet-based register which enables education providers to generate a Unique Learner Number (ULN). To be able to obtain ULNs for your learners a centre must go sign up as a Learner Registration Body (LRB).  Further information on the Learner Registration Service can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/learning-records-service.

To register as a Learner Registration Body further information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/learner-registration-bodies-user-guide 

Once a centre is registered as a Learner Registration Body they will be able to obtain ULNs for their learners. Information on how to obtain ULNs can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/learner-registration-bodies-user-guide  Centres will then upload ULNs to OCN NI at the point of registering their learners. This can be done via QUARTZ Web. OCN NI already has a system in place to verify ULNs with LRS and provide feedback to centres on matches using a QUARTZ Web report.

Will centres need to make requests to OCN NI for achievement data to be made available to the PLR?

No - as long as we have a valid ULN all relevant achievement will be sent to the PLR by OCN NI automatically.

Will ULNs be printed on certificates and administrative documentation?

Yes – ULNs will be printed on relevant documentation including OCN NI Qualification certificates.

If you have any problems obtaining a ULN for your learners please report this to OCN NI at customerservices@ocnni.org.uk