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Bradford schools filming children in toilets with CCTV
More than 200 schools, including four in Bradford, are using CCTV cameras in toilets or changing rooms, figures showed today.
A total of 825 cameras were located in the toilets or changing rooms of 207 schools across England, Scotland and Wales, figures provided by more than 2,000 schools showed.
Councillor Ralph Berry , Bradford Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “I would be surprised if schools spent that amount of money on CCTV without a good cause. Usually cameras are to prevent damage or inappropriate behaviour such as smoking.
“It would be a decision that would be down to the governing body but the governors would have to be accountable to parents, they would have to have been informed. Each school would be able to make its own decision on whether to have cameras or not but they would have to justify it.”
He said five Bradford schools was “not that many” on a list of 207 across the country.
Ian Morrel, the new head teacher at Titus Salt School in Baildon , said there were cameras in the toilets but only in communal areas near the sinks.
He said: “Most definitely yes we do have cameras. Not in the changing rooms but in the areas near the sinks, certainly not pointing towards the cubicles.
“All our stakeholders were consulted as part of the new school build process – that includes parents, students and staff – and there are clear notices up indicating where these cameras are. It comes under the umbrella of safeguarding, and safeguarding our students is of paramount importance to us.”
The information, which was revealed by a Freedom of Information request by Big Brother Watch, also showed almost one in ten of the schools which use CCTV said cameras were positioned in their toilets or changing rooms, while 54 have more than one camera for every 15 students.
Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “This research raises serious questions about the privacy of school children 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.”