A SCHOOL has moved to reassure parents about a new fingerprint payment system.

Pupils at Little Lever School will have a finger scanned every time they buy school meals or take out library books.

But some parents complained they had not been consulted about the system, which will replace the school's current swipe card system in September, and fear the data could fall into the wrong hands.

Lee More was one of several parents to raise concerns about the scheme, after receiving a letter from the school about its plans.

The 34-year-old has a daughter, Emily, aged 12, at the Church Street school and plans to send nine-year-old Jacon there as well.

Mr More, of Lincoln Avenue, Little Lever, said: "They haven't consulted parents and have just taken the decision without asking anyone what they think.

"With all the recent problems of important data being lost I have concerns that data from the system could fall into the wrong hands and be used in some way.

"Your fingerprint is not something you can change."

There have been several incidents of electronically stored data being lost in recent months. In March, a disk containing the personal details of 370,000 HSBC bank customers was lost by a courier, while HM Revenue and Customs lost the details of 25 million child benefit claimants and the DVLA mislaid data on learner drivers.

However, the school insists parents have been consulted and the system is safe. Copies of fingerprints are not stored but they are converted to a code to identify the pupil.

A statement on the school website says: "The new biometrics system will identify pupils through scanning their finger, and will only hold data to validate a pupil's identity. No other information will be held on this new system."

It also says a dual system using fingerprints and swipe cards so that pupils have a choice of what they use.

David Hutchinson, deputy head at the school, said: "Parents have been consulted. We sent a letter to all parents pointing out the pros and cons.

"Biometric technology is used all over the country in schools. No fingerprints can be made' from the data, you couldn't do it, it's just codes.

"We follow the Data Protection Act to the letter."