A HIGH-TECH fingerprint recognition system has received the thumbs up at a high school.
Salendine Nook High School is the latest to install the technology which enables pupils to pay for their school dinners by scanning their thumb prints.
The system was set up in Shelley College around 18 months ago and at Holmfirth High School in September 2008.
Students scan their right thumb on machines in the hallway outside the canteen.
They can then insert cash or post a cheque from their parents to top up their credit.
Pupils who qualify for free school dinners will have their funds automatically topped up each day.
When a student pays for their meal they scan their thumb on a reader at the till and their face will appear on a monitor. Lunchtime staff can check it is the correct pupil.
Over the past four weeks the school has scanned the right thumbs of almost 1,400 pupils and 120 staff.
Students, whose parents have refused to let their children’s thumbs be scanned, have been issued with a number code to input instead.
It is hoped the new biometric system, which is expected to cost up to £30,000 over three years, will cut queuing times.
The school aims to make the system cashless to ensure all school dinner money is spent on school dinners rather than outside school.
Associate head teacher Andrew Foster said: “It’s very quick. You can go through as fast as you can serve the food.
“We’ve had pupils going off site. This way parents can be informed if they’ve eaten at school and we can link it to the healthy schools programme.
“It’s more hygienic as you don’t have to handle money and it’s more secure.
“We found before pupils, who were entitled to free school meals, weren’t taking their entitlement, maybe because they had to queue for it and it was stigmatised but now that’s paid automatically.”