School to replace cash with pupil fingerprint system

FINGERPRINT technology is now being used in more of Huntingdonshire s schools to replace cash in the canteen. The technology has been used in many school libraries for a number of years, but is now being extended to the school dining room with Ramsey s Ab

FINGERPRINT technology is now being used in more of Huntingdonshire's schools to replace cash in the canteen.

The technology has been used in many school libraries for a number of years, but is now being extended to the school dining room with Ramsey's Abbey College about to take the plunge this week.

The system of cashless catering, which goes live on Friday, will mean that instead of paying for their food with tickets, tokens or cash, pupils will register information taken from a scan of their middle finger.

An open day was held at the school yesterday (Tuesday) to explain the system to parents.


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Headteacher Wayne Birks told The Hunts Post: "This is a cashless system using fingertip technology and we are anxious that there should not be any misunderstanding about how it works.

"We are not taking pupil's fingerprints and we are holding a demonstration to show parents and pupils exactly how it works.

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"This will mean that if parents give their child £4 to spend at the school canteen they know it has been spent there and not at the local shop. It also means that pupils do not have to carry cash around."

Mr Birks said using the finger ID at the school library had made it easier to check who had the books and had made the system more secure.

He said there had been no complaints about the system and no dissention from it.

"This is being seen as a very, very positive step forward. We have the total support of the parents and the kids can't get there quickly enough, they are really keen to use it."

The technology is being supplied a company called VeriCool and according to a statement from the school, the company's software will capture a "digital signature" of each pupil's fingertip.

This will then be broken down into data points, similar to reference points on a map. These will then be turned into a string of letters and numbers which is encrypted. Once enrolled in the system, as each pupil enters the canteen, they will place their enrolled fingertip on a pad to make a payment for their food.

The school has assured parents that no one has access to the information and that the data can "never be viewed as anything other than a string of numbers and letters".

Each pupil has their own account and can pay into it using "coin and note loaders" mounted round the school - where they can also check their balances.

Parents can use a system called ParentPay, an on-line method of crediting the account.

nIs this a good use of technology or are children being controlled too much by new gadgets? Send you views to editor@huntspost.co.uk

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