Archives and Records Management

Guidelines on the retention and disposal of school records.

Please scroll to the bottom of the page for contacts and links

Do you need to comply?

You are required to keep some records. The retention of many records, however, is optional, although in many cases highly recommended.

Conditions of compliance

Certain records are retained or archived to meet legal and fiscal requirements or future administrative needs, or because of historical significance.

The retention period for some records is determined by legal or system requirements. For other records retention periods are determined by practice, precedent or accountability.

If you have to comply, what do you have to do?

A document retention schedule should consider:

  • The types of records to be kept
  • The length of time for which the records should be kept
  • Suggested methods of disposal and destruction of records.

Matters to consider:

  • Records created and stored in digital formats are available for the specified period of retention
  • Appropriateness of destroying records

What are the consequences if you don’t comply?

You may encounter difficulties in cases of litigation if important and relevant records have been unnecessarily destroyed.

The Crimes (Document Destruction) Act 2005 makes it a criminal offence to knowingly destroy or conceal or authorise or permit another person to destroy or conceal a document or thing that is, or is reasonably likely to be, required as evidence in a legal proceeding. “Reasonably likely” is not an expression that is defined. It could include where there is a litigious history or student/employee complaints. Each situation would need to be looked on its own facts. Destruction also includes rendering illegible, making undecipherable or otherwise making incapable of identification. Contravention of the Act is a criminal offence. Courts can award a penalty of 5 years imprisonment or a fine up to $62,886 for individuals and a fine up to $314,430 for corporations.

Who will help you?

Independent Schools Victoria contact:

Peter Roberts
Director, School Services
Ph. 03 9825 7211

Kieren Noonan
School Services Advisor
Ph. 03 9825 7275

Documents for Download

Word DocumentISV: Record Management Model Policy (Members’ Area password required)

PDFPublic Records Office: General Disposal Schedule for School Records

Links and Resources

External linkVic DET: School Policy and Advisory Guide – Archives and Records Management (Note: This resource is useful but not all advice is relevant to Independent schools)

External link‘Records Retention for Non-Government Schools’ is available for purchase from the Australian Society of Archivists