Guidance for schools (Roll-out 2015/16)


Dealing with ULNs and Exceptions

During November/December, C2k will be working with the LRS to get ULNs for your pupils. There are a number of things you will need to do throughout this process:

Action Required

  1. The nominated Super User will receive a CTF file from LRS. This will contain ULNs for all your pupils in Years 11, 12, and post-16. You are responsible for importing this file into SIMS
  2. Generate a report from SIMS – an Exception Log – and deal with exceptions. These are cases where the LRS has not allocated a ULN to a pupil

Following receipt of all Privacy Notices, adjust the 'Share ULN data' status on SIMS and 'share' status in the LRS portal

Overall Guidance for Schools: Getting ULN Returns from the LRS  358.7 KB - uploaded 11-16-2015

ULN FAQs  479.4 KB - uploaded 12-02-2015

1. Importing CTF File into SIMS

The nominated Super User will receive a CTF file via email to the school webXchange account during late November and early December. This file will contain the ULNs for all learners in Years 11, 12 and post-16 and must be imported into SIMS. Schools should be familiar with this process. This will attach the learner’s ULN to their individual pupil profile on SIMS.

Once you have imported the CTF file, you will have to generate an Exception Log that will include details of any errors or anomalies. These are cases where a ULN has not been attached to a particular pupil.

Any queries relating to SIMS upload should be directed to C2k via the C2k Helpline: 087 06011 666

Guidance on these two steps is available below:

Guidance for Importing ULNs into SIMS  640 KB - uploaded 11-16-2015

2. Dealing with Exceptions

The Exception Log generated from SIMS will include a list of all learners who have not received a ULN and the reason for their non-allocation. These reasons will be identified by different codes. To deal with the exceptions you will have to do the following:

  1. Log into the LRS portal using the username and password already received as part of the registration process.
  2. Follow the steps outlined in the Guidance document below for each of the exceptions noted in the Exception Report. Resolving an exception will usually involve checking the details of the learner, verifying it through the LRS portal and selecting the appropriate learner from possible matches.

If you have any queries throughout this process, contact the LRS Helpdesk directly – via email: or telephone: 03456 022589

Guidance for Schools: Dealing with Exceptions   932.3 KB - uploaded 11-24-2015

3. Adjusting 'Share Status' for the PLR

All schools should have issued Privacy Notices to learners/parents in Years 11, 12 and post-16. (For more information, see the ULN Guidance for Schools – Registering with the LRS and Privacy Notices)

The information gathered during the DE Census (recorded responses in SIMS) has informed the ULN application process. Therefore, schools will be at one of the three following stages regarding Privacy Notices:

  1. You received responses and updated SIMS field 'Share ULN data' prior to sending through Census data – no further action to take
  2. You bulk updated SIMS field 'Share ULN data' to yes prior to the DE Census and have received Privacy Notices after the DE Census return
  3. You did not update SIMS field 'Share ULN data' prior to the DE Census and so all pupils are recorded as not willing to share data

If you fall under points 2 or 3, you will need to take steps to re-select either permission to share or not share in both SIMS and the LRS portal.

Guidance on updating SIMS and the LRS portal is available below. Please note: you are able to update SIMS using the bulk update function. However, you can only update the LRS portal for each individual learner.

Guidance for Schools: Changing Pupil 'Share' status for the PLR   353.6 KB - uploaded 11-16-2015

For any general advice or queries, please contact either David Crosbie or James Doran or via 028 9026 1200

More general information about the ULN is available from:

LRS – Learning records service, the organisation that allocates and manages ULNs
SIMS – Schools Management Information System
ULN – Unique Learner Number
UKPRN – UK Learning provider number, used to register with the LRS


Registering with the LRS and Privacy Notices

Providing Information to Parents/Guardians

Action Required

  1. Share a Privacy notice with Learners and include a ‘not-shared’ option for learners in SIMS
  2. Include the UKPRN in SIMS

Unique Learner Numbers (ULNs) will be issued for all learners aged 14+ in schools during the autumn term 2015. The ULN will be used initially for examination entries and to populate the Personal Learning Record (PLR) of each learner. The PLR is an electronic record/transcript of accredited qualifications.

