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GPS, swipe cards to monitor Welsh school kids

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Councils in North Wales are equipping school buses with GPS and swipe card technology to help monitor attendance and antisocial behaviour.

A trial of the Star smart card scheme will be launched in May with the aim of improving the behaviour of pupils on schools' transport.

Children will swipe a smart card as they get onto the bus. This will enable the driver to identify a child if he or she behaves badly or gets off at the wrong stop.

In addition parents will be able to log onto a website and use satellite tracking technology to check in real time where their children are on their route to and from school.

The project is being led by Denbighshire CC and involves the other five North Wales authorities of Flintshire, Conwy, Gwynedd, Anglesey and Wrexham. It will receive funding of £10,000 from the Welsh Local Government Association.

The Star scheme is part of an antisocial behaviour initiative called Zoom, set up by the six counties and supported by the Welsh Assembly Government. Children behaving unsociably towards bus drivers and their fellow passengers is a growing problem in the area, according to Denbighshire CC.

If the trial is successful the Star scheme is likely to go live across the region at the start of the new school year in September.

Shelley Barrett, project officer for Star, told GC News: "If youngsters go on a bus and vandalise it or bully someone then a message using the system will end up back with the school within 12 hours and that will be followed up by a call to the parents.

"The system is being supplied by Watford based company JepTech, and is the idea of the managing director who had increasing problems getting his son to school on school transport because the authorities said the bus was full."

This article was originally published at Kable.

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