NANCY EKPEZU continues the series on school information management. In the first part, she highlighted definition, categorisation and importance of the school information management system. In this piece, the focus is on how the information could be stored – filing.
Improving information management is a key focus in a lot of schools, but a lot of schools still struggle with delivering information management in an integrated and efficient manner. It must be borne in mind, however, that while there is a lot of emphasis on managing information properly, what works for one school may not work for another. So, it’s not a one cap fits all approach.
Each school needs to develop its own information management based on its peculiar factors, which may include the kinds and status of parents in the school, environmental and cultural factors, resources available within the school, and the premium the school places on information, amongst others.
Filing simply means keeping documents in a safe place and being able to find them easily and quickly. It needs to be done properly and in an organised manner for both hard copies and digital (soft) copies of documents.
Why does your school need a filing system? Building a filing system in your school will help everyone to get more organised, systematic and transparent.
The following items are needed for proper filing:
- A filing cabinet for keeping office files and suspension hanging files
- Steel cabinets for storing big files that need locking up.
- Date stamps for stamping documents that are received on a daily basis in the school
- Register for recording files taken out and files returned
- Filing shelves for filing box files
- Perforators for punching the documents that need to be filed
- File tags for holding documents together in office flat files
Methods of Filing
- By subject category
- In alphabetical order
- By numbers/numerical order
- By places/geographical order
- By date or chronological order
The recommended method for school filing is a combination of the subject category and the date or chronological order.
How to Set Up a School Filing System
- Group all your files into categories to make your filing system more useful and efficient. A category is a group of things that belong together, e.g. Events Committee, Health and Safety Committee, Marketing Committee, all belong to the same category (Committees)
- Set up a filing key
- Don’t create new files unless what you’re filing does not belong to any of the other previous categories.
- Follow alphabetical order when arranging files and place the most recent files on top.
- Use the filing key, and ensure files are brought back and not lost.
- Keep a record of all the files people borrow, using a file-out book.
- Ensure everyone knows the method of filing, so that they can access files easily.
- Keep a record of all the files available in the school in the admin office.
- Create a naming system for flies which will work for both the hard copies and digital files.
Ethics of School Record Keeping
- Keep school information confidential
- File in a timely manner, and do not postpone entries
- Do only what works for your school. Do not copy exactly what other schools do, no matter how much you want to learn from them. Adapt what you learn to suit your school’s specific needs.
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