The information in a learner’s PLR will be accessible to each learner, and can be made available to a number of organisations involved in providing and funding this. A ‘privacy notice’ is used to inform the learner of this and includes the option to restrict this access by other agencies. Completion of a Privacy Notice will allow the education provider (the learner’s school) to meet its obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998, by providing all learners with information on what personal data is being stored, why it is being held and who has access to it.

Please not that a Privacy Notice reply need only be completed by learners and/or parents/guardians if they do not want to share their personal data with other external agencies.

However, you should share a privacy notice to all learners in year 11-14.

  • For learners under the age of 16, you should provide the privacy notice to both learner and parents/guardians.
  • For learners aged 16+, you should provide the privacy notice to all learners. It is advisable that this information is made available to parents/guardians as well.

It is up to each school to decide the best way to administrate this. It may be that your school already has a standard Privacy Notice in place for other purposes – if this is the case, the wording of this can be reviewed to cover the data sharing issues raised by the PLR.

Guidance for Schools on providing information to Parents/Guardians 862 KB - uploaded 09-23-2015

Registration with the Learning Records Service

Action required: Registration by end of September 2015

The Learning Records Service (LRS) provide Unique Learning Numbers (ULNs) to schools for a list of aged 14+ learners provided either through the schools census/C2K, or on individual application. (The majority of ULNs will be issued on the basis of data provided for your learners through the ‘census’). In order for the LRS to issue ULNs for your learners you must register with the LRS by the end of September prior to census collection. This is a two part process;

Obtain and record a UK Learning Provider Number (UKLPN)

A UKPRN has been provided to the school superuser (where a nominated superuser contact has been sent to CCEA). 

If you don’t have a UKPRN, getting one is a straightforward process which involves you visiting the UK register for Learning Providers website and obtaining a registration number, by entering:

  • the school's contact details;
  • the NI Schools Institution Number (organisation registration number); and
  • the user's personal details – preferably the school ‘superuser’ details.

The personal contact will receive a UKLPN by email, which you will need to complete registration with the LRS.

The UKPRN must be entered into SIMS in the box titled ULN Centre Registration Number

LRS Registration

This takes several relatively short steps:

  1. Completion of the Registration form – download and print the Organisation Registration Form from, complete and either postal return or scan and email return as per directions on the form.
  2. Signing the Learning Provider Agreement – download and print the document from (making sure not to download the User Agreement document), read and complete details on page 2 and stamp on page 15 and return by post to the learner records service.
  3. Receiving the User Name and Password – once registered the superuser will receive a user name and password for accessing the LRS online portal. You will receive one by email and one by telephone. You should keep a record of these.
  4. Logging on and completing the user agreement as the school superuser – you will then be able to allocate out other access roles or change passwords etc.

Useful Hints for the Completion of the LRS Registration Documents  423 KB - uploaded 09-30-2015

Once you have completed these steps your school will be registered to get ULNs. C2K will then bulk apply for ULNs for years 11, 12 and post 16 (where applicable) on your behalf. You will receive a report on the ULNs allocated in November. Once ULNs are uploaded to SIMs they will be used for examination entries and processing.

Your next steps will be;
October - Provide information to learners including a privacy notice
November - Deal with ‘exceptions’ and upload ULNs to SIMS

You will receive further guidance prior to these steps. For any further information or advice please contact David Crosbie

For help with the LRS processes contact the LRS helpdesk on or 0345 602 2589.

LRS – Learning records service, the organisation that allocates and manages ULNs
SIMS – Schools Management Information System
ULN – Unique Learner Number
UKPRN – UK Learning provider number, used to register with the LRS

Guidance for schools on registering with LRS  339.6 KB - uploaded 09-07-2015


ULN Guidance for Parents and Pupils

This information leaflet for parents and pupils explains what will happen during the allocation of a ULN to each pupil and how it will be used.

ULN Guidance for Parents and Pupils  339.6 KB - uploaded 09-07-2015