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Archives In Brief 76 - Pupil records

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Most of these records provide information relating to Orphan Schools, Industrial Schools and Government schools for admission purposes.

We do not hold school reports.

Contact the Board of Studies (02) 9367 8111 for copies of Leaving Certificates, Intermediate Certificates, School Certificates and High School Certificates.

Pre-1900 Records | Post-1900 Records | Access

Pre-1900 Records

The earliest records

New England Girls School, ArmidaleMost of the earliest schools in the colony were established to provide basic literacy skills and religious instruction to destitute children and to those whose parents could not afford to provide them with an education.

One of the earliest list of pupils in our collection is the
Colonial Secretary; NRS 1325, Richmond School Roll, Jul 1823-Feb 1824; [SZ 1014]; Fiche 3307, COD 208 *ARK

Orphan School records, 1825-33

Archives Investigator lists records that provide details of children admitted to Orphan Schools covering the period 1817-1886. Records of children admitted into and out of the Orphan School, 1825-33 *ARK are listed in the Archives Investigator as series NRS 782 and NRS 783.

Records of admission

Click on the links below for a list of records of children admitted to the following schools:

Researchers should also consult Archives Investigator for records relating to individual homes, schools and shelters.

Pupil records, 1848-1900

Prior to the Public Instruction Act, 1880, education was jointly administered by the Board of National Education and the Denominational School Board, 1848-66 and subsequently the Council of Education, 1866-79. The records of these agencies contain occasional references to pupils especially the miscellaneous correspondence series. For further information researchers should consult Archives Investigator and the Index to Schools and Related Records.

Post-1900 Records

School children preparing for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II at Katoomba Railway Station, AIB 76Records of individual schools

Our holdings of the following records are listed alphabetically by the name of the school, in the online Index to Schools and related records. Researchers can also consult the interim School Records guide, available in the reading room. Only a small percentage of admission registers, punishment books and examination books have survived. In some instances the school may still hold the registers.

Admission registers
Some of the most useful details concerning pupils for this period are to be found in the admission registers. They usually record pupil's name, age, name of parents/guardian, address, occupation, date of admission, year and class grade and sometimes reason for leaving or next school to be attended.
Punishment books
These books give the name of the pupil who was punished, the date, the offence and punishment.
Examination books
The contents of examination books vary. Some record pupils' examination results for each subject, total marks and place in grade, while others contain samples of examination questions.
School files c.1876-1979
The school files deal mainly with the day-to-day administration and maintenance of the school. Occasionally pupils are mentioned, particularly when an application is made for the opening of a school or a proposal is made for a change in the school's structure. A full description and listing of the school files is available online as part of the Index to Schools and related records.

School Certificates

Copies of Leaving Certificates, Intermediate Certificates, School Certificates and High School Certificates may be obtained from:

Board of Studies
177 Clarence St
Phone: (02) 9367 8111

Pupil record cards

Pupil record cards are retained for 25 years from date of birth or 7 years (whichever is the greater) by the last state school a student attended before leaving the State system.

If the student leaves the State system to enter the private system, live interstate or overseas before normal school leaving age, the pupil record card is retained by the last State school attended until the student has passed 25 years of age.

School reports

State Records does not hold school reports.


Researchers should consult the Register of Access Directions to confirm the public availability of records. State Records' staff can advise you on the availability of records if they are not listed on the register.

Related information

For information on teachers, researchers should consult Archives in Brief 19. For information on schools and the history of school administration researchers should consult Archives in Brief 26. Researchers interested in records of child care and protection should consult Archives in Brief 59.

© State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority, 2003.
This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for most purposes, however some restrictions apply. See our copyright notice or contact us.

*ARK signifies that a copy of the record or guide is part of the Archives Resources Kit and is held by the community access points.