Circular 2006/19 - School records retention and disposal

The circular identifies the requirements that schools, under the Public Records Act 2005, need to adopt to manage their School Records Retention and Disposal.

Date 13 September 2006 | Circular number 2006/19 | Category Governance

School records retention and disposal

This circular is about The requirements of the Public Records Act 2005 that affect schools. The circular identifies the requirements of the legislation, the reasons for them and provides detail of the School Records Retention/Disposal Information Pack that will be sent to boards of all state and state integrated schools early in term 4, 2006

The action required is Note the contents of this circular and ensure that the requirements under the Public Records Act 2005 are understood and that the Information Pack supports your implementation.

It is intended for Boards of trustees of all state and state integrated schools; and school personnel who have been delegated by the board to take responsibility for the management, retention and disposal of school records.

For further information Contact your local Ministry of Education office or Archives New Zealand(external link).


The Public Records Act 2005 came into effect on 14 April 2005. This new legislation allows Archives New Zealand to more actively care for documents that are identified as important for New Zealand's history. This legislation covers all public records, including school records.

In order to assist boards of trustees in maintaining school records, the Ministry of Education has negotiated with Archives New Zealand that school records at state and state integrated schools are a variation, or special case, within the Act. A School Records Retention/Disposal Schedule has been approved by the Chief Archivist as the legal document for schools to use when dealing with the retention and disposal of their school records.

The schedule is the variation within the Act. It is a helpful tool for schools as it covers all possible records a school may create and gives your school clear information about how long to keep school records, why you have to keep them, and what needs to happen to them when they are of no further use to your school.

What are schools' responsibilities to retain and dispose of records?

Your records are a valuable source of information about the achievements and history of your school. Good record keeping enables you to find accurate information easily. Good record keeping can also reduce administration as you refer to a clear process and documentation about what should be done with your school records and when different actions should be taken.

Schools need to keep records for certain periods of time to comply with legal requirements, for example education and tax legislation. State and state integrated schools also have broader responsibilities to retain some school records for archival purposes, and cannot destroy or dispose of any school records without Archives New Zealand's authorisation. The School Records Retention/Disposal Schedule is the authorisation that Archives New Zealand has given. It supports schools in their record keeping as it identifies the school records that can be discharged or destroyed, and those which must eventually be sent to Archives New Zealand.

School records retention/disposal information pack

A School records retention/disposal information pack will be distributed to all boards of state and state integrated schools in term 4, 2006. The Information Pack includes a copy of the School Records Retention/Disposal Schedule, an electronic copy on CD, support material for its use, and a list of contact details for any follow up queries that your school may have.

There are six parts to the School Records Retention/Disposal Schedule:

  1. Student Records
  2. Governance
  3. Personnel
  4. Finance
  5. Property and Administration
  6. Historical

Each part of the schedule contains a broad definition of the types of records covered.

Further information

For more information on the Public Records Act 2005(external link) see the Archives New Zealand website(external link).

Issued by

Kathy Phillips, Senior Manager National Operations
Ministry of Education
National Office
45 - 47 Pipitea Street, Thorndon, P O Box 1666, Wellington, New Zealand
Phone 04 463 8000 fax 04 463 8001

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