Schools defend use of CCTV in school toilets
HEAD teachers have defended the placing of CCTV cameras to monitor school toilets.
Four schools in the Bristol area – Patchway Community College, Ashton Park, John Cabot Academy in Kingswood and Wellsway in Keynsham – have appeared on a list of more than 200 in the country compiled by campaign group Big Brother Watch, following a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
But schools insisted that no cameras had been placed where pupils could be filmed using a toilet or getting changed. They insisted the devices improved pupil safety.
City council spokeswoman Julia Walton, speaking on behalf of Ashton Park, said the school had cameras covering the entrance to a communal wash area off a corridor, which recorded people going in and out but did not cover toilets themselves.
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David Carter, the executive principal of the Cabot Learning Federation, which runs John Cabot Academy, said the cameras at the school highlighted on the list only recorded the faces of children as they entered from a corridor. Toilet cubicles and wash basins were "absolutely private" and could not be seen on the cameras, he said.
"Parents and staff were shown designs and the student council were involved in the design, so if children had been concerned we would have known immediately," said Mr Carter.
Head teacher of Patchway Community College Jane Millicent said the school now only had two cameras in main thoroughfares and others had been "permanently disconnected some time ago".
Andrea Arlidge, head teacher at Wellsway School, said there were cameras outside toilets but none in changing rooms.
She said: "We have no cameras which invade personal privacy. The cameras are in the general toilet areas and they are used for safety."