Biometric system in Swalecliffe Community Primary School

The request was partially successful.

Dear Swalecliffe Community Primary School,

Under the Freedom of Information Act please could you supply the following information within 20 working days.

As per the article http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/School-swaps...

1) In the above article it is quoted that the biometric system would “save the school essential funds”. Please advise:
i)how this would save the school essential funds.
ii)the amount of funds estimated to be saved per year.
iii)the cost benefit analysis done showing savings to the school.

2) Please advise the cost of the biometric system.

3) Please advise any ongoing licensing or maintenance costs.

4) Please supply the documents sent to parents for meetings and letters sent about the biometric system, including letters sent regarding parental consent.

5) Please show how the school communicated to the students that they had a right to refuse to use the biometric system.

6) Please advise what the “right information” was given by the school to parents who had concerns about the system.

7) How many parents consented to their children’s biometrics to be processed by the school?

8) How many parents refused for their children to use the biometric system?

9) How many consent forms were not filled in by parents?

10) How many children refused to participate with the biometric system?

Some parts of this request may be easier to answer than others, and in such case please could you release available data as soon as possible rather than delay the entire request.

If you are not fully certain of what it is I am asking then I look forward to contact from you as soon as possible to clarify what it is I am requesting in order for the college to meet its obligations under the law.

If the costs of processing this request exceed the limit in the Act, please advise on what information you are able to supply within the cost limit.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

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The following message to <[Swalecliffe Community Primary School request email]> was undeliverable.
The reason for the problem:
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Dear Swalecliffe Community Primary School,

Under the Freedom of Information Act please could you supply the following information within 20 working days.

As per the article "School swaps ditches dinner money woes for hi-tech solution" date December 19th 2013 on the 'thisiskent.co.uk' website:

1) In the above article it is quoted that the biometric system would “save the school essential funds”. Please advise:
i)how this would save the school essential funds.
ii)the amount of funds estimated to be saved per year.
iii)the cost benefit analysis done showing savings to the school.

2) Please advise the cost of the biometric system.

3) Please advise any ongoing licensing or maintenance costs.

4) Please supply the documents sent to parents for meetings and letters sent about the biometric system, including letters sent regarding parental consent.

5) Please show how the school communicated to the students that they had a right to refuse to use the biometric system.

6) Please advise what the “right information” was given by the school to parents who had concerns about the system.

7) How many parents consented to their children’s biometrics to be processed by the school?

8) How many parents refused for their children to use the biometric system?

9) How many consent forms were not filled in by parents?

10) How many children refused to participate with the biometric system?

Some parts of this request may be easier to answer than others, and in such case please could you release available data as soon as possible rather than delay the entire request.

If you are not fully certain of what it is I am asking then I look forward to contact from you as soon as possible to clarify what it is I am requesting in order for the college to meet its obligations under the law.

If the costs of processing this request exceed the limit in the Act, please advise on what information you are able to supply within the cost limit.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

Dear Swalecliffe Community Primary School,

Please could you confirm receipt of this Freedom of Information request.

Given that an extension of an extra 5 working days, for the past week of half term, is given to educational establishments for holidays I look forward to a reply to my request by Friday 28th Frebruary.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

Caroline COPLEY, Swalecliffe Community Primary School

Dear Ms King

We have not received any Freedom of Information Request from you.

Yours sincerely

Caroline Copley
Office Manager/PA

Swalecliffe C P School
Bridgefield Road
Tankerton
Whitstable
Kent
CT5 2PH

Tel: 01227 272101

________________________________________
From: Pippa King <[FOI #194510 email]>
Sent: 22 February 2014 11:40
To: Caroline COPLEY
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information request - Biometric system in Swalecliffe Community Primary School

Dear Swalecliffe Community Primary School,

Please could you confirm receipt of this Freedom of Information request.

Given that an extension of an extra 5 working days, for the past week of half term, is given to educational establishments for holidays I look forward to a reply to my request by Friday 28th Frebruary.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa King

show quoted sections

Dear Caroline Copley,

Thank you for your email. How strange that you did not receive my request. Swalecliffe rejected my initial request made on 24th January which I re-sent again on the same day, after having communicated to the Whatdotheyknow team who suggested I send the request again without the link to the Thisiskent article. I re-sent the request and no communication back from Swalecliffe suggested that you had not received the request successfully.

