CCTV cameras to monitor work of some school teachers

March 6, 2009
CCTV and audio earpieces being rolled out ostensibly to analyze teaching practices

THE use of CCTV cameras to monitor teachers at work in classrooms has been criticised by union leaders.

Four schools in Salford, Greater Manchester, have installed the cameras in training classrooms.

Teachers also wear earpieces so they can get feedback from observers while they work.

The cameras are used at three council-run schools, Harrop Fold, Albion High School and St George's Roman Catholic High as well as the Oasis Academy.

Dr Mary Bousted, head of the ATL teaching union, said she had "major reservations" about the technology.

She said: "It would be hard to see how teachers or support staff will behave naturally if they are being monitored. They are likely to be quite nervous if they feel they are being watched on camera.

"It does seem a bit Big Brother-ish."

Chris Keates, of the NASUWT union, said the use of CCTV had no "educational benefits".

She said: "More and more schools are wasting thousands of pounds of taxpayers money on CCTV cameras which all available evidence shows are not the most effective method of maintaining school security, neither are they an appropriate way of monitoring classroom practise."

Councillor John Warmisham, Salford City Council's lead member for children's services, said it works with its schools "to provide support where it's needed to ensure that education in Salford is at the highest level it can be".

He said: "However, if a school and its governing body feel that new techniques will enhance children's education and improve teaching standards the decision to bring in facilities like this is made by the individual school."

A survey carried out in June last year found almost a quarter of teachers are worried about "hidden" surveillance cameras in their schools.