System wide information standards enhance the capacity and capability to access and use information to best effect across the education, skills and children’s services sectors by:
reducing the implementation time and costs of developing and delivering sector programmes and solutions, thereby increasing value for money
- reducing operational costs by enabling data to be created once and used many times across different sectors
- providing better statistical data to improve the evidence supporting new policy formulation
- enabling the creation of innovative, high value online services for enhancing outcomes for children and learners
- creating a more open and competitive market for educational software
Here are some examples of how information standards ensure that, where appropriate, data and information can be shared between different users across the sectors and still be understood and used.
Example 1: Unique Learner Number
In education the ISB has encouraged the idea that a common identifier should be used for children and learners. For all children and learners over 13 this is the Unique Learner Number. Parents and learners will benefit because relevant information about them can be available to those providing learning, training and support services as they move from one school to another, and progress through education, training and study. Providers can offer relevant services to them and they will not be asked to fill in forms to give data about themselves where it is already known.
Schools, colleges, and local and central government will reduce their administrative costs by receiving the information they need, when they need it, and not have to ask people repeatedly for information already known. In addition, when it is relevant and appropriate, information like prior qualifications and special needs can be obtained reliably and enable them to provide better service more economically.
Example 2: further education data provision
Further education (FE) colleges can provide higher education, further education and school education and so find themselves needing to supply certain basic information about learners and courses in three different forms, to three different central agencies to meet statutory obligations or to obtain funding. Use of ISB standards across education, schools and children’s services will mean that FE colleges will only need to supply data in one format, no matter who is collecting it.