Systems and Processes FAQs
You can browse our Frequently Asked Questions below. If you cannot find what you are looking for then please Contact us.
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:
The use of the Unique Learner Number (ULN) in further education is now a mandatory requirement for publicly-funded Further Education (FE). We encourage all Centres to register learners using their Unique Learning Number (ULN) to enable us to upload achievement data to the learners Personal Learning Record (PLR), to allow the learner to access this information.
A learner can choose not to have a ULN, but no data can be added to a Personal Learning Record without one.
Further information about the Personal Learning Record can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/learning-records-service-the-plr-for-learners-and-parents
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 Open Awards 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 Open Awards.
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 centres must be registered as a Learner Registration Body (LRB).
To register as a Learner Registration Body further information can be found at:
Once a centre is registered as a Learner Registration Body they will be able to obtain ULNs for their learners.
We have combined our Access to Assessment and Reasonable Adjustments policy. Please use our Secure Portal to see our Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations Policy.
Centres must keep complete and accurate records, for at least three years from the end of year to which they relate, for all qualifications and make these available to Open Awards on request.
Centres are required to retain the following records:
- Name of learner, date of birth and contact address
- Title and accreditation number of each qualification and unit studied
- Name(s) of assessor(s)
- Assessment records, including assessment decision and reason for decision
- Name(s) of internal verifier(s)
- Internal Verification reports
Centres must retain all learner evidence at least until the next external verification visit takes place following certification to allow for appropriate external verifier sampling of evidence and/or selection of evidence to be used for standardisation purposes.
Following a successful external verification visit, evidence will be able to be returned to learners.
Yes, we can accredit your in-house training courses and award certificates that will be recognised by other awarding bodies, colleges and employers. To find out more, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 0151 494 2072.
The Learning Aim Reference is an 8 digit number used to uniquely identify our qualifications. You can find this in the qualification guide or the qualification page on our website. We usually present these in the format xxx/xxxx/x but you may see them without / when searching on the ESFA HUB website. This number may also be referred to as a Qualification Accreditation Number (QAN).
e-Certificates is an optional service offered by Open Awards which enables centres to view and download electronic PDF versions of certificates.
No, centres can still continue to receive printed copies of certificates if they wish. However, e-certificates are issued and endorsed by Open Awards as a valuable digitally verifiable alternative to traditional presentation certificates.
If you are interested in removing the administrative burden of dealing with paper certificates and certificate checklists you can distribute the e-certificates to your learners through secure electronic means.
e-Certificates are secure. Each e-Certificate is issued with a unique QR code (a two-dimensional barcode) and a certificate number linked to the learner’s name. The authenticity of an e-Certificate can be checked and assured by either:
- Scanning the QR code on the certificate using a QR reader and following the on-screen prompt or
- By visiting the check a certificate page on our website and entering the learner name, and certificate number
Open Awards e-Certificates service is available at no extra cost.
The e-Certificates service is available to all Open Awards centres and can be accessed via the Portal. To get started you will need to request eCertification by sending an email to email@example.com.
Once eCertification is enabled, your Provider Administrator will be able to access eCertificates for your learners via the Portal.
At Open Awards we work with subject experts and ESFA to devise fundable qualifications that will help to upskill and reskill learners looking for work, and support national and regional recovery plans.
Funding streams include the European Social Fund (ESF) and Adult Education Budget (AEB). This landscape is complex and subject to change beyond Open Awards’ control. However, we hope that the following will be helpful to you.
- Several Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCA) in England now make decisions about some aspects of adult education. They can help you address your region’s skills gap and improve your delivery.
- You can find out if a qualification is eligible for funding through the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) website which has the most up-to-date information available and before you deliver our Ofqual qualifications.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Open Awards does not restrict the delivery of Ofqual qualification, other than they must be delivered and assessed in the English Language. Should Providers wish to deliver these in other countries within the UK (i.e. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), they should check with the appropriate funding authorities attached to the various countries.
Open Awards Ofqual qualifications can be delivered in other countries where learners are English Speakers.
For Providers who deliver to Pre-16 and 16–19 please see the Department for Education (DfE) website under Section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000. Funding is subject to change beyond Open Awards’ control, so always check for the most up-to-date information.
Advanced Learner Loans
Open Awards’ Level 3 qualifications can attract Advanced Learners Loans. The loan can enable you to pay for your course. In addition, Student Finance England will ‘write off’ any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances you owe for an Access to HE course once you complete a higher education course. This means you do not have to repay it.
For more information on this please visit the Advanced Learner Loan .gov website. Learners should speak with their Providers to find out more information.
Disclaimer – Open Awards works in partnership with external funding agencies to ensure that funding is available for qualifications. However, Open Awards does not have control of the allocation nor distribution of funding. If you have any queries we advise you to the Department for Education.