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What is the individualised learner record (ILR)?

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From Education and Skills Funding Agency

The ILR is an on-going collection of data about learners from training providers in the Further Education (FE) and Skills sector in England.

The purpose of the ILR

The data collected in the ILR is used to ensure that public money distributed through the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is being spent in line with government targets for quality and value for money.

The data is used to:

  • calculate actual funding earned
  • monitor at an individual level, all training providers’ delivery against allocation or contract
  • monitor quality of provision and evaluate the effectiveness of training providers across the learning and skills sector
  • make the case to government for levels of funding appropriate to the sector
  • monitor progress against government targets
  • demonstrate the outcomes of the distribution of government funds

Gathering ILR data

Training providers collect information about each of their learners, the learning they are doing, and the learning outcome once it is known. 

Training providers must return this information on a monthly basis to the ESFA through Submit learner data. The information is sent in an XML file format. 

Most training providers return data on a monthly basis. Those providing 16 to 19 training  only need to return data each quarter.

That data file is known as the ILR.

Data items collected in the ILR

Not all data items need to be completed for all learners in all circumstances. The ILR specification has full details of the data collection rules and requirements. 

The Provider Support Manual has guidance on how the ILR works.

An ILR file will include information such as the:

  • training provider returning the data (UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN), the date and time the file was generated)
  • individual learner (name, date of birth, address, telephone number, email address, ethnicity, unique learner number)
  • type of learning or training that each learner is doing (their learning aim codes, the source of funding, the dates the learning starts and ends)

ILR data collection

For ILR purposes, the year runs from 1 August to 31 July. The ILR specification may change slightly year on year.

ILR data needs to be returned by 6pm on the fourth working day of each month. The collections are numbered. R01 is the first collection and data must be returned by 6pm on the fourth working day of September, R02 closes on fourth working day of October and so on.

There are two additional ILR collections in mid-September (R13) and mid-October (R14). These collections give providers time to record and return learning outcomes, such as GCSE results. 

Precise dates are published in the data collection timetable.

Processing ILR data

When providers return their ILR files, the files go through validation and other checks to make sure the data is good quality and in the correct format.

At the end of each monthly data collection period, the most recent ILR file a provider returned is run through our funding systems. 

Valid learner data is run through a funding calculation, checked against contract information and the appropriate payment is readied. Providers will not receive funding for learners that have data validation errors. 

Need support

If you have a specific query about ILR data, please include any relevant information such as errors or warnings in your query through our enquiry form

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