CCTV cameras installed in school toilets

Ten per cent of teachers have admitted to the presence of CCTV cameras in school toilets, according to a new report, with a quarter of teachers say they are worried about the presence of the cameras in their schools.

The report by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) found that 85 per cent of teachers acknowledged they had the cameras in their schools, with the majority used on grounds and entrances.

Asked by about safeguards against misuse of the cameras, Andy Peart, deputy head of the legal department of the ATL, said the overwhelming majority of cameras would be in the entrance to toilet area.

“The safeguards should be that schools make it clear – not just to staff but to pupils as well – why cameras are there and justify the reasons for it,” he continued.

“Staff aren’t really informed about what happens to the data afterwards or its purpose.”

Nearly all of the teachers involved in the survey said the CCTV footage was used for security purposes and to monitor anti-social behaviour such as vandalism.

However, over half said the cameras were also used to monitor students.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, commented: “No one really knows enough about the use of CCTV in schools – it’s a very new issue. We have set up a working group to look into the use of CCTV and produce ATL guidelines on best practice for schools and colleges throughout the UK.

“Certainly we would want staff to be involved in decisions about the use of CCTV in schools, and strict safeguards for its use. Although surveillance in schools can have some positive outcomes, such as discouraging vandalism and violence, we think there are some instances where it should be strictly controlled.”

Over 50 per cent of the teachers said the use of CCTV cameras could be positive but a number admitted concerns over how and when it was used.

A number of the respondents claimed they did not know their school’s official policy on CCTV usage and wished it could be turned off in areas such as the classroom.