If your face fits

14 September 2010, 15:56 | Updated: 14 September 2010, 16:26

Sixth formers at Sir Christopher Hatton school are now being monitored by the kind of technology normally seen in sci-fi films.

The camera system has been up and running since the start of the new school year and is designed to replace what used to be a fairly complicated registration process for the students.

Teachers were keen to know where the sixth formers were once their lessons had finished with many having study periods and some spending time off-campus.

As a result, the new infra-red scanner system has been installed at a cost of around £9,000 with a yearly maintenance fee.  Officials at the school say it will save them money in terms of reduced admin costs and expect the system to have effectively paid for itself within three years.

The school is the only one in Northamptonshire, and one of just 11 nationwide, to have the technology.  Sixth formers use it to sign in at the main reception or their sixth form block.

The school's business manager Colin Hind told Heart: "It uses an infra-red camera to take the image which is matched up against the school database.  They can then present their face to the machine and input their own unique pin code which allows them to then select a variety of options as to why they're leaving the school site."

He added: "The fear of technology tends to be with the parents - the students have embraced this technology from day one they think it's a marevellous idea.  It gives them the freedom to move round the school safely and gives us the opportunity to know where they are at all times."

In case students are tempted to try and fool the system, there's a warning from the head of sixth form Kelly Foster: "You can't cheat.  The camera is so sensitive that it can even detect the difference between identical twins as it goes on the exact measurements of the face.  So even if students give each other their uniques pin codes the camera can spot them trying to fool the system and we get emailed a report of whiich students are pretending to be each other.  They've had some fun trying to get past it, but they know now it doesn't work!"