Records kept within a school are part of the history of
a school and are used for planning future actions and policy.
Records in a school contain important information about school
administration, for example, the safekeeping of money, how it
is collected and used. However hardworking and intelligent you
may be, you cannot carry all the information about every teacher,
nor all the records about the administration of the school,
in your memory. Information about the staff and school administration
needs also to be available to others, for example, the inspector.
This unit, however, is not about school financial records or
those concerned with books or property, nor of keeping minute
books or log books. The subject of this unit is the keeping
of staff records.
Individual study time: 3 hours
At the end of this unit, you should be able to:
understand the purpose of keeping staff records
know the different types of records of staff which
should be kept.
The purposes of staff records
Keeping records is the only way to ensure that information
is not lost. This is true of all the different kinds of staff
records that you will learn about in this unit. You, as the
school head, are the leader of both staff and pupils. It is
therefore vital that you understand, and are well informed,
about the staff as well as the school, the pupils, and the
administration of the school. Although you will delegate tasks
to others, you remain responsible for all that takes place
and for future planning. In particular, you are responsible
for ensuring that every pupil is assigned to a class, and
that pupils are taught all the subjects of the school curriculum.
(1) List as many purposes of keeping records of staff as
(2) Give one example to illustrate each of the purposes you
The purposes you listed may have included the following:
Administrative and supervisory
Records, if they are kept efficiently, are a help to the
school head in managing the school, in identifying needs within
the school and in monitoring progress. They help the head
to plan for school and staff development. Workloads need to
be shared out between members of staff so that there is a
fair distribution of teaching, administration, and non-teaching
time. You, as the school head, need to know where all the
teachers are throughout the school day, which rooms they are
in, what classes and subjects are being taught. This cannot,
and should not be, carried in the head. It needs to be recorded.
Before staff are allocated to classes, you or, in a large
school, a deputy head, will have reviewed staff qualifications
and experience in particular subject areas. You will not want
to allocate a teacher to a subject in which he or she has
neither qualifications nor experience. Teachers with expertise
in senior secondary Mathematics should not, for example, normally
be allocated to teach a first grade class, nor the other way
round. Staff need to be matched to subjects and year groups
according to qualifications, experience and interests. Your
records are important for this process.
Your records will include information about the category
of qualifications, for example, certificate, diploma, degree.
These, together with experience and competence, will help
you decide how best to use the staff member's expertise, and
will have been taken into account for salary purposes.
The purposes of keeping staff records which have so far
been given have been related to the administrative, supervisory
and professional duties of the school head. However, as well
as ensuring that, for example, every pupil is provided with
teaching in every subject of the curriculum, you also have
a responsibility to provide for staff development. Records
of staff will therefore include details of in-service courses
attended by the teacher, private study undertaken for upgrading
purposes or extra-curricular responsibilities undertaken by
The staff development responsibility of the school head is
part of the continuous process of staff appraisal. Records
kept for the purpose of staff development should contain dates
when the school head has observed a teacher's classroom work,
notes of observations and discussions with the teacher. Where
there has been a complaint about the teacher's work, the records
should contain details of the reason for the complaint, the
date/s, the action taken and whether there has been improvement.
Types of staff records
Staff records can be grouped according to whether they
are purely factual and objective, or whether the information
contained within them depends on judgements which are often
subjective. You need to remember, however, that the differences
between the two types of record are not always as clearcut
as one might think. In apparently factual records there can
sometimes be a subjective element, for example, the choice
of information to be recorded. This problem can be largely
overcome by using the same factual record form for all staff
and an awareness that the risk of being subjective exists.
All records which contain subjective information, for
example, the process and outcome of teacher appraisal procedures,
should be regarded as confidential and should be kept locked
in the school head's room. Details of salary bracket, copies
of references, should also be regarded as confidential, as
should any note of personal problems or domestic difficulties.
Staff are entitled to privacy.
Examples of confidential records kept on a staff member's
2 Observations of teaching
3 Interview/discussions with school head as part of staff
4 Personal ambitions/personal or professional problems revealed
5 Notes, for example, of verbal warnings, or copies of written
warnings as part of a disciplinary procedure
6 Teacher's salary bracket and financial status
7 Promotion prospects
8 Copies of correspondence, for example, curriculum vitae
9 Medical and health records
10 Other, for example, comments on attendance, punctuality,
Factual and objective records
Factual and objective details such as the ones listed
below would be likely to be kept in the secretary's or administrative
office but you may find it convenient to have this information
also available on the staff member's confidential file.
1 Full name, address, date of birth, sex, nationality
2 Qualifications, where obtained and date of qualification
3 Subjects in which the teacher is qualified to teach
4 Subjects taught, but without formal qualifications
5 Date of appointment to the school
6 Details of previous posts, length of service in these
7 Length of teaching experience
9 Summary of number of teaching periods in each subject taught
and number of non-teaching periods
10 Details of any extra-curricular or extra-mural duties undertaken,
for example, sports coaching, homework or hostel supervision
What notes would you make of this discussion and which type
of file would you use to keep your record of the discussion
and your advice to the teacher?
You have had reason to discuss a member of staff's
problems with class discipline. You have suggested to him
that he might have less difficulty with his classes if he
introduced some practical work and encouraged the pupils to
talk together during their work and ask him questions.
To be really useful, you will need to keep your records
up to date. For example, the notes that you made under Activity
6.2 need to be reviewed after a few weeks and added to according
to whether there has been improvement or not. To take another
example, you would want to record the fact that a woman teacher
has gained a further qualification through part-time study
even though she is the sole earner and head of her household
with five young children. This example should be recorded
in both the factual file and in the confidential file since
her circumstances make her extra qualification even more creditable.
Design a factual staff record to be kept in the staff
member's file which gives all necessary information. Begin with
the date of completion of the record form.
The way in which you choose to keep your records up to date
and organise them will depend on whether there are record
forms supplied to a school or whether you need to design your
own. If the design of a record form is left to the individual
school and school head, then you will want to make the record
form as simple as possible so that your work is kept to the
minimum. A blank form which you create, duplicate and complete
is a useful way of easing your workload.
Making use of records
Your records will be most useful to you if they are kept
in an organised way so that the information you need is immediately
visible to you.
If you keep your records up to date, not only will you be
behaving in an efficient way, but you will get to know your
school and its staff in a very thorough manner. That alone
will assist your task of managing and developing the school
for the benefit of pupils and staff alike. Schools are like
living things; they are not static but are constantly developing.
Your records need to keep pace with that and be updated whenever
there is new information to add. Alternatively, updating your
records can become part of your routine activities at the
beginning of each term.
This unit has been concerned with the basic staff records
required to assist in the smooth functioning of a school.
Administrative requirements may differ from country to country,
region to region, or district to district. However, in the
absence of directives from a central authority it is important
that school heads maintain a record of their staff members.
To maintain an understanding of the needs of the school and
the individual staff members, the keeping of efficient staff
records is an important tool in the hands of the school head.