Emailed to parents and carers of students in Years 7 to 10 on 18/06/24

 

Changes to Food Hall Payment System from 1st September 2024

 

At the academy, we use a cashless online payment system which enables parents and carers to pay for academy trips and resources as well as paying for their child’s food and drink in the food hall. To enable students to pay securely for the food and drink they buy in school, we are re-introducing biometrics authentication from 1st September 2024.

This coincides with the current catering team being employed directly by the Trust rather than Chartwells, who are nationwide contract caterers. There will be a brand-new menu on offer and the till system will be upgraded. Students and staff will need to use a fingerprint scanner at the till in order to pay for their food and drink. This is called biometrics authentication and is a quicker and more secure way of paying for food than a 4-digit PIN which students sometimes forget or which gets inadvertently shared with others.

Before the end of term, we will be collecting biometric data from students in Years 7 to 10 ready for the start of the new academic year on Wednesday 4 September. In order to do so, we need to collect parental consent in advance using our online MS Form below:

 

https://forms.office.com/e/BMD0ZEV8Fj

 

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.

We will only register and store student biometrics data with the explicit consent of their parent/carer. We would encourage all parents to provide consent, as this provides significant benefits to students, parents and the academy. For any students whose parents do not provide consent (or for students who refuse), we will provide a suitable alternative identification method.  We will follow the latest Department for Education Guidance in relation to data protection.

Consent for Biometrics

In order to be able to collect or use your child’s biometrics information, the written consent of at least one parent is required. However, consent given by one parent will be overridden if the other parent objects in writing, and similarly if your child objects, the school will not collect or use their biometric information.

You can also object to the processing of your child’s biometric information at a later stage or withdraw any consent you have previously given. This means that if you later change your mind, you can withdraw your consent. Please note that any consent, withdrawal or objection from a parent must be in writing. When your child leaves the academy, or if for some other reason they cease to use the biometric system, their biometric data will be securely deleted.

Even if you have consented, your child can object or refuse at any time to their biometric information being taken/used.  Their objection does not need to be in writing. We would appreciate it if you could discuss this with your child and explain to them that they can object to this if they wish.

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

 

The deadline for collecting parental consent is Friday 21 June to enable the new host providers to set-up the IT systems and make them ready for the start of term in September. If you have any queries, please email us on wes-office@attrust.org.uk.

 

Regards

Mrs M Woodhouse

Acting Principal

 

Academy vision: Westbourne is an inclusive academy. We support all students, regardless of starting point, to achieve their potential and develop the skills necessary for employment and life.
Academy values: Be Safe, Be Thoughtful, Be Accountable and Be Respectful.

General queries to: wes-office@attrust.org.uk or 01473 742315
Attendance or Absence queries to: 
wes-attendance@attrust.org.uk
Complaints to: wes-complaints@attrust.org.uk
Exam queries to: anna.fulcher@attrust.org.uk
School Money and data information queries to: wes-data@attrust.org.uk