Daily Mail | Mar 8, 2007
When you really begin to understand it, you will know that this is merely organized crime intruding on you, exploiting and shaking you and your children down. If you don’t get it, then all I can say is enjoy your servitude under your loving Big Brother slave-masters.
Head teachers will today sound a warning over the growing mass of “intrusive” information held about pupils on school databases. They are now expected to collect detailed particulars ranging from heights and weights to family set-ups, religion, medical information and school travel arrangements.
They are often required to pass on the information to councils, quangos or central Government.
Head teachers’ leader Malcolm Trobe will today urge schools to boycott “unreasonable” requests for information from education bureaucrats.
He says the data demands are tying up schools in red tape while also giving parents cause for concern over Big Brother-style intrusion.
Primary schools are required to check the height and weight of youngsters when aged five and 11, while most schools – primary and secondary – have to keep records of how pupils travel to school.
Up to 3,500 schools are taking fingerprints from pupils – often without their parents’ permission.
The Mail revealed last month how more and more schools require pupils to undergo biometric identity checks before they can register in the mornings, buy canteen meals and use the library.
In a further development, ministers want to link separate databases to create a massive index accessible by thousands of civil servants including teachers, doctors and social workers.
In a keynote speech in London today, Mr Trobe, president of the Association of School and College Leaders, will accuse the Government of continually increasing the amount of information schools have to collect.
He will urge fellow heads to “say no” to demands for information that replicate other requests from different departments or organisations.
Yesterday Mr Trobe, head of Malmesbury School in Wiltshire, said: “We are being asked for information we don’t see as necessary for them to have. The information being held is now becoming quite significant.
“My children are grown up now, but I might have been irritated if some Big Brother was looking at their heights and weights as they were growing up. The implication is you are not caring for them properly as a parent. It is a bit nanny state-ish.
“Schools are also being asked to identify sibling relationships, most likely for admissions purposes, but it is difficult for us to keep track where you have got split families.”
He said that if schools try to keep track of children who move between parents or partners, some might find it intrusive.
As well as basic address and contact details, schools also hold information on pupils’ medical conditions, as well as dietary requirements and ethnic background.
Pat Wilkinson, Malmesbury School’s data manager, said much of the information – such as contact numbers and medical conditions – was crucial.
But she added: “Some of the data in there I don’t understand why they need – children’s religion for example.”