Feeds

Headmaster justifies fingerprinting pupils

'We don't have to ask parents'

Security for virtualized datacentres

The headmaster of Porth County Comprehensive School in South Wales has defended fingerprinting all 1,400 of his pupils days after their parents were told about the scheme last Wednesday.

Children had their fingers scanned for a system that will replace the old fashioned school register with biometric scanners in every class room.

Parents campaigning against having schools take their childrens' fingerprints have complained that it is being done without their consent, and sometimes without their knowledge.

Porth County Comprehensive headmaster Stephen Bowden told El Reg: "As far as we were concerned, it wasn't necessary for us to seek parental consent in this. It's a system that has been approved by the DfES and it's supported by Capita SIMS."

Pupils at the school were given letters about the fingerprinting to take home to their parents last Tuesday and Wednesday.

"All the parents received a letter at the beginning of term asking them to contact us if they had any concerns. We had a couple of parents call...when we explained the procedure and the reasons why they were happy with that," said Bowden.

"There are 1,400 students in the school and we had two phone calls...the parents were perfectly happy."

The system, called Vericool, was developed by Anteon, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, a firm that specialises in developing systems for the military and intelligence services.

It will register children for lessons by scanning their fingers when they enter a classroom at the start of a lesson.

Bowden said it would give the school a means of "effective administration" and help in "reducing the bureaucratic burden" of staff taking registrations themselves. It had cost the school £25,000.

"By the time I've put this together, I can assure any parent that their child is safely in school and on the premises...or we can purely or simply track students to see if attendance affects their progress," he said.

But Bowden said he would not know how much more efficient the system would be than a manual register until after its installation was complete in January.

David Clouter, a campaigner at Leavethemkidsalone.com, said experts had reported on his site that the fingerprinting systems being used by schools were so unreliable that manual registers would still have to be taken to assure the location of pupils in the event of a fire.

He also said that taking the register was an important way for teachers to establish contact with each individual pupil at the start of a class.

Terri Dowty, a former teacher and director of Action on Rights for Children (ARCH) told the Guardian in March: "When I was teaching, attendance-taking was an important part of the day. You would call the name, look up, and make eye contact - notice them for a second. It was an important human part of the day."®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.