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Identifying schools, universities and other educational establishments

Why identifiers matter

Identifiers are an important part of any dataset. They let a computer uniquely identify and refer to specific grants, organisations, transactions and so-on.

Whilst a human being may be good at recognising that:

INDIGO TRUST, The Indigo Trust, and indigo-trust

… all refer to the same organisation, computers find this a lot trickier.

As part of the 360Giving standard, we provide guidance on identifiers including schools, universities and other educational establishments. This post clarifies how to use the information you currently collect as part of your due-diligence to identify these types of organisations.

Within The United Kingdom

Education is devolved with each nation responsible for the registration of educational establishments. This means that for England & Wales, this falls to the Department of Education, while Scotland and Northern Ireland equivalents are Education Scotland and The Education Authority (EA).

For England & Wales, look out for the 6-digit OFSTED unique reference number. This is the same as an EDUBASE unique reference number – the unique reference number or URN issued by the Department of Education. You can provide this identifier in your 360Giving data by prefixing it with “GB-EDU”.

For example:

Wakefield Girls’ High School has a URN of 108305

In your 360Giving publication, you would provide this identifier:


To learn more about prefixes we use, view our organisation identifier guidance

For Scotland & Northern Ireland, finding the unique reference’s used isn’t as simple as a search on EDUBASE. We’re currently researching the options and will update our guidance once we find a solution.

In the meantime, we recommend using UKRPN numbers. These are available from the UK Register of Learning Providers. Their aim is to be “a ‘one-stop’ portal to be used by government departments, agencies, learners, and employers to share key information about learning providers”. A UKPRN will be about 8 digits long and you can provide this identifier in your 360Giving data by prefixing it with “GB-UKPRN”.

For example:

Abbey Primary School has a URN of 10049915

In your 360Giving publication, you would provide this identifier:


For universities, alternate, further and higher education anywhere in the UK, you can provide their UKPRN numbers. We confirmed with HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) that all these establishments have a UKPRN. You can find more information from HESA’s free statistics.

Outside The United Kingdom

You may fund schools, universties and other educational establishments overseas – how could you identify these organisations? In general, we recommend using a recognised identifier from the IATI registration agency list if one is available. 360Giving uses the prefixes for all our external identifiers e.g. GB-EDU. If there are no agencies available, you can use your internal identifier, or contact us for more advice.

We’ll keep this page up-to-date where we’ve identified new registration agencies you can use. Below are the agencies we’ve identified so far.

Universities in Israel

Our advice is to use your internal identifiers, as identifier information isn’t currently published for universities in Israel. The Institutions of Higher Education list from the Council for Higher Education should help you with due diligence on the information provided by universities in Israel.