Moves to destroy personal information on pupils

EDUCATION bosses are writing to every school across North Somerset asking teachers to review what personal data they hold about students

EDUCATION bosses are writing to every school across North Somerset asking teachers to review what personal data they hold about students.The move follows a row about the use of a system at Yatton Junior School where children's thumbprints are stored when students join the library.The high-tech Alice System means a scan of each child's thumb is taken and converted into a coded number.Each time the child uses the library they just put their thumb on the pad which brings up their own unique number.This number is then used to record which child has borrowed which book.The row about the use of the system broke out when Councillor Peter Burden raised concerns about data being taken from young children and stored for use in the future.Now North Somerset Council executive member for children and young people's services Councillor Peter Kehoe has asked for all 78 schools across the district to be written to regarding the issue of storing children's data.Councillor Kehoe said: "The council was aware that Yatton Juniors had installed a security system in its library and had requested the permission of all parents to do so."We are writing to all the schools asking them to check what data they hold on students and ensure it is for educational health purposes only and that they have the permission of the parents."The Alice System used at Yatton has been hailed as a massive success by the school's headteacher David Powell.Mr Powell said: "From our point of view this system makes operating the library very easy."It stops the students having to carry library cards, which often get lost."We have 8,000 books in the library and this allows us to manage our stock more efficiently."We can also use the data to assess what the children's favourite books and authors are."All our parents are very happy with the system and when we put it in we sent out an explanation of what we were doing."The system is covered by the data protection act and as soon as the child leaves the school, the thumbprint is destroyed.


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