Parents have say on use of biometric information


New rules will make it clear that schools will no longer be able to use pupils’ biometric data without parental consent. The advice comes into effect from September 2013.

Some schools and colleges use biometric technologies such as fingerprint identification and facial scanning. These may be used to record attendance, grant access to libraries and to process cashless payments. The benefits to schools include site safety and the speed and ease of access to services.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said children’s biometric data was sensitive personal information and parents must have the right to prevent its use by schools and colleges. Pupils also have the right to refuse to participate and these provisions are explained in the guidance.

Mr Gibb said: "We want schools to be in no doubt of their responsibilities when it comes to young people’s personal data.

"I have heard from many angry parents after they have learned that their children’s personal data was being used by schools without their knowledge. The new legislation gives the power back to parents, as it requires parental consent before the information can be collected.

"In the age of the internet, identity and the integrity of biometric data are of increasing importance. Young people need to understand from an early age the sensitivity of such personal data. The provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and the accompanying advice to schools will help to reinforce that message.”

The consultation is aimed at proprietors, governing bodies, head teachers, principals and staff.

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