Over the years, boards make many decisions for many reasons. Good record-keeping will make sure that future boards will have access to the background and the reasons for those decisions. Without that, later boards may be at risk of making decisions without full knowledge of an issue or relying on faulty or incomplete information.
What you record, and how much, is a matter for your board to decide. However, it should be sufficient information to preserve a concise, but complete record. Your board must meet the legal requirements about what to keep, how to store it, and for how long.
Records should be securely and safely filed and stored, especially confidential documents. Storage should be fire-resistant and theft-proof. It is a good idea to designate one person to take charge of this responsibility so that your record-keeping stays current and there are clear schoolwide procedures about how records are filed, named, numbered, processed, and accessed. A school record can be in a range of formats – email, electronic documents, and paper files. It’s important to have systems in place to capture them all. Records must be accessible and stored so they can be retrieved if need be. (Note: written records should not be stored at the homes of board members or staff).
What records to keep/store
• Minutes and agendas of school board meetings, and other records documenting the board’s decisions and discussions (including its committees).
• Papers, such as reports, attached to the minutes.
• Governance documents such as charter, strategic plans, annual reports, school goals and targets, and student achievement information.
• All correspondence of the board members.
• School policies and procedures.
• School board election administration records, including advertisements.
• Other records as set out in the School Record Schedule.
How long to keep these records
The records listed above must be:
• Kept indefinitely
• May be sent to Archives NZ after 10 years (not sooner)
• Must be sent to Archives NZ after 25 years, unless arrangements are made with Archives NZ for the school to keep them longer. If your school is closing, sort, list, box, and send these records to the local/regional Ministry of Education office for off-site storage and eventual transfer to Archives NZ.
Archiving and records disposal
The Ministry has prepared some helpful guidelines on archiving and records disposal regulations. This booklet provides detailed information about what to keep, how to store it, and for how long.
It recommends that every school keep a retention and disposal schedule which gives a clear process and authority about how long to keep school records and what needs to happen when they are of no further use to the school. This helps ensure that schools keep records for the length of time required to comply with legal requirements, such as tax and education legislation.
State and integrated schools are also legally required to retain some records for archival purposes. The School Records Schedule aims to identify records that can be discharged, destroyed, or disposed of and those that must be sent to Archives New Zealand.
Click to download the information pack below.