Schoolchildren tagged with chips

Schoolchildren tagged with chips

Civil liberty campaigners outraged at school's RFID trial

A monitoring system which tags secondary school children by embedding a radio frequency identification chip in their school uniforms is under way in Hungerhill School in Doncaster.

Ten pupils have had a memory microchip discreetly embedded into their school badge identifying them the moment they step into the classroom, according to the Doncaster Free Press.

"The school is trialling the project and carrying out a variety of tests to measure compatibility with a range of school information management systems," said Hungerhill head teacher Graham Wakeling.

The tagging system has been on trial since February and provides immediate registration of the children as they enter the classroom, helping teachers and support staff as they as they familiarise themselves with new students.

Pupils are linked directly to the curriculum they are following and to assessment data stored on the school's information management system.

Trevor Darnborough, the microchip's inventor, said that his product is the subject of a patent application and that, following a successful trial at Hungerhill, he will look to make inroads into the £300m market for school clothing.

"We believe that the system will work equally well in corporate and commercial situations, and we are now seeking backing to help us attack a huge potential market," he said.

But the trial has drawn criticism from civil liberty campaigners who argue that such schemes should apply to criminals rather than schoolchildren.

"To put this in a school badge is complete and utter surveillance of the children," said David Clouter, a parent and founder of the Leave Them Kids Alone organisation.

"Tagging is what we do to criminals we let out of prison early. With pupils being fingerprinted, and now this [tagging system] it seems we are treating children in a way that we have traditionally treated criminals."