Millions of school records to be published online for the first time

A consortium of local archives has made a ground making deal to digitise and make availablle thousands of school records from many local repositories.


The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland)  - ARA -  has signed a deal, on behalf of a large number of archives and schools,  with digital publishing experts brightsolid to publish online for the first time millions of school records from England and Wales.

This will be the first project to be undertaken under the framework of the new National Digitisation Consortium, which comprises up to 120 English and Welsh archives and schools working together to offer records for digitisation.

It is the first time such a large number of bodies will work together to digitise material - in this case their pre-1914 school registers. Once the registers have been scanned and transcribed by brightsolid, they will be made available to search online at leading family history website, which is owned by brightsolid.

The registers span the period 1870-1914 and cover every region of England and Wales. They contain details of particular interest to the family historian, including name of the school and the pupil, their date of birth, year of admission to the school and the name of a parent or guardian. Teachers are also listed and Industrial School registers are included in the collection.

Chris van der Kuyl, Chief Executive of brightsolid said: “We are proud to have agreed terms with the ARA to publish online this fascinating set of school records from over 120 separate archives across England and Wales.

“Projects of this magnitude reinforce not only our ambition, but our credentials as the leading digital publishing experts, especially within the genealogy market. We look forward to working closely with the ARA and the National Digitisation Consortium on this exciting endeavour.”

John Chambers, ARA Chief Executive, said: “As the leading membership body for those who work in UK and Irish archives, the ARA has an important role to play in helping the sector find new ways of working. The National Digitisation Consortium allows a number of archives and schools, of all sizes, to offer records for digitisation within a single, shared legal agreement. As well as enabling these fascinating school records to be available to the public, this project will set an important precedent for the way the sector can work together to achieve a better return.”


About the National Digitisation Consortium and the Archives and Records Association
The National Digitisation Consortium brings together a large number of archives and schools in England and Wales to facilitate the digitisation of a substantial body of records within a high level contract. Now the high-level contracts have been signed by the ARA and brightsolid,  all archives and schools which declared an interest to take part are being contacted about their formal sign-up to the deal.

The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) is the lead professional body for archivists, record managers and conservators. It has approximately 2,200 members.

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