back to article GPS, swipe cards to monitor Welsh school kids

Councils in North Wales are equipping school buses with GPS and swipe card technology to help monitor attendance and antisocial behaviour. A trial of the Star smart card scheme will be launched in May with the aim of improving the behaviour of pupils on schools' transport. Children will swipe a smart card as they get onto the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Not far enough

    Lets install GPS directly into the kids. Maybe include a electric zapper that would activate as soon as the came with in 10m of anyone or any place that has been demed unappropiate or unsafe by the cheepest company we can find.

  2. Toby Rose
    Black Helicopters

    Lost or impersonate?

    If a kid wanted to do naughty things then hey presto! Dennis the Menace or Minnie the Minx could swap swipe cards with Walter the Softy! Gnasher could distract Walter with ice-cream or something whilst Dennis does the exchange. Pie-Face or Curly could be involved too.

    Imagine the uproar when Teacher gives Walter the cane!!

  3. NogginTheNog
    Thumb Up


    Actually, i started this article expecting another Big Brother story, but to be honest this actually sounds like a fairly sensible use of technology. Child late home from school? Check where the bus is, and if they're on it. Child says they went to school but you don't believe them? Again, check the website.

  4. Pawel

    Doesn't solve the problem...

    Well, if some kid is violent enough to assault the driver, then surely he can also demand that card from classmates and not be identified? let's chip the children as we do with dogs... Or better yet, let's not have any, that'll stop the problem for good.

    All of those ridiciulous ideas come from the misconception that if you "name and shame" someone, then they won'd do anything bad again - which is false.

    Just get some big, strong and scary drivers and the kids will behave as angels. But I guess that won't be politically correct?

  5. Tom


    How much was spent on translating the interface in to Welsh? Anglesey (I think we are only supposed to use the Welsh name, Ynys Mon, now) and Gwynedd will insist on it being in Welsh.

  6. Ralph

    Re: Not far enough

    Good idea there, Mr. A. Coward. Perhaps it would lead to an improvement in attendance, and hence an improvement in literacy standards?

  7. Dennis

    Re: Not far enough

    "demed unappropiate"

    Don't forget all that pron on the Internet. Children should be kept away from computers. But 10m? Walk down any street, every house they pass .... zap ... zap ... zap, zap.

    And what fun for an S&M paedophile. Walk near any playgound .... zap, zap, zap ... zap ... zap, zap.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "a message using the system will end up back with the school within 12 hours"

    That'll help put a stop to it in a timely and effective manner! Unless, of course, the purpose is to make them behave by making them feel like they're constantly under scrutiny. It's no wonder psychologists have recently said that we're all stressed and anxious all the time; it's a natural reaction to being watched.

  9. Tom Chiverton

    If I was a bully...

    If I were a bully I'd steal a kids card and then either fail to swipe, or swipe but leave the kid behind tied to a tree...

  10. Wortel


    Parents need to do a better job at raising their kids, period. All the rest is treating the symptoms, not the cause.

  11. Greg





  12. Rob Crawford
    Black Helicopters

    Yeah right

    Surely the glut CCTV cameras on public transport is enough to identify the troublesome individuals.

    Sounds like more it's enforcing remotely readable ID cards and tarring all kids with the antisocial brush.

    I suppose some of it MIGHT be handy to know if a kid ever went anywhere near the school especially if the chip was implanted in the child (in some cases with the aid of 1/4 Oz of lead @ 2000 fps)

    What happens if the child doesn't have a card if it is faulty will he/she be refused entry to the bus.

    Will ASBOs be handed out of the kids don't carry the cards ?

  13. Ian Michael Gumby

    You guys are soo far behind the times...

    Heck, we're talking about 'chipping' our kids. That's right, putting a little RFID tag just beneath the skin above the solar plexus.

    We're not doing GPS yet because we haven't figured out how to power the thing without having to worry about the potential side effects down the road. (Here in the states we have more lawyers than we know what to do with. After all, you can't offshore a lawyer... yet... ;-)

    Besides we have 20+ years experience chipping our pets so we know its safe.

  14. Francis Fish

    What happens if I refuse to allow my child to be monitored like this

    Will they get thrown off the bus?

    Also, my son gets bullied because of his hair colour and won't *go* on the bus any more. Rubbish.

    (hating red headed people is nothing more than English anti-celtic racism - think about it and put those jerky knees away)

  15. Anonymous Coward

    it's really not necessary

    In our school district if the kids misbehave, they get banned from the bus for some period of time and mummy or daddy has to drive the little chav to school and pick them up every day (or be up on charges their sprog are skipping school). After a while of that parental units make sure the little chav(ttes) behave or get their ears boxed good.

