Union attacks Big Brother CCTV plan for exams

PLANS to use CCTV to spy on students sitting exams have been branded as Orwellian.

The Examination Officers’ Association is planning to test the move in a small number of exam halls to stamp out cheating.

Chief executive Andrew Harland said devices like pens fitted with voice recorders were making invigilators’ jobs harder. He also believes it would protect members against unfound complaints of harassment.

However, Eileen Orriss, Association of Teachers and Lecturers Oldham branch secretary, likened the proposals to Big Brother.

The branch is concerned about the cost and the right to privacy in the workplace, and she added: “My personal feeling is it is the thin edge of the wedge. The ATL has already stated that we don’t want CCTV in classrooms.”

Graeme Hollinshead, head teacher at Grange School, Oldham, said schools employing outside staff, who don’t know the pupils, as invigilators may want to use CCTV.

This is not the case at Grange which has no interest in the move.

Oldham Sixth Form College also has no plans to spy on its 2,200 students during exams and vice-principal Mick Walsh said: “The use of CCTV is simply not an issue for us.

“All of our invigilators are chosen for their integrity and honesty and receive thorough training for the role. We’ve never received any complaints or had any issues raised about their conduct during exams, and we don’t envisage that would change.”

And John Ramsden, public relations manager for Huddersfield University, said that has been no calls to introduce the move in its exam halls, including at its University Centre Oldham campus.

“We would wait and see the outcome of the trial and then decide if it was appropriate. It might be that universities take it in board all told or it is left to individual universities to decide,” he said.