School and pupil records

Find out how to access old school and pupil records, and why and how long school records, registers and transcripts are kept.

Schools normally hold information about pupils, unless there are specific circumstances such as for looked-after children, or virtual school pupils.

How do I request information held in school records?

Requests for specific information should be made to the appropriate school, which will advise whether it holds the records and, if not, whether they have been transferred to the county record office or destroyed.

Personal information held in pupil records is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018 and individuals may need to complete a subject access request to access the information.

Parents can also make education records requests up until the child is 18.

How long are school records kept?

Type of record Recommended period to keep the record
School log books Six years from date of the last entry
Admissions registers Three years from date of the last entry. However, schools may decide to keep them permanently in order to help with enquiries from ex-pupils.
Individual pupil records  Primary schools only retain pupil records while the pupil remains at the school, then the record follows the pupil to secondary school. Secondary schools keep the records for 25 years after the pupil's date of birth.
Class registers  Date of register plus three years.

When the retention period is reached schools have to decide whether they want to continue to hold them. If a school no longer wishes to retain records, they generally offer them to the county record office. The archivists will decide whether the records are of sufficient historical or cultural value to warrant further retention.

What do we use school and pupil records for?

We use information about children to help us carry out specific functions, for example, an assessment of special educational needs. The information also helps us make decisions, such as on the funding of schools, and to assess the performance of schools and set targets. We will use information about the school workforce for research and policy purposes and may use it to support and monitor schools regarding sickness and staff recruitment.

Primary care trusts use information about pupils to monitor, evaluate and develop health services. Height and weight information of individual pupils may be provided to the child and its parents, and schools and local authorities may receive aggregate information on pupils' height and weight. The statistics are always used in such a way that individuals cannot be identified.

For pupils aged 13 and over, the school is legally required to pass on certain information to us, as the provider of youth support services. The school must provide the name, address and date of birth of the pupil, the name and address of their parents and any other information relevant to the support services' role. Until pupils are aged 16, their parent(s) can ask that no information beyond their children's name, address and date of birth (and their name and address) be passed to the youth support services. This right transfers to the pupil on their 16th birthday.

For more information on how we process personal information, see our open data, information sharing and data protection page.