Nursery installs fingerprint scanner at door

Published 19 February 2008

Fingerprinting students in school is controversial, and many parents object to it; less controversial is installing fingerprint scanners at nurseries’ doors, to make sure that only parents and authorized personnel are allowed in

A growing, if controversial, trend: A nursery has installed fingerprint scanning at its entrance to increase the safety of its young pupils. The biometric security system at Mes Enfants nursery in Mumbles, Swansea, allows only authorized parents and staff to access the building. When registered people swipe their finger, their details also flash up on a computer so staff know who is there. Nursery owner Rebecca Treharne said the aim was to give parents and staff added confidence.

The nursery has been running for five-and-a-half years and has 100 children on its books, aged from four months to four-and-a-half years old. It believes it could be the first nursery in Wales to adopt such a system for staff and parents. Treharne said: “I like the nursery to be quite forward thinking and modern in approach. I think this is the way forward. Parents are automatically conscious of security, happiness and wellbeing. In nursery this has to be a priority. Security has to be on top of the list.”

Feedback from parents had been positive, said Treharne, and the new system — which also has video and audio — was better than the buzzer and intercom they previously had. It also eased the workload on staff, she added, as they did not have to leave children to open the front door so can spend more time supervising their pupils. The system was installed by Newcastle-based UK Biometrics which also uses iris recognition and facial patterns in its security products. The scanner registers a fingerprint in seconds and then stores an encrypted version for future comparison, protecting the identity of authorised users. UK Biometrics director Ryan Hole said: “By fitting a biometric access system they now have the one key that cannot be lost, stolen, forged or hacked - the human fingerprint”.