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Individualised Learner Record

All ILR compliant MI systems provide standard core features which conform to the ESFA'S ILR specification documentation.


Individualised Learner Record (ILR) - Information about learner data that publicly funded colleges, training organisations, local authorities and employers (FE providers) must collect and return in any specific funding year. You should produce an XML file from your MI system and upload it to the ESFA via the ESFA's Submit Learner Data service.

We know that most small training providers don't have a dedicated data management team or person, especially if delivering a direct contract for the first time, so understanding ILR compliance is a very steep learning curve.

To help with this we've built in as much validation as possible to support your admin staff because ILR compliance can be very tricky even if you've been doing it for years!

It doesn't matter in the scheme of things if you have multiple contracts or just one, but compliance does and if you don't get it right several things happen:

  • you don't get paid
  • may trigger funding audits
  • upset Ofsted

and that my friends can be catastrophic!

Switching Up?

If you've been a lead provider for a while but are thinking of moving away from the ESFA's Learner Entry tool (LET) you'll no doubt be thinking in terms of getting a return on your investment, afterall the LET is FREE, isn't it?

The LET may not have a licence fee and as you'll know comes with many constraints and known issues, so while using it have you had the time to think about just how cost effective it really is in terms of all the limitations it puts on your business?

Is your ILR error free and up to date? Do you recieve all the payments you expect? Do you know if the problems you have will trigger an ESFA funding audit?

If you've answered NO to any of the above then it's probably time to conside switching up to an MI system, especially when you consider all the additional benefits such as:

  • fewer errors on ILR leading to more payments
  • a major step forward in terms of Ofsted requirements
  • ability to grow existing provision and bid for more contracts
  • promoting business transparency, no one 'left in the dark'
  • providing accurate QAR data
  • ESFA funding rule compliance prevents contracts being revoked, funding clawback and potential business closure.

When changing from the LET to an MI system you'll realise it's an investment in your business and not just another way of creating ILR's!

Starting Out?

If you're new to delivering as a lead provider there's so much to learn about QAR's, contracts and funding rules but one of the most crucial obligations of having a direct contract with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is the collection, management and submission of Individualised Learner Record (ILR) data.

No matter if you deliver to 1 or 1,000 learners you must submit ILR's by the scheduled deadline, validate against the published funding rules and monitor your FRM reports to keep on track with the rules.

The Provider Support Manual and funding rules documentation covers all the regulations specific to each type of learner from Advanced Learner Loans to Apprenticeships.

Having a monthly ILR validation routine is really important to keep on top of all the rules and regulations and choosing the right MI system at the start can save a whole world of problems as you grow your provision.

It's not all about the software, choosing the right provider matters just as much as all the bells and whistles a system can offer, especially knowing you can get support if you need it with:

  • ILR's
  • funding rules
  • compliance
  • Submissions.

We support our clients whenever they need it, whatever the problem, even if it's just to clarify a point, check reports or help with their data it's as easy as picking up the phone!

We're always checking on ESFA, Ofsted and sector news and updates which we send send out via email and post in our blog, for example we've got several ILR specific posts in Cleverblogs which you may want to check out.

Learner Entry Tool

The Learner Entry tool maybe free of charge but have you considered the actual cost to your business?

How much time is taken on data input and lengthy efforts trying to validate against the funding rules and specifications?

Only purpose is to generate the individualised learner records (ILR) XML file for submission to ESFA.
No validation – manual check against documentation.
No more than 500 learner records are supported.
No error catching.
Only one file at a time can be imported. Importing another file will overwrite existing data.
Read more
Athena MIS

Imagine if all the time and effort spent on data input could be used for tracking progression of delivery, complance and ILR creation!

ALL your staff who need access have access, simultaneously, working across your business and not just to create an ILR!

Data used for ILR's, track ALL learner's progression, evidence & statistics for ESFA, Ofsted, employers and business owners.
Software validates user data on ILR Dashboard.
Unlimited learner records across all funding streams.
Error free - learners with errors excluded until issues resolved.
Switch between funding years on ILR Dashboard for year specific data and use export wizard to show in year and carryovers
Licence fees