The Department is currently consulting the Office of the Information Commissioner and the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) about what additional guidance it will be helpful to publish on the use of biometric technologies in schools.
Biometric information about pupils should be handled in the same way as other personal data about pupils and is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Under that Act schools are not necessarily obliged to seek the consent of parents about the use of biometric data, though it is for the school to ensure it is acting in compliance with the Act. However, under the terms of the Act schools should provide notification of their use of data to individuals involved.
[holding answer 22 January 2007]: The officials held preliminary meetings with the Office of the Information Commissioner on 6 November 2006 and with the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) on 16 November 2006. Discussions are continuing to clarify what additional guidance it will be necessary to issue to schools on the use of biometric technologies. Further meetings will be held as appropriate to achieve this.