SCHOOLS are to be banned from taking pupils’ fingerprints without parental consent – six years after two York schools were caught up in controversy over the system.
From next September, parents will have to give permission for their children’s “biometric data” – covering fingerprint identification, iris and retina scanning and facial recognition technology – to be used for attendance-checking, access, paying for lunch and other purposes.
The Department for Education has published advice to schools which sets out the new rules.
In January 2007, The Press revealed Manor CE School and All Saints RC School were using library systems which relied on thumbprint recognition without parental knowledge. Several other schools in the city were also using such systems, but obtained the consent of parents first.
At the time, Government education bosses said Manor and All Saints could be breaching the Data Protection Act.
Parents of Manor pupils were subsequently asked whether they wanted to withdraw their children from the system, while All Saints introduced a thumbprint recognition scheme to register pupils the following year after consulting with parents.