Monday, June 19, 2006

Fingerprint scanners keep tabs on reading habits at a primary school

PUPILS at a West Yorkshire primary school can now be monitored for their choice of reading material after the launch of a new hi-tech library that scans children's thumb prints to identify them.

The £15,000 Fairbrother Library, at Clayton CE Primary School, Bradford, identifies pupils after they give a photographic image of their left and right thumbs, which are scanned when they take out books.

Headteacher Mike Joyce said he hoped the new technology would inspire the children to read more in a time when schooling standards are coming under increased scrutiny.
He said: "It is great because we will be able to know if a child has taken a book out and we will be able to build up a reading record for a child's seven years at our school. An English teacher will be able to see if a child is reading nothing but Enid Blyton books. There is nothing wrong with Enid Blyton but we would hope a child would read a wider range of authors."

Mr Joyce added: "When the reorganisation of schools was carried out in Bradford nobody thought about libraries and ours was in our hall and apart from two lessons a day you couldn't access it – it was a dreadful waste of resources."

The new library is housed in an old classroom.

It was opened by Judith and Steve Fairbrother – and the school named the library after them in thanks for their decade's service to the school.

It has been built with £3,000 from the school budget and £12,000 raised by the school's parents, teachers and friends association, run by Judith Fairbrother.
Mr Joyce said: "I don't know what the PTFA would be without Judith and Steve has been a governor for six years. They no longer have children here but they still give a tremendous amount to the school."

The library will keep a database of its books and children will be able to write their own online book reviews.


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