Peter Symonds College, Winchester, UK
Peter Symonds College is the largest publicly-funded sixth form college in the UK. It offers a broad choice of courses for 3,800 16-19 year olds mainly from the city of Winchester and its environs, but as some students board at the college, from UK forces schools abroad and the Falkland Islands. The main focus of the College is Advanced Level courses for full-time learners but there is also a smaller Adult Education site for part-time adult students.
The college keeps many kinds of records on students, staff, financial transactions, etc. Many of these have to be stored safely for six years after they have been closed and this resulted in the storage of many hundreds of boxes of old paper records. This gave us many problems such as:
- Valuable space being wasted.
- Protecting paper records from physical damage by water, fire, etc.
- Controlling access to certain staff.
- Physical movement and destruction of old records that were no longer needed.
- Making sure that records retrieved were replaced correctly.
In the Spring of 2011 we wanted to redevelop an old out-building where most of our records were being stored. This would have meant relocating the records or trying to do the archiving in a more modern and manageable way. We decided to investigate the option of scanning the paper archives and invited several specialist scanning companies to visit and discuss the options.
We chose ProScan as they are a local company who seemed flexible, responsive and value for money. We ran a trial scan of a year’s worth of finance records and were very satisfied with the result. Since then we have had scanned some 800,000 sheets of paper covering seven years of student and financial records. ProScan collect the paper records, process them, return two CDs, and when we are satisfied with the results, they securely destroy the originals. We save the CDs in secure safes and make the records available in a managed and secure fashion to those staff who need and are allowed access.
This system saves us many hours of searching for old files and has released the building which is now being redeveloped as two new teaching classrooms for the college. The success of this trial means that we now plan to extend the programme to include other paper records in the college. We shall be continuing to use ProScan for this as we have been extremely pleased with their friendly and efficient service.
Director of IT