Biometric Lunch Cards

Type: Letter Home
Author: Russell Heritage
Year of Publishing: 2016

As you are aware the Academy currently operates a card system for our lunch arrangements. All students have a dinner card on which they have to credit money. Students who access Free Schools Meals have a card that is already credited with funds in order to access lunch.

The current system does present a number of issues if students lose cards and therefore there is a delay in being able to purchase food. We wish to move to a biometric system and I have enclosed information explaining how the system works for your information.

I feel it would be in the best interests of the Academy to move to a system that allows a student’s ‘finger image’ to be used to purchase food rather than what has become an out dated card system. However in order to do this we need your permission for finger images to be stored on the Academy’s system.

I would be grateful if you could consider the information provided and return the reply slip attached by Friday 18th March 2016 at the latest.

This slip can be placed in a box that will be on Reception counter. It is important that all students who currently access food from the dining room or who may wish to access food in the future give authorisation to store a finger image.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the Academy.

Yours sincerely


Russell Heritage

Executive Headteacher

What Are Biometrics?

Biometrics authentication is the automatic recognition of a living being using suitable body characteristics. By measuring an individual's physical features in an authentication inquiry and comparing this data with stored biometric reference data, the identity of a specific user is determined. There are many different biometric features that can be used for authentication purposes these include finger image, signature, iris, retina, DNA or any other unique characteristic. Once a characteristic has been chosen the next stage in the Biometric process is authentication. A biometric feature is saved on to a database. Once the data has been stored, a new scanning of the biometric feature is taken. If the comparison is positive, access to the appropriate application is granted.

The history of biometrics

Once the domain of the local constabulary, biometric technology is now being used at many locations around the country. Banks, supermarkets and now even schools and colleges are adopting this increasingly popular technology. Biometrics are not new, their roots have been traced back to ancient Egyptian times. The use of finger images as a security device started with Chinese officials using them to seal documents in the second century BC. Over the last few years the technology has begun to find favour commercially. Whilst the use of Biometrics has been steadily growing over the last ten years, the past couple of years have seen an explosion in development, interest and vendor involvement.

Biometrics and Security

Students, parents and staff can rest assured that the fingerprint images cannot be used by any other source for identification purposes. The system uses an image of the finger to create a mathematical algorithm and then discards the finger image; only the numbers remain and these cannot be reinterpreted back into a finger image.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you need to take my child’s finger image?

By taking an image of your child’s finger we can turn this information into a digital signature.

Can finger images be used by any other agency?

No, the software we use turns your child’s finger image in to a mathematical algorithm. The image of the finger is then discarded. The information that is stored cannot be used to recreate an image of the child’s finger.

What happens when my child leaves the School?

When a student leaves school all data can be deleted very easily.

How does it work?

When the child places his/her finger on the scanner, the software matches their finger image with the unique digital signature held in the database.

A printable copy of this letter, including the permission slip can be obtained by clicking 'download' at the top of the page.

Year Group: