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Fingerpint access for Essex special needs school.

UK Biometrics International : 05 November, 2007  (Application Story)
Biometric fingerprint access control at special needs school ensures that only known guests, staff and students are allowed access whilst eliminating the need for controlling keys or changing codes.
A Clacton-On-Sea special needs school is believed to have become the first in the UK to be protected by a high tech fingerprint entry and exit system.

Straight from the script of a science fiction movie, Shorefields School has installed the biometric device at its main entrance, giving its 107 pupils unparalleled security and their parents and carers complete peace of mind.

Replacing an out-dated and problematic key fob entry system, the new computerised system, developed by UK Biometrics, features a fully-encrypted database of the 100-or-so people who are authorised access to the school on Holland Road.

Headteacher Jo Hodges said: "We had it installed because we've always placed school security high up the agenda and the old key fob system wasn't 100 per cent reliable, partly because people would lose their fobs or they would break.

"A keypad we also used to have at the door was also unreliable because some children managed to learn the code and changing it used to cause chaos".

"It was decided that having a fingerprint scanner installed would guarantee people inside were genuinely known to the school, and that is very important when it comes to security and safety because people always have their fingerprints with them."

The addition of the ground-breaking technology has stirred the interest of other head teachers in the area, who Mrs Hodges says are also considering the benefits of having it installed at their own schools.

She added: "Because this is a special school catering for children with severe and profound learning difficulties many people help our children get to and from school.
"However we have one young man who gets himself here, which is rare for a school of this kind, so we have registered his fingerprint because it's a valuable learning experience for him and acknowledges that he has certain independence."

UK Biometrics also uses retina scanning and facial recognition software in its other products, which are critically acclaimed throughout the industry.

UK Biometrics Operations Director Shaun Oakes, said: "One of the great features of our systems is that no actual fingerprints are stored. After a print is scanned - which takes just a few seconds - only key features are recorded. This allays any fears people may have about identity theft and makes the systems as secure as they can possibly be."

He added: "We're extremely proud that Shorefields School has decided to use one of our systems because it acknowledges that more and more organisations are beginning to see that if they want guaranteed security, fingerprint technology is a huge advance on existing systems."

Shorefields School, which caters for children and young adults aged between three and 19, is now looking at the possibility of installing further scanners inside the building, offering limited access to specific rooms and areas.

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