School records for an individual pupil

Sometimes we are asked what records are kept of our schools. Often these requests come from former school pupils of our schools when they need to provide proof of their attendance or educational record. Other requests come from family historians carrying out research on their family tree and about their ancestors.

From time to time, teachers and their students wish to find out about the history of their own school. This page aims to provide some initial guidance for these enquiries. The guidance below covers:

Data Protection Act and school records

The Data Protection Act gives all school students, regardless of age, the right of access to their school pupil records.

For information about data protection in Haringey Council and accessing or correcting the personal data we hold, visit our Data Protection page

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Advice for former pupils

It is important to appreciate that school records for an individual pupil can be kept by the school for a limited time only. Read advice below for schools about keeping school records.

If you are a former pupil looking for your attendance and/or your education record at a Haringey school, it would be advisable to first contact the school you attended to see what records they still have.

Access to your own records is subject to the Data Protection Act. Some schools may have deposited their historical records at the Haringey Archive at Bruce Castle Museum.

Sometimes these include more recent records for pupils but please note many of the school records held at Haringey Archive are very old and date from the late 19th century and early 20th century onwards only.

For Haringey Archive's list of deposited school records pre-1965, visit the Discovery catalogue (based at The National Archives) in the external links section below.

Before contacting the Data Protection Officer, you can contact the Haringey Archive at Bruce Castle Museum first to check if school records are held for the school and for the period of time you require. If you are looking for someone else’s school records, follow the advice given below for family historians or researchers.

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Examination results

If you are looking for school examination results, these records are not held by any of our schools or Haringey Archive Service.

Examination results are kept by the individual examination board (external link). You would need to know which examination board you took your exams with and seek advice from them.

Schools may be able to directly assist in identifying which examination boards were used.

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Advice for family historians or researchers

Haringey Archive Service holds a collection of historical records for schools in Haringey. However, not all schools have deposited their records; nor do all school records survive. You can see which pre-1965 school records have been deposited in the archives by looking at the Discovery catalogue in the external links section below.

To comply with the Data Protection Act, there is some important guidance to follow if you wish to consult someone else’s personal information in school records.

Entries for an individual who is (or would be) more than one hundred years old can be viewed without restriction.

However, if the individual is less than one hundred years old you would need to provide proof that that person is now deceased, and to supply a death certificate for them.

If you require seeing the personal information for an individual who is still alive, then you would need to apply to the Data Protection Officer for permission. You can find out more information and submit a request online by following the link here.

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Advice for schools about keeping school records

We are often asked by schools how long certain records should be retained by them before they can be disposed of.

It is important to remember that many school records are of invaluable help, not only for former pupils but also for local historical and genealogical research.

There should be a presumption against destroying any records unless it is considered that they are of no such value.

The following guidance is by no means exhaustive but covers the items most frequently asked about.

  • School log: school logs should be retained permanently. They are retained in the school for 6 years from the date of the last entry; then transferred to the archives.
  • Admission registers: admission registers should be retained permanently - note that this is not the same as the class register in which daily attendance is marked. These are retained in the school for six years from the date of the last entry, then transferred to the archives.
  • Pupil record cards or printouts:
    • Primary - these are retained while the child is in the school; then transfer to the relevant secondary school.
    • Secondary - these are retained until the child is 25 years old and then shredded.
  • Class registers: class registers are retained whilst the pupils are still at school and for three years after the last date in the register; then destroyed. For example, if a pupil enters school in September 2001 and leaves in July 2008, the September 2001 register for that class can only be destroyed in August 2011.

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Special events

Schools often have:

  • Presentations
  • Open days
  • Pageants
  • Plays

Old photographs and other records that play an important part in the life of the school: These records can be transferred to Archives for historical purposes.

In every case, the Archives will confirm what they have retained and send a copy of the retention details to the school for their information. Often, schools will want to put on a display of old records for special events.

As long as advance notice is provided for the Archives, they will be able to arrange for the potential loan of the records for the school, subject to certain safeguards concerning the preservation and security of the items whilst on display.

Contact us for full details of the terms under which such loans can be made, or for any further advice on retention and disposal of records.

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Further information

Haringey Archive Service
Bruce Castle Museum
Lordship Lane
N17 8NU

Tel 020 8489 4250 - press option 2 on the menu
Fax 020 8808 4118

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Page last updated:

January 17, 2022