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The front entrance to Ivywild school.

Biometrics and Schools

Biometrics in schools has for a while now been a contentious issue, its detractors site privacy issues amongst other things, all very good arguments.

In 2012 the Department for Education (DfE) ruled that schools must obtain parental permission before taking fingerprints, iris and retina scans, and use face recognition. This we believe was paramount in regaining the trust of parents as to the use of biometrics. As with any nascent technology mistakes have been made and for some schools it may have taken a while to understand what its best use would be.
Safety and security in schools is undoubtedly paramount, and has been an emotive and contentious issue at times. Its importance is understood by all, the ways and means of achieving it, sometimes has not been so clear. However each school must have an effective security strategy.

If biometrics are used properly, they can be a non-disruptive security measure that can easily integrate into existing systems. They can help prevent loss, measure time and attendance for classes and exams, help with fire and heath and safety as well many other things. They are an accurate measure and woulkd replace the old pen and paper method, which can be fraught with inaccuracy.

We know that each school is different and each schools needs are different, we also understand the differences in perception of security by parents, head teachers, governors and other decision makers in schools. The aim is not to create a ‘one method for all’ system. Its important that as an industry we take a case by case look at how we can seamlessly integrate security tools and use them to help schools achieve their goals.

We recently consulted on security for a small secondary school, who wanted to control the flow of people into certain areas as there had been some issues. They also wanted to measure the flow of parents and other non-students and teachers into the school. We completed a site survey and outlined various measures that would help them and give them options, our report was presented before the governors and parents and together, they decided on their favoured method. Our role is continuous as we maintain, and support their system, as well as continually educate those who use the true identity data.

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