Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Banish those 'getting bullied out of your dinner money' school blues forever !

OK: I'm freaked. I'm not normally too paranoid about personal anonymity stuff, but now I'm freaked.

I'm a school governor. We're building a new school - it's part of the Blairite Building Schools Eventually, sorry, Building Schools for the Future, programme. There's a lot I could write about the glories and inequities of this massive but madcap PFI scheme but that's not my purpose now.

No: I want to talk about school dinners, and not in a Jamie Oliver sense either. The kids pay for their food with a plastic card at the moment - it's suppose to stop them getting bullied out of their money but it's not 100% effective as, after all, you can make someone spend their money on you whether its cash or on a card. It also saves the school quite a lot of faffing about as it means we have totally cashless catering.

But we have another option for the new building: biometric cashless catering when the plastic cards would be replaced by fingerprints or even, I suppose, retina scans. The Head declined this cutting edge proposal I'm rather glad to say. But I wonder how many schools out there are quietly building up a data base of the next generation's biometric data - and I wonder how long before that data escapes into the either.

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