Teachers defend use of school toilet cameras

Tony Nicholson from Hodgson

Tony Nicholson from Hodgson

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HEADTEACHERS today defended the use of CCTV cameras in school toilets.

A report has revealed the use of more than 800 cameras in schools nationwide, including in Fylde coast high schools.

Simon Brennand from Montgomery

Simon Brennand from Montgomery

But staff have said the cameras are vital to ensure the safety of children.

Montgomery High School in Bispham has 12 cameras situated in toilets, while Hodgson Academy in Poulton has four.

Simon Brennand, headteacher at Montgomery, said: “We have CCTV to support site security and safety of students.”

The high school has 54 cameras around the All Hallows Road site, including 12 situated at toilet entrances.

Mr Brennand assured the cameras are fixed only onto the doors of the toilets and directed at hand washing areas.

They do not, he said, capture images of the lavatories themselves.

There are a further 32 cameras monitoring school corridors, and 10 situated outside the school covering the grounds.

Hodgson Academy has said its cameras situated in toilets also only face wash basins.

Tony Nicholson, headteacher at the school on Moorland Road, said: “Cameras placed within our toilet facilities capture a single field of vision that encompasses the wash basins.

“They do not impinge on anybody’s privacy at any time.”

Both schools said the cameras are in place to protect children and deter “inappropriate behaviour”.

Neither school has cameras situated in changing rooms.

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch UK which released the report following a series of Freedom of Information requests, said: “The full extent of school surveillance is far higher than we had expected and will come as a shock to many parents.”

But Montgomery said it has never received complaints from parents or pupils about the cameras.

Mr Brennand said: “My belief is that parents do appreciate additional safety.”

And Hodgson said it has clear notices signifying CCTV is in operation both inside and outside school buildings.

Mr Nicholson added: “Access to our CCTV system is limited to authorised individuals only, following our CCTV policy which is drawn up in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act.”