School scanner watches pupils' diets

THE latest fingerprint scanners are being introduced at a new state-of-the-art school restaurant. From September

THE latest fingerprint scanners are being introduced at a new state-of-the-art school restaurant.From September, the new system at the £1.6million restaurant at Worle Community School means pupils will no longer use cash to pay for meals at the till, but will have their fingers scanned instead.School meals will be pre-paid by cheque and to buy food students will use the cashless payment system (CPS) by scanning their finger at the tills at the same time as an operator keys in their meal items.The cost of the food is then deducted from their account in a process that should take around five seconds to complete.The fingerprint payment system is the first to be introduced at a school canteen in North Somerset.According to manufacturers of the scanners, the new system can also be used to provide reports for parents showing which foods their children have been buying, set spending limits on accounts and improve pupils' diets by limiting them to selected food categories. However, school governor David Wright says there are no current plans to use these extra facilities.Headteacher, Trevor Bailey, is hoping the CPS will have a positive effect when it is introduced later in the year. He also hopes it will reduce queues and speed up service as well as reducing the possibility of children being bullied for their lunch money.A letter from Mr Bailey has been sent to parents informing them that all pupils' fingerprints will be scanned at the school from June 26-28. Students will also have a photo taken which will be displayed on the CPS operator's touch screen for added security when pupils are at the restaurant till.The school says the fingerprint details taken for the introduction of the CPS will be converted to a number code before the actual print is deleted from the database. It has also said that all information relating to students that have had their fingerprints taken will be destroyed when they leave the school.Pupils who are unable to pre-pay with a cheque will be able to use cash to credit their account at one of two machines in the school.The new healthy eating 'Jamie Oliver' style restaurant will be officially opened by the director of the Food Standards Agency, Pru Leith, on October 10.

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