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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
School's fingerprint ID register
The fingerprint scanners have been installed outside classrooms
A south Wales school is giving trials to a fingerprint registration for pupils which could alert parents to absent children in seconds.

Bryntirion Comprehensive in Bridgend, is one of the first schools in the UK to try out the technology.

Children place their finger on a scanner, which reads their print and records their attendance on a computer.

It is hoped the system, which would replace the traditional reading of the register, could help prevent truancy.

It takes away a lot of the headache
Head teacher Alwyn Thomas
Pupils in the sixth form are acting as the guinea pigs in the trial.

If a child fails to register at the beginning of the day a text alert can be sent immediately to a parent's mobile phone - making it difficult for pupils to skip classes without someone knowing.

The information can also be sent to education welfare officers who can then use it to track down truants.

Head teacher Alwyn Thomas said the trial had gone well so far.

"It's a very efficient way of using school registration - from our point of view it takes away a lot of the headache," he said.

"It allows us with a piece of software that's been included with the package to alert parents if their children are not in school."

Many pupils at Bryntirion have found that fingerprint registration gives them more time when they arrive at school.

Sixth-former Emily Boobyer told BBC Wales Today: "It just means we can socialise a bit more in the morning. I think it's better - and so do most of the year group."

Roll call
Traditional roll calls could be finished for good

Fellow pupil Rhiannon Williams said she was not concerned that the school was keeping a record of her fingerprint.

She said: "It's not actually your fingerprint - it's a code of it. You can't actually turn it back into your fingerprint once it gets encoded."

Mr Thomas said he hoped to be able to introduce the scanners to all the class rooms by the end of the year.

"At the present moment it's only [used] with years 12 and 13, but within the next few months we intend to use it with the whole school," he said.

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25 May 05 |  UK Politics


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