October 19, 2012 -
Helston Community College in Cornwall will begin to use a fingerprint-based cashless payment system for its cafeteria and food services.
The UK school will use the “Trust-e Cashless Catering System” provided by Nationwide Retail Systems Ltd. The system is designed to reduce queues at lunch time, provide anonymous free school meals to pupils and allow lunch money to be pre-paid.
According to Nationwide Retail Systems, the Trust-e Cashless System allows school councils to centrally maintain their system and automatically collect data for any number of schools within their borough.
Menus, products, prices and till layouts can now be centrally controlled leaving the catering team at the school to concentrate on the preparation of school meals. Also being collected from each of the schools is the full transaction history allowing the council to report on meal uptake, free school meals and product sales.
Alongside pupil and nutritional data, the system enables demographic and geographic reporting of student eating habits by postal code area, gender, religion and ethnicity.
As reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, parents who have privacy concerns are able to have their children opt-out of the system according to new guidelines for English schools, and pupils can be provided with another identification method such as a four-digit PIN code.
School officials however did attempt to reassure parents that children’s actual fingerprints would be not be recorded by the system, but instead the biometric identifier would be recorded as an algorithm.