According to the Sun yesterday, the battle to stop schools taking children’s fingerprints without parental consent was all but over. This was certainly news to us here at ARCH – and to everyone else working on this – in fact the first we heard of it was when the BBC rang me asking for a comment, so out of the window went my spiffing plan to finish a briefing that’s been hanging around for weeks, as I tried to find out what on earth was going on.
It seems that the Sun had picked up on some pre-Christmas news that the government is revising its guidelines on data in schools to include biometrics.
True, the fact that government is acknowledging the existence of a problem is a step forward, but ‘victory’ is rather over-egging it. We have been receiving complaints on a regular basis for more than 4 years and it’s pretty clear that a great many children and parents are very distressed about the whole thing.
It’s simply not good enough to issue ‘guidelines’ to schools without any parliamentary debate or public consultation. So, the champagne is still at the back of the fridge, keeping company with a lonely sprout or two, and it’s business as usual.