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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September, 2003, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
Eye scan school opens doors
A pupil using the scanner
The system will be used for ordering school dinners
A 14m Sunderland secondary school opens its doors to pupils on Wednesday, after a delay of a week and a half.

The Venerable Bede Church of England school should have opened on 8 September but building works also overshot a second opening date last Friday.

Staff and governors at the so-called "super school" have said that the best is worth waiting for with a building and facilities fit for the 21st century.

But the schools 370 pupils have to wait for the school's high-tech restaurant, complete with iris scanners to charge for meals, to be finished.

Other hi-tech equipment at the school includes interactive whiteboards.

'Trailblazing' technology

David Meakin, chair of the school governors, said: "[For 14m] you get a school for the future which is going to provide the best possible education for the young people of this area."

"I think we are blazing a trail in terms of technology. Some of the equipment going in, we are either the first or second school in the world to have it installed.

"The educational benefits of what we are seeking to do will be recognised in time by a lot of people and they will seek to follow our lead."

Mr Meakin said their highly-publicised eye scanners would help pupils.

He added: "It is not big brother, it is not a security system, it is simply a way of recognising people and processing them quickly and to pay for school meals.

"It has the added advantage of ensuring that those who are on free school meals will appear no different to everyone else and does away with one of the stigmas that a lot of pupils have felt."

Eye scanners for school children
08 Jan 03  |  England

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