School to trial biometric testing

Some Berkshire students are reportedly angry that a fingerprint scanner is being installed at their school

A secondary school in Berkshire is set to trial biometric fingerprint scanning technology to keep track of pupils entering and leaving its premises and cut truancy rates.

Sixth-form students at Edgbarrow school in the town of Crowthorne will have their fingerprints digitally scanned and stored in a database in time for the start of the new school year this September.

Students will not be forced initially to take part in the trial, which will last a year, according to a report in The Guardian

The students will have to place their thumb in a fingerprint scanner whenever they enter or leave the school premises.

According to the paper some students are opposed to the plans, claiming that it will infringe their human rights, but Edgbarrow headteacher Robert Elsey said the school will be seeking the views of parents as well.

He told The Guardian: "All our sixth formers are being invited to take part in the pilot scheme but there is no compulsion to do so. We have spoken to students and received a positive response regarding the new scheme."

No one at Edgbarrow School was today available for comment.

A similar trial took place last year at St Andrews College in Dublin with a fingerprint-scanning registration system that automatically sent a text message to parents if their child did not turn up at school. Staff could also more easily monitor attendance using a secure website.

Teachers at the school said the system freed up their time to deal with more important issues than taking the register.