Individualised Learner Record (ILR) Return guide

Preparing for the ILR Return

Submitting the ILR Return is a requirement for stand-alone post-16 providers in England. Further guidance regarding the ILR Return can be found on the DfE’s Website.

This guide will run through how to complete your ILR. Make sure you have prepared your data following these instructions first: Preparing for the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) Return

You can see the collection availability for when you need to complete and submit the ILR Return here: Data collection maintenance schedule


Running your ILR Return

To navigate to your ILR Return page on Arbor go to School > Data > Export > Data Returns. Here you will see a list of the different returns for the academic year to date.

The date on the left-hand side of the page is the official day and the date in italics to the right-hand side of the screen is the deadline date for submission.



Click More information in the slide over.



On the overview page, you will see information on the return. Click the Generate Return button to get started.


You’ll see that the generation is in progress.


Once the ILR Return has been generated, you will get a notification in the speech bubble in the top right-hand corner of your screen letting you know the generation is complete.



Click on this to jump to your generated ILR.



You can review an existing return from School > Data > Export > Data Returns. Select the return you are completing, then click More information in the slide over.

Select your most recently generated ILR Return.



Resolving Errors

Further guidance regarding the ILR Return can be found on the DfE’s website.

In bulk

On the main ILR Return page, you will be shown a list of the errors. Click the error to add the required information.

Top Tip: Saved changes will not be reflected in the table instantly, you will need to click the Generate Return button to see any changes made. We recommend you solve multiple errors before refreshing your ILR Return so you don’t waste time waiting for it to generate.



For individual students

Go to the student's profile, and select ILR Learner File from the left-hand menu.

Select the academic year, and which return to look at the data for.

Screenshot 2023-09-21 at 15.47.14.png


Any missing or incorrect data will be highlighted in red for you. Click to update it.

Screenshot 2023-09-21 at 15.48.21.png


Some section's data can't be added from here, but need to be added from other sections of the student's profile. Please see this guidance: Preparing for the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) Return

Screenshot 2023-09-21 at 15.49.25.png


Submitting your ILR Return

Once you’ve resolved all the errors, click the Download Return button to download your ILR Return.



When you download the ILR Return, it will automatically save it to your computer in XML format. We are unable to advise you where this will have been saved as it will depend on the configuration of your computer. However, this will most likely be set to save in your Downloads folder by default. Do not open the file!

Once the ILR Return is downloaded out of Arbor, it is your responsibility to upload it to the ESFA website.


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