Education Roundup: Biometrics and web for schools

Becta publishes biometric guidance


a report offering guidance

It advises schools to involve parents before they use such systems for lunch payments, taking attendance or checking out books from the library.

Schools Minister Jim Knight said: "Schools are well used to handling sensitive information like attendance registers, behaviour records and home addresses. But we are absolutely clear that they have to comply with data protection laws. That means that this data can only be used for its stated purpose; cannot be shared with third parties beyond this stated purpose; and it must be destroyed when a pupil leaves their school."

But Conservative Shadow Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "This is long awaited but very disappointing guidance. It is very weak as it neither requires schools to seek parental consent nor recognises the serious issues at stake with schools fingerprinting children simply for administrative convenience. The Government needs to look more carefully at the fundamental principles these issues raise."

Universities move to electronic procurement


The schools are part of the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC), which uses EGS to support collaborative buying between schools. The SUPC is looking to have 30 institutions signed up to Parabilis by 2012.

Susan Wright, regional purchasing co-ordinator for the SUPC, said: "The Consortium's members have a combined non-paid spend that exceeds 1 billion per year, and the Higher Education Sector spend exceeds 3 billion per annum. The potential for what we can do through Parabilis is huge."

University of Central Lancashire personalises website

University of Central Lancashire


Michael Ahern, the university's director of information systems, said: "UCLan has significant ambitions in terms of web services, and we are using RedDot to redefine the way in which we utilise the web to communicate with our stakeholders. Using RedDot, we will be able to deliver a highly personalised and targeted experience that meets the needs of each and every individual person visiting our site. RedDot is also bringing significant business and technical expertise to the project, which would otherwise not have been available to us."