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London school to fingerprint students

But only to monitor attendance, school claims

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A London school is to embark on a trial to fingerprint children when they return to school.

Holland Park School is believed to be one of the first schools in the UK to seek to fingerprint every pupil in an effort to monitor their attendance.

The school said it will test the system, costing about £4,500, on pupils who are late to school from next week before rolling it out to all 1,500 pupils.

It plans to build a database so children can be identified and their time of arrival recorded in a "Live Register" by pressing a finger on an electronic pad. If late arrivals fail to press a pad at the gates or in a classroom they will be recorded as absent.

A spokesperson for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in which Holland Park School is located, told GC News: "In order for the system to operate students have one finger scanned. No record of the scan is kept. Rather, it is turned by process of algorithm into an individual number that is recorded and recognised when a student places their finger on the reader."

The council also denied that the database is being developed to as part of the government's controversial proposal to build a Children's Index, a national database of under 12s.

"All data is retained in the school as part of our current database and will not be shared with any third party," said the spokesperson.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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