A WORCESTER school is planning to fingerprint all its pupils.

Nunnery Wood High School is looking to trial a system using pupils’ thumbprints to improve signing in and out, and ultimately create a cashless canteen.

The pupils would scan their thumbs across a machine kept at reception if they needed to enter or leave school outside of normal registration times.

Eventually, similar technology would be used in the canteen to record what each child has bought, with the cost deducted from an account topped up by parents.

The thumbprints would not be stored because the image would be immediately converted into a unique string of digits.

The school insists the system is 100 per cent safe.

However, Angie Wilkes, whose 16-year-old son Alexander is a pupil at the school, said she was unhappy with the plans.

“As someone who has taken great interest in the uses and abuses of biometric data in the past, I find the plan unacceptable, even nonsensical,” she said.

Mrs Wilkes, of Hornsby Avenue, Warndon Villages, said she had carried out online research into the safety of biometric data and was disturbed by how easy it was to hack into such systems and the number of times such data is lost by official organisations.

“Biometric data, when included on UK passports, was hacked within two weeks by Lukas Grunwald, a consultant with a German security company, using a piece of software costing £105,” she said.

The school was due to start collecting data from those in years seven, nine and 11 on Monday. However, this has now been delayed to allow for further consultation with parents.

Headteacher Alun Williams said the school had taken advice from government agency Becta, and had carried out rigorous research.

“The thumbprints are converted into a string of digits, which can never be used to then recreate that thumbprint,” he said. “The numbers would be completely useless to a hacker and could never be used to identify a pupil.”

He said that the system was already in place in some schools in the north of the county.

“I want to stress that this is only a trial at the moment,” he said. “It is likely to be about 12 months before anything is properly up and running and we will do plenty of consulting with parents in that time. Of course, we will fully respect the wishes of any parent who does not wish for their child to be involved.”

Mr Williams said that all details would be wiped once a pupil leaves the school.

Councillor Liz Eyre, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “It’s right that schools investigate the merits of using new technologies to manage themselves, and that if biometrics help with security and attendance in the first instance, then more power to them.”

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