You obviously received my prior communication from last week of the 22nd February, sent from the same source that you have now replied to me via Whatdotheyknow.com.

I shall check with Whatdotheyknow team to see if they had any record of my request not being sent to you to on the 24th January for them to investigate. I am sure the Whatdotheyknow will be eager to rectify any problems.

I shall also send this to your school email as detailed on your website http://www.swalecliffeprimary.org/contac... via my personal address.

However in the meantime please see my Freedom of Information request here:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

I would respectfully ask that any that any response to this request comes back via Whatdotheyknow website and my personal email address to avoid any other communication issues that may cause delay.

Given that we have had this communication issue please could you confirm by return, to both this contact at Whatdotheyknow and my personal email that you are now receiving communication with me on this.

I look forward to hearing from you accordingly.

Yours sincerely,

Pippa King

Pippa King left an annotation ()

WhatDoTheyKnow team contacted 24th February 2014 to resolve the communication issue.

Headteacher, Swalecliffe Community Primary School

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    Parent Correspondence.zip

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1) In the above article it is quoted that the biometric system
 would “save the school essential funds”. Please advise:


i) how this would save the school essential funds

As a school we are responsible for any debt accrued by parents not paying for the meals their children have. This is part of any school’s meals contract.
In addition we require an admin assistant to manage the monies coming into school, sending the debt letters, checking the registers and then making phone calls to parents who still haven’t paid their debt. In total this amounts to approximately 15 hours per week of school admin time. This does include the time of the contractor’s cash collector which obviously impacts on the meal prices.

ii) the amount of funds estimated to be saved per year.


Admin costs: £7,098 per annum
Debt costs: £1,200 per year on average each year since 2009 (although these costs have been increasing with a debt of £1,300 from September 2013 – December 2014)

iii) the cost benefit analysis done showing savings to the school.



As above

2) Please advise the cost of the biometric system

The details of this are not transparent to the school because the system is being provided by the school caterers with no costs incurred by the school

3) Please advise any ongoing licensing or maintenance costs

There are no specific costs linked to the biometric system and cashless catering for schools. However as the software is now in school we have decided to upgraded our registration system, combining the two together to make morning registration more efficient and ensure even greater health and safety and safeguarding procedures within the school. This has cost the school £480 per annum but will also save us £48 per annum as we wont be using other software we currently purchase.

4) Please supply the documents sent to parents for meetings and
letters sent about the biometric system, including letters sent 
regarding parental consent.

Please find attached

5) Please show how the school communicated to the students that 
they had a right to refuse to use the biometric system.

The system was shared and talked about in an assembly and by the class teachers as part of our e safety and ICT day in school. The children were asked to talk about it at home and decide with their parents what was right for them. During the actual process of registering for biometrics the staff were very careful to ensure that if any child was worried or anxious that they stopped and spoke to the parents before taking the reading. This only occurred with one child who has a specific learning difficulty and Asperger’s Syndrome. The children were very excited about the process.

6) Please advise what the “right information” was given by the
 school to parents who had concerns about the system

Please see the documents sent to parents. Following our information sessions and our drop ins we collated the most frequently asked questions and shared them with the whole parent body.

7) How many parents consented to their children’s biometrics to be
processed by the school?



There are 649 children on roll.
578 children are able to use the system
535 have permission for biometrics (82% of the children)

8) How many parents refused for their children to use the biometric 
system?



13 families have refused to allow their children to use the system
However 11 of these do not use the catering facility and their children do not have school meals.
Only 3 of these families attended the consultations evening, the information evening or the drop in sessions.

9) How many consent forms were not filled in by parents?



41 have not completed any forms but all of these are families who do not have school meals

10) How many children refused to participate with the biometric 
system?

We had one child who was distressed by the process but they have a specific learning need and anything unusual is challenging for them. We also had one family who communicated that they were discussing the options with their child and would like their child’s opinions to be seriously considered in their decisions.

Dear Headteacher,

Please could you resend the documents in the zip file in another format as I am unable to read them, Adobe are telling me the files are corrupted.

Many thanks,

Pippa King

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