Feeds

Headmaster justifies fingerprinting pupils

'We don't have to ask parents'

New hybrid storage solutions

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."®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.