Retention schedule for academic departments, schools and centres

This schedule applies to all records kept in academic departments, schools and centres.

A retention schedule is a list of the minimum records we need to keep, along with the period they need to be kept for. Schedules are based on the content of a document, not its format – they apply equally to paper and electronic documents.

Items you need to keep in your department

Acronym key

  • CAY Current Academic Year (October to September)
  • CFY Current Financial Year (August to July)
  • CCY Current Calendar Year (January to December)
  • TofR Termination of Relationship (the point at which someone permanently stops being a student or member of staff)
  • Permanent This information should be kept forever and not destroyed.

The numbers refer to the number of years after the current year the records have to be kept for. For example, CAY+6 means until the end of this academic year, and then another six full academic years. So a document created in February 2011 will be kept until the end of the 2010-11 academic year (September 2011), and then a further six full academic years, which means it could be destroyed at the end of September 2017.

Student administration

Item How long to keep it for Notes
Visit day applicants CAY+1  
Undergraduate and Graduate enquiries CAY+1  
Rejected or withdrawn applications CAY+1  
Individual student files TofR +3 Not all departments keep files on individual students. Registry keeps full records for TofR+6. Information on MIS is kept permanently.
Progress/attendance records TofR+3 OR CAY+6 Use whichever is easiest depending on your filing system: TofR+3 if this information is in files on individuals, CAY+6 if all information of this type is filed together by year
UG extenuating performance forms
PG extenuating performance forms
Late submission forms and accompanying paperwork
Academic offences
Student references (taught students) CAY+3 References should be filed separately from the student file. See the Guidelines and Procedures on the Provision of Student References
Student references (research students) CAY+10
Basic record of study (name, period of study, results including marks) for students registered BEFORE 2000 Permanent Students registered after 2000 will be on SRDB.

Staff administration

Item How long to keep it for Notes
Academic staff files Permanent  
Support staff files TofR+6  
Research staff files TofR+6  
Graduate Teaching Assistants/part-time teachers TofR+1  
Temporary staff TofR+1  
Annual review Kept on the relevant staff file If filed separately from staff files then CAY+6
Staff contact details TofR If a member of staff leaves and wants to keep in touch with the department and be kept up to date with news etc then their details may be retained
Notification of sickness absence reports to Payroll and HR CAY+2 Held in the department to help you see trends and identify issues

Departmental administration

Item How long to keep it for Notes
Departmental meeting papers Permanent  
Senior Departmental Committee Meeting Papers Permanent  
Departmental Committee Meeting Papers CAY+6 e.g. Teaching and Learning Quality Assurance Committee, Staff Student Liaison Committee
Purchase orders raised electronically through Agresso Not kept Held on Agresso
Purchase orders raised on paper CFY+6 Finance prefer that orders are not raised on paper
Departmental budget information not held on Agresso or by Payments CFY+6 Invoices and expense claims should be sent to Payments where they are held for CFY+6
Departmental Handbook Permanent This is the suggested maximum. Paperwork can be destroyed sooner
Paperwork relating to production of departmental handbooks CAY+3  
General departmental files Prune every three years  


Item How long to keep it for Notes
Class attendance lists CAY  
Class lists CAY  
Course catalogue, syllabus information, coursework titles and reading lists Permanent From 2004 onwards this is on SRDB
Observation of teaching reports/peer review CAY+6  

Student assessment

Item How long to keep it for Notes
Paperwork for pre-boards (UG) Last year of study +5 years Papers for the main Exam Boards are kept permanently in Registry
Postgraduate Board of Examiner Papers Permanent This should include board members, rules of assessment, grids, minutes, extenuating circumstances, pass lists, record of changes to marks, minutes of pre-board meetings
Examination grids Last year of study +5 years  
Postgraduate pass lists Last year of study +5 years  
Examination scripts (first year UG) Last year of study +5 years  
Examination scripts (other than first year UG) Last year of study +5 years  
Coursework submission records and correspondence relating to non-submission of coursework Last year of study +5 years  
Coursework (first year UG, uncollected) Last year of study +5 years  
Coursework (other than first year UG, uncollected) Last year of study +5 years  
UG dissertations and projects  
PG dissertations and projects  

Quality assurance

Item How long to keep it for Notes
Periodic review of degree schemes CAY+6 Copy of final report held permanently in Quality and Academic Development
Annual monitoring of degree schemes CAY+6  
Student assessment of courses – summary reports CAY+6  
Student assessment of courses – individual student responses CAY+1  
Student Satisfaction Survey – reports of analysis, evaluation and subsequent action CAY+6 Survey data and final reports are kept in Systems Administration Office in the Academic Section
Student Satisfaction Survey – individual student responses CAY+1
External examiner’s reports CAY+6 Copy of final report held permanently in Quality and Academic Development
External Examiner files TofR+3  


Item How long to keep it for Notes
Research subject payments and receipts CFY+6 Items that have been handled through Agresso or sent to Payments will not need to be kept in the department
Research grant applications CFY+6 REO keeps copies of all successful grant applications which have been properly authorised; unsuccessful applications do not need to be kept
Research plans Duration of employment - updated annually Outdated versions should be destroyed

Not included in the schedule

If a document you have isn’t on the retention schedule it means there is probably no legal need or general business continuity need for you to keep it. Schedules focus on what your department, section, centre, school or office needs to keep. They don’t include things you as an individual might feel useful to keep. If something is for your own use, because it’s part of something you’re currently working on, or something that you work on termly or annually and need a reminder of how things went the last time, then that’s fine.

If you think something in your office, department, school or section is a core document and needed for legal or business continuity reason, and it isn’t on the schedule check to see whether another part of the University holds it.  There is a list of items kept elsewhere, and the Academic Section retention schedule might also be useful. If you still can’t find the item listed then please speak to the Information Manager who will be able to advise and update the schedule if necessary.

Items you need to keep elsewhere

Item Where held For how long Notes
Degree scheme structures and rules of assessment (part of programme specifications) SRDB (ESIS) Permanent  
Past examination papers Moodle Permanent Some held in the Albert Sloman Library
Examination grids SRDB (ESIS) Permanent  
UG pass lists SRDB (ESIS) Permanent If you want to hold your own copies for reference you MUST ensure they accurately match what is on SRDB
Examination marks SRDB (ESIS) Permanent  
Coursework marks SRDB (ESIS) Permanent  
Course information SRDB (ESIS)    
PhD theses Albert Sloman Library Permanent  
Student prizes SRDB (ESIS) Permanent  
Programme specifications SRDB (ESIS) Permanent  
RAE/REF submissions REO Permanent  
Committee papers Online and also held by the Committee Secretary Various – many permanent See the Committee Papers Publication Schedule for Secretaries and availability of papers
Accidents and incidents HSAS CAY + 5 years
Paper 3 years, electronic 5 years
Moodle Moodle CAY+4 Teaching materials are copied to Moodle archive in July of each year.
Listen Again Listen Again CAY+1 Teaching event recordings held for CAY+1; other recordings held between CAY+1 and CAY+4.

Items no longer needed

Most things aren’t kept forever. At the end of the retention period they are normally destroyed. Any personal information (information about identifiable living individuals) should be shredded. Anything that is confidential should also be shredded. Otherwise – think of the environment and recycle. Electronic documents should also be deleted at the end of the retention period. Don’t forget to clear out your recycle bin as deleted documents will stay there until you do so.

Support and help

There is more information on the records management web pages about retention schedules, deciding what the throw away, keeping information secure, organising information, archiving information and destroying information.

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