Plymouth school’s fingerprinting fun

Childfingerprint No, not a pre-school art class story; rather Estover Community College (soon to be Tor Bridge High) have decided that in addition to the new buildings, equipment and books, some of the £39 million spent on a new refurbishment should be ploughed into sticking all of their children on a biometric database.

As the Plymouth Herald explains:

The school has become one of the few secondaries in the country to install a thumbprint scanner system which pupils can use for registration and for buying food in the new restaurant. Executive principal Graham Browne said: "It is a school of the future. There is so much technology in the new buildings.

"The fact we have a thumbprint scanner system is absolutely fantastic and shows what an amazing school this has become."

Mr Brown said the main reasons for installing it were for "speed and convenience". "It means that registration is no longer a time-consuming distraction at the start of a lesson."

It's been a while since I was at school, but I don't recall thinking that registration was the most time-consuming of daily routines. Similarly, Mr Browne may wish to consult one of the 'few secondaries' with experience of thumbprint scanners and whether they were speedy, convenient or a frequent pain, malfunctioning and expensive waste of time.

But more importantly, we are getting tired of journalists swallowing the "it's only a code, not the fingerprint so it isn't dodgy" line which teachers parrot from scanner salesmen. Put simply, if you know the code, you can change it back to a fingerprint.

This is biometric data collection and worse it is from young people who can't properly object and being done ostensibly for 'their own good.' The Government needs to address this continued practice as a matter of urgency.

By Dylan Sharpe