Unique Pupil Numbers (UPNs)

A UPN is a number that identifies each pupil in England uniquely. A UPN is allocated to each pupil according to a nationally specified formula on first entry to school (or perhaps in some cases earlier) and is intended to remain with the pupil throughout their school career regardless of any change in school or Local Authority (LA).

The benefit of maintaining accurate UPNs becomes particularly apparent when tracking pupils’ academic results.  Schools need to take care not to allocate new UPNs to pupils where one exists already and therefore we regularly encourage schools to contact us if they fail to obtain help in identifying the correct UPN from their usual sources.

Providing UPNs to PVIs and Private Schools

We create UPNs using an Excel file provided to LAs by the DfE which allows us to generate numbers that are specifically for individual schools.

Removal of temporary UPNs

Temporary UPNs are issued by school administrators when a new pupil starts at their school, whilst they await background information from the pupil’s previous school attended.  Schools frequently forget to remove the temporary UPN, which they should do after a few weeks: they should either change it to the existing UPN once they have been informed of it or replace it by creating a permanent UPN, if it becomes apparent that the pupil did not have a UPN prior to attending the current school.

We are responsible for data cleaning and as part of the school census importing we aim to target the reduction of temporary UPNs, as per DfE guidelines.

Last updated 1 September 2016