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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 05:45 GMT
School trials fingertip clock-in
A secondary school is testing a new fingertip-recognition registration system for pupils.

Impington Village College, near Cambridge, is thought to be the first state school in the UK to use the scheme.

Staff say the technology - supplied free for the trial - should help them tackle truancy and make children safer.

Cambridgeshire County Council is monitoring the trial and the system could be introduced in other schools.

Message to parents

Instead of answering names in a traditional classroom roll call, pupils scan their fingertips into a computer.

Class teachers watch children arrive and check that each fingertip scan has been logged.

If a pupil fails to register, repeated email and text messages are automatically sent to the parents' computers and mobile phones.

Staff and children at the school, which has 1,300 pupils, have had their fingertips scanned into a database.

Combat truancy

An education authority spokesman said: "The scheme should help the school combat truancy more effectively and improve children's safety."

The system will also be used to introduce a cashless-catering system to help remove the stigma of free school meals and to prevent students from having to carry money, which in turn reduces bullying, he added.

The authority hopes the system can also be used for verifying the identity of examination candidates and checking head-counts on school trips.

The computerised system will be monitored over the next few weeks.

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