Feeds

Headmaster justifies fingerprinting pupils

'We don't have to ask parents'

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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."®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.