Teachers concerned over CCTV in schools

A quarter of teachers are said to be worried about hidden surveillance cameras in their schools.

According to members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in a survey, cameras in the school environment are a worrying prospect and one teacher said the “regular use of cameras in class would be intimidating”.

One teacher from Northamptonshire said she objected to the “general monitoring of staff”. Other respondents said they would like the option of disabling the CCTV in places like the classroom. They said they would always feel they were “being watched and judged”.

Nearly all of the teachers said CCTV is used for monitoring security and vandalism around the school building. Just under half of teachers admitted the surveillance technology was also present within the school to monitor pupil behaviour. 53 per cent of teachers said the use of CCTV in schools made them feel safer.

In regards to the students, 50 per cent of teachers said they did not think it would make any difference to how they behaved in class.

“No one really knows enough about the use of CCTV in schools — it’s a very new issue,” said Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL. “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.”

Bousted added that they had set up a working group to look into the use of CCTV to produce guidelines and best practice for schools using the technology.