Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

New scheme urges learners to take a number

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The government officially unveiled the new Learner Registration Service (LRS) on 14 February. This is part of the Managing Information Across Partners (MIAP) scheme and sees students assigned a unique learner number (ULN) which can be used to share records with educational and training organisations, or employers if the student so chooses. This will eventually replace the current system.

The mostly negative media attention around the launch centred on personal data and security issues - and ASCL also has serious concerns about the government's track record with complex IT systems and data security - but there are potentially benefits for schools and colleges with the new system.

For example, it should help staff more easily to populate MIS systems with appropriate data when students move to a new school or college. With records being more quickly available, it should also help teachers to adapt approaches to meet the needs of individual students.

The benefits outlined at the launch event included:

  • for learners - will inform them of national and local providers and services they offer; provide access to their learner record (online portfolio) and the opportunity to correct it if it is wrong

  • for providers - access to information already collected about learners; reduction of enrolment administration; ability to offer better services, eg individual learning programmes, e-learning

  • for employers - make informed choices; access to learner records (with permission)

  • for awarding bodies - promote the flow of information and assist with combinations

The record is owned by the learner so employers, universities and other agencies will need to seek permission in order to access information.

All school pupils over age 14 - more than two million records - are scheduled to go on the database by April. Learner records will be in use from September 2008.

Providing that the government can get the data protection and user access issues right, ASCL is optimistic that the new system will be helpful to schools and colleges. More information can be found at www.miap.gov.uk and www.theia.org.uk

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