BDM Data Standard - Learning Opportunity v0.4

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Title: BDM Data Standard - Learning Opportunity v0.4

Standards Profile


System Wide Standard

ISB Decision


There is an increasing need to exchange information between organisations about learning opportunities (courses, apprenticeships etc) and applicants in order to:

Ensure that all learners can simply and easily find and apply to learning providers who may be outside the area where they live or members of a consortium of partners together delivering courses such as Diplomas

Ensure that members of consortia can coordinate applications between them.

On 24 November 2009, the ISB approved the status of RECOMMENDED for a number of widely usable standards that between them are sufficient to meet this need. The ISB will review progress with the expectation that the standards will be given ‘approved’ status.

The Business Data Standards define data items in terms of their meaning (semantics) and structure, but do not define specific encodings or messaging structures needed to realise an implementation of a system performing any specific function.

Systems that wish to exchange any of the data defined in these Business Data Standards in compliance with the standards must encode and transfer data according to the specifications.

Use of the standards is not mandated by the ISB but may be mandated by a system owner. Systems that choose to conform to the data standards will be assured that they will be able to exchange data easily with any other conformant system.

The Department for Children, School’s and Families’ (DCSF)14–19 Reform Programme presents a new operating model for education where the focus is on the learner and not the institution. With new qualifications, such as the Diploma, learning will be delivered by a range of learning providers in a range of locations. It is critical for delivery success that these learning providers can exchange information on learners and that learners can access resources relevant to them wherever they are.

At this time of change it is important that learners have up to date information about the learning opportunities available to them. Local 14-19 Prospectuses are online directories of learning opportunities for 14-19 year olds, providing information about the four main learning pathways, namely Apprenticeships, Diplomas, the Foundation Learning Tier and General Qualifications (GCSEs and A-Levels).

It is the DCSF’s ambition (as set out in Delivering 14-19 Reforms: Next Steps) that by 2010 or September 2011 at the latest, all learners in year 11 will be able to apply for their learning online through a common application process (CAP) connected to the 14-19 Prospectus. The CAP will allow local authorities and the Connexions service to track learner applications and target support to ensure all learners get a suitable offer of a place in learning (under the September Guarantee). From 2013, the CAP will be available for the 14-19 age range. Diploma delivery, which commenced in September 2008, is already starting to drive learning providers to develop their application processes collaboratively to meet the information requirements of all parties in a consortium.

By 2013 there should be access to the full national entitlement meaning a place in education for every learner aged 14-19 across England.

Although numbers involved currently are relatively small these numbers will increase rapidly. The need for interoperability between information systems to support the institutions, learning providers and learners is paramount.

There is a need to enable the transfer of learner applications increasingly via a Common Application Process system to the relevant learning providers and to different parties within Consortia arrangements. There is also a need for learners to be able to make applications, using a similar process, to learning providers in neighbouring 14-19 prospectus areas. Therefore, in April 2009, we committed in the Action Plan for the 14-19 Prospectus and Common Application Process to develop and agree core fields for the CAP, data standards and vocabularies.

To support teaching of qualifications through consortia (for example, Diplomas but also increasingly general qualifications) where a learner may access their learning on more than one site at different institutions, there will need to be coordination of the enrolment of learners between institutions. Enrolment is the activity of taking a learner onto the ‘Roll’ of a Learning Provider involved in the delivery of a course or learning opportunity.

Hence there is a need to transfer application and enrolment and related information between different learning providers within a consortium and between application systems.

The ISB will review progress with the expectation that the standards will be given ‘adopted’ status.

Data Management



Code of Practise


Crown Copyright

Standards Links

Click here to download BDM Data Standard - Learning Opportunity v0.4