Published 20th of July 2021

The GDPR states that any personal data kept by schools should only be retained for as long as necessary. There are many different documents retained at a school, for instance attendance registers and educational records, which can make things confusing for staff to know how long they should keep hold of all the different documents.

How long should school records be kept?

It is important to remember that many school records are helpful to keep, not only for former pupils but also for local historical and genealogical research. We would recommend keeping hold of records until they legally need destroying or until they are of no such value.

Following the guidelines set out below will ensure you are compliant with GDPR and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. If you require to retain or destroy documents for shorter or longer periods, than stated below, you must keep documentation explaining your reason for doing so.

File Description

Data Protection Issue

Retention Period

Action at end of records life

Admissions Registers

Yes

Entry + 7 years

Retain in school for 7 years from entry. Can archive these records if needed.

Attendance Registers

Yes

Date of register + 3 years

Are retained whilst the pupils are still at school and for three years after the last date in the register. After it must be securely disposed.

Public Examination results

No

Year of examination +6 years

Secure disposal

Internal Examination results

Yes

Current year +5 years

Secure disposal

Pupil’s work

Yes

Current year +1 year

We recommend reviewing these records at the end of each year and allocate a new retention period. Secure disposal.

Timetable

No

Current year +1 year

We recommend reviewing these records at the end of each year and allocate a new retention period. Secure disposal.

Staff timesheets, sick pay

Yes

Current year +6 years

Secure disposal.

Staff personnel files

Yes

Termination +25 years

Secure disposal.

Accessibility plans

Yes

Current year +6 years

Secure disposal.

Incident Reports

Yes

Current year + 20 years

Secure disposal.

School Brochure or prospectus

No

Current year + 3 years

Disposal & recycle.

Annual Accounts


Current year + 6 years

Secure disposal.

Free school meals registers

Yes

Current year +6 years

Secure disposal.

OFSTED reports and papers


Replace former report with new inspection report

Review to see if further retention period required. Secure disposal.

Pupil files primary

Yes

Retain for time which the pupil is at the primary school

Transfer the files to their secondary school (or other primary school) when the child leaves.

Pupil files secondary

Yes

Date of birth +25 years

Secure disposal.

For further guidance get in touch with a member of our team.

When should schools’ records be destroyed?

Above outlines when certain files should be securely destroyed depending on the contents of the document. It is recommended that records should be received and updated annually, and records should be retained for 6 years from the date of the audit. After that period the documents should be destroyed unless legal action is pending.

The best method for destroying school records

The majority of documents held in a school premises contain sensitive details and information about pupils. Therefore, it’s important they are securely shredded so personal information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands and so you stay GDPR compliant.

Our shredding service can be scheduled as a one-off collection or on a regular basis. We provide both on-site and off-site destruction, at a time that suits you. Every service is completed by our fully vetted team and a certificate of destruction is provided as proof of your confidential destruction. We are happy to help and have years of experience working with schools and universities. Contact our team today to book in your service.