    Oh, yer abusin' the poor little thing! Here, mate; let me show you my clue bat.

  16. David Neil
    Thumb Down

    Hair colour

    Sorry Fancis, but even up here in Scotland those who are cursed with fanta pants have the p!sh ripped, it's not English, anti-celtic anythig, it's kids picking on the odd oneout.

    Nice fishing attempt tho

  17. Pete

    @Ian Michael Gumby

    So you can't offshore lawyers yet? Au contraire.

  18. Pheet


    I'm sure kids won't steal or copy other people's cards, get their freiends to swipe their card when then want to skive, etc etc (I know I would've). Again, trying to use technology to solve a social problem.

    It'd probably be cheaper (and not involve some database that's bound to be compromised in someway - Daily Heil "Peadoes gain access to school bus database - think of the children!") to employ a conductor/supervisor on the school bus. With this scheme, if the kids are being unruly on the bus, the driver can't do anything about at the time, only report it afterwards.

  19. Sillyfellow
    Thumb Down


    this could be ok if it was not mandatory. this way the parents and children can discuss and decide for themselves if this is a good thing for them or not.

    many will not want yet more constant surveillance, which only spreads distrust and anxiety.

    just because the subjects of said surveillance are minors does not mean this will be accepted, nor does it mean that the children will get used to this monitoring. nobody ever gets used to being constantly monitored.

  20. Ian Michael Gumby


    If you read the article, Sasha aka 'Ali G' had one US attorney and then his offshore help. Note that in order to practice law in a state, you have to pass the bar of said state. This is why you can't really offshore lawyers. Of course if you think things are bad in the US, try getting a contract written in India. ;-)

    With respect to chipping the kids, while said in jest, think about what would happen if you had contactless readers all over the place....

    I can see it now. foil lined clothing. As a new wave in fashion... ;-)


  21. James O'Brien
    Thumb Up

    @And what fun for an S&M paedophile.

    OMG thats too funny the image I had come to mind of that one happening...

    Now back to day dreaming at the job seeing as im bored today

  22. Kevin Farquharson
    Thumb Up

    Proportionate use of technology!

    I have been following the STAR system from Geptec for some months and believe a system like this can make school bus transport safer, more attractive to use and more efficient. I am sure we all want to see more children taking the bus to school (or train, bike or foot) rather than lots of individual car journeys. More effective planning, management and tracking of services will encourage more children & parents to use the service. If there is an issue with bullying in Wales, then that as a local priority which needs to be addressed and this technology can help.

    This is an innovative solution which is easy to deploy and can help reduce congestion, save fuel use and save time. I wish the trial well and hope they start to realise the other benefits for the community.

    For other technology in this sector - go to


    PS the system can display a photo of the kid to the driver when they present their card, so swapping cards is not so easy. It can also be their school card, but that's another debate!

  23. Chris Parsons Bronze badge

    That should sort it, then

    "If youngsters go on a bus and vandalise it or bully someone then a message using the system will end up back with the school within 12 hours and that will be followed up by a call to the parents."

    The parents are the problem in the first place, so I can't see them adding much to this process.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    The only people using this term these days are London based journos who never get beyond the Watford gap. If you want to get up to date, can I suggest you use byt or byti( pronounced but/butty ) which is widely used up here.


    Failure of Parenting in Denbighshire.

    So the parents and teachers of Denbighshire want to fit their children with (the moral and technical equivalent of) compulsory ankle tags, because they can't be bothered to teach their own children self discipline/self confidence/self respect.

    This is appalling, truly appalling.

    We ankle tag convicted criminals, paedos, and child abusers - as a penalty.

    Not innocent children.

    To quote Peter Daniels of Denbighshire Council "I have to say that in North-East Wales we don’t really see trouble and misbehaviour".

    So start trusting your children, and stop treating them as suspects and criminals.

  26. Jeremy Wickins Silver badge

    Must repond to two commenters ...

    ... First, Kevin Farquharson. It is difficult to tell if there is irony there, but just in case there isn't, I have to tell you that, if this was introduced anywhere I had kids, there would be one more car journey!* Under no circumstances would any child of mine be subjected to this.

    Second, Francis Fish - if I remember correctly, redheads are (partial) evidence of Norse, not Celtic, ancestry.

    * Unless, of course, the school decided to use electronic tracking too, in which case home-schooling would become the default ...

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