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CCTV cameras installed in toilets at two schools
TWO schools in Worcestershire are among more than 200 in the country to have CCTV in their toilets and changing rooms, according to new figures.
The Chantry school in Martley, near Worcester, and Christopher Whitehead Language College in St John’s, Worcester have appeared on a list published by the Big Brother Watch campaign group.
The group says the Chantry has one camera in a toilet/ changing room, while Christopher Whitehead has three.
A Freedom of Information request by the campaign group found 207 schools out of a possible 2,107 had cameras fitted in toilets and changing rooms.
The Chantry’s new headteacher Andrew Dickenson, who has only been in his job for a week, said he was not aware of the exact location of the camera but CCTV was used for the benefit of everyone involved at the school.
“You do not want to put kids in a difficult position and you would be a very foolish school to upset people with CCTV,” he said.
“We are certainly not in the business of upsetting people and we’re trying to walk the line that many institutions do to protect their fabric and personnel.”
Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “This research raises serious questions about the privacy of schoolchildren across Britain, with some schools having one camera for every five pupils and hundreds of schools using cameras in toilets and changing rooms.
“The full extent of school surveillance is far higher than we had expected and will come as a shock to many parents.
“Schools need to come clean about why they are using these cameras and what is happening to the footage.
“Local authorities also need to be doing far more to reign in excessive surveillance in their areas and ensuring resources are not being diverted from more effective alternatives.”
A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council said it advised schools to follow Department for Education recommendations, which allows schools to use CCTV in the toilets and changing rooms.
However, the Data Protection Act does require CCTV use maintains privacy.
Overall, the group’s figures revealed schools in England, Scotland and Wales use 47,806 cameras, including 26,887 inside school buildings.