The system requires pupils to press a finger against a machine which converts the print into biometric data.
This can then be used to identify individual pupils accounts.
Headteacher Stephen Dunster wrote to parents, “We are aiming to have a cashless system throughout the school. The catering system is better for parents because they don’t have to provide children with lunch money every morning. From our perspective it is far more efficient as it reduces waiting times.
“We will also be able to monitor what children are buying to make sure they are eating a healthy diet.”
Some American schools have attempted to implement palm scanners for similar purposes, but were met with parent anger or technological problems.
Washington’s Puyallup School District spent $38,695 on devices that would map the veins in a student’s palm, and then use that data as a school lunch account identifier.
District employees claimed “human error and fraud” necessitated the palm scanners.
“If the school district needs my signature in order to obtain my daughter’s photograph and use that photograph in publication because of a privacy issue, then I believe I should have to sign an authorization to use my child’s identity … for them to do that,” said parent Christina Allen, EAGnews reported.
“To hear those words vein recognition program… it’s very invasive to me,” she said.
The district ended up ending the program because of parent backlash.
“We failed at communication significantly on this,” said board president Chris Ihrig. “We got an ‘F’ on this one.”
Last year, a group of New York engineers announced the development of a “biometric classroom.”
According to developers at SensorStar Labs, cameras that track students’ eye movements, conversations and even smiles will supposedly help teachers improve classroom learning.