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Biometrics – Should schools have a legal duty to consult?

Biometrics – Should schools have a legal duty to consult?

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Multi-coloured FingerprintsOnline debate about the use of biometrics in schools is increasing – both for and against.  I was surprised to see that schools do not have a legal duty to consult parents (although they are advised to).

The official ICO guidelines are here; the most recent advice issued to schools (that I can find) is dated 2007, from BECTA.  If you’ve come across anything more recent, please share the link.

The Coalition’s “Programme for Change” vowed to “outlaw the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission”.

In the 3 years from February 2007 the then-DCSF received 34 “concerns or objections” relating to the use of biometrics in schools – will this increase as the use of biometric technology increases in schools?  Or are objections more likely to be raised directly with schools?  Are School Governors equipped to handle potentially difficult questions raised?

I’m really intrigued by the whole topic (especially as page 18 of this CESG report that the age of the person submitting their fingerprint etc may have an impact on successful use of the technology anyway!).

  • Are you thinking of introducing biometric security in your school?
  • What advice have you received from your local authority?
  • Are you consulting parents? How?
  • Have you considered how you will handle any objections from parents?
  • Will the cost of investing in biometrics technology outweigh the benefits?

Post your comments here or on the Modern Governor group on the Learning Pool website